Captivity is actually two stories intertwined that took place mostly in upstate New York in the early to mid 19th century. The first is about the real life Fox Sisters. They were a family of women who were mediums who claimed that they could communicate with the deceased. They had many followers but were also constantly questioned by people who wanted to discredit them. They were put though numerous tests which included improper poking and prodding of the women by men. The Fox Sisters inadvertently gave birth to the Spiritualist Movement.
The second part of the story is about the fictional reclusive Clara Gill. She long ago suffered the loss of her secret lover William. The scandalous affair came out and Clara never fully recovered. Her mother had died in childbirth and she lived with her father all of her life, until his death. She never married.
Maggie Fox is invited in by Clara's father to work. She served Clara tea in her room, which she rarely left. Slowly Clara started to respond to Maggie and they became friends, even though Clara didn't believe in the Spiritual Movement. Because of their friendship, Clara starts coming out of her room and eventually starts going out into the community again.
There are many layers to this story and they are slowly peeled away, layer by layer until the very end. Deborah Noyes shows both sides of the historical Spiritualist Movement/ debate of the time, while crafting interesting characters and plots. At times I found the story dragged and in fact, I had trouble getting through the first 100 pages and almost gave up. However, I was rewarded greatly with my perseverance and I discovered a gem.
If you're looking for a fast paced story with a neat and tidy, all questions answered ending, this is not a good book for you. However, if you are a patient reader you will be greatly rewarded with a thought provoking and insightful story.