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Book Reviews

TITLE: Coriander
Author: Sara Banks


'This is a name that has surpassed the fragile threads of time, a name that has inspired artists of all types.

'But what of the woman behind the name? Who is this mysterious woman whose face is as vague as the morning dew lost to the warmth?

'Elise. She is what every woman strives to be and what every man desires. She is the maiden, the mother, and the crone.

Elise, the ultimate fairy tale and tragedy. And this is her story...'

So begins "Coriander"--with a timeless mystery and a funeral. In her first novel, Sara Banks explores the elusive and mysterious Elise, whose name pops up throughout history. Beethoven wrote "Fur Elise" for her, and that is only one of many musical pieces written for or about her. There have been numerous poems and even a few novels also written over the centuries with Elise in mind. Is it possible that they were all written for the same woman?

In "Coriander," Carmilla Jones, a publisher of an offbeat occult magazine, discovers something decidedly 'odd' about a beautiful club singer and begins to investigate this person named Elise. Carmilla soon finds herself involved in a bizarre story of witchcraft and possible immortality, working with strange figures who inhabit a dark underworld most people know nothing about--and Elise is right in the middle of it.

Ms. Banks uses her love and knowledge of music, especially the Violin, to great advantage in this story. I found "Coriander" to be a bit of a surprise, in that while I was expecting a somewhat typical story of the 'undead,' I found myself wanting to know more about Elise and what it was about her that kept her as elusive and mysterious as she seemed to be. This is not your typical story of the undead walking the darkened streets--Elise is something much more and anything but 'typical.' She is not sought after for what she has become, but for what she is and for how her passion tends to make others seek out their own desires.

I found myself surprisingly involved with this book and while the story's ending almost disappointed me, all was saved on the last page.

'The legend of Elise lives on.'

A Trade Paperback copy of Sara Banks short novel, "Coriander" may be purchased at

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