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Aug. 1, 2012 - PRLog -- Award-winning author Nancy Rubin Stuart’s The Reluctant Spiritualist is the first authoritative biography of Maggie Fox, the celebrity medium who co-founded the Spiritualist movement that swept America and Europe in the mid-19th century. After a passionate romance and secret marriage to the dashing Arctic explorer, Elisha Kent Kane, Maggie’s life took a surprising series of twists and turns, culminating in her startling 1888 confession before 3,000 people at the New York Academy of Music.

Visit to download The Reluctant Spiritualist: The Life of Maggie Fox by Nancy Rubin Stuart for Kindle.

Do you believe in life after death?  The power of telepathetic communication?  Channeling?  The links between psychology and early spiritualism?  

“Stuart has created a richly sympathetic portrait of a fascinating and tragic women, trapped by her family, her times, and her own aching heart, a woman who…didn’t have the mettle or the means to make her own way but was swept along in the era’s spiritualism fever.” – Boston Globe

“Stuart gives us the first modern biography of Maggie Fox, co founder of spiritualism…fast paced…highly readable and entertaining.” – Publishers Weekly

“Fascinating biography…The great strength of Stuart’s book is that she provides the necessary historical context…convincingly places the Fox sisters at a nexus of social and political change, most notably the suffrage and abolitionist movements…offers a great deal of fresh insight into the bored young girl with the toes heard round the world.”
– Washington Post

“In this painstakingly researched biography, Stuart seeks to retrace the rise and fall of this legendary medium. This life story opens an illuminating window on an era and a movement.” – Booklist, American Library Association * Starred Review)

“Diligently researched biography of the young woman responsible in the mid-1800s for the growth of spiritualism, sympathetically addressing her ambivalence about the practice and her legacy. Stuart …capably chronicles this period of religious ferment… vividly details the course of (Maggie’s) ill-starred romance…A persuasive study of an unusual life.” – Kirkus Reviews

Credited with cofounding the Spiritualist movement in mid-nineteenth-century America, Maggie Fox has remained an enduring mystery. In this well-researched biography, Stuart retraces the rise and fall of this legendary medium.

Did Maggie and her sister, Katy,  truly possess the ability to conjure up spirits, or was their convincing routine of raps and knocks merely a well-rehearsed scam which their greedy family exploited for their own profit?  

Seeking to uncover the truth, the author tracks Maggie's evolution from her origins as an upstate New York farm girl to an internationally renowned symbol of a quasi-religious movement which drew millions of believers. Along the way, Maggie fell in love with Arctic explorer Elisha Kent Kane, who, embarrassed by her sketchy vocation, urged her to "quit this life of dreary sameness and suspected deceit."

In 1888, when a world-weary Maggie renounced Spiritualism as a fraud and a year later recanted her startling declaration , the faith suffered a blow from which it never recovered. This life story opens an illuminating window on an era and a controversial American movement.  

About the Author

As a nine-year old growing up in suburban Boston, Nancy wrote her first "book" about her mischievous dog and friends. "Being a red-head meant I was teased a lot," Nancy recalls. "I still wonder if that sense of being different impelled me to become a writer because I felt myself an outsider, an observer of others."

Two decades later while raising her own children, Nancy served as a stringer, or regular contributor, to the New York Times winning a scholarship to the Breadloaf Writers Conference and a fellowship to the McDowell Colony. Those experiences sparked her first nonfiction books, THE NEW SUBURBAN WOMAN, followed by THE MOTHER MIRROR, ISABELLA OF CASTILE (a Book-of-the Month Featured Dividend) and the best-selling biography of Majorie Merriweather Post, AMERICAN EMPRESS.

Subsequent to writing several award-wining series for television, Nancy published the THE RELUCTANT SPIRITUALIST in 2005, a dramatic story about the origins of American spiritualism.

Her fascination with history led to research about Mercy Otis Warren, America's first female playwright and historian, for which Nancy won a fellowship to the American Antiquarian Society. In 2008 Beacon Press published that work, the award-winning THE MUSE OF THE REVOLUTION now available as an ebook as well as in paperback.

A seasoned speaker who appeared on C-Span's BookTV in 2008 and 2009, Nancy’s latest book, DEFIANT BRIDES, will be published in April 2013.  She currently serves as the director of the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference and is a board member of the Women Writing Women’s Lives Seminar of the City University of New York Graduate Center. To learn more about Nancy, visit her website at:
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