Madame Zee

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HarperCollins Canada, Jul 19, 2011 - Fiction - 400 pages
5 Reviews

From early childhood, Mabel Rowbotham knows that she is different. She is struck by visions and premonitions that disturb her dreams, haunt her waking hours and stay with her long after she emigrates from England to Canada. Although desperate to understand these powerful episodes, Mabel hides her gift behind a facade of normalcy.

But Mabel is not destined to be normal. Her quest for understanding leads her to the Brother, XII—founder of one of Canada’s most infamous Utopian colonies. Here, Mabel fully transforms into the complicated and enigmatic figure of Madame Zee and ultimately finds an explanation for the mysterious knowledge that has shaped her life.

A popular reading group choice, Pearl Luke’s acclaimed and sensitive re-imagining of this enigmatic figure was a Flare and Chatelaine book-club pick. It includes a fascinating P.S. section with information about the real Madame Zee.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gypsysmom - LibraryThing

Madame Zee was a real person but not much is known about her so Pearl Luke has invented a history for her. Madame Zee was born Mabel Edith Rowbotham in England and immigrated to Canada where she ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

Based on real people, this is a novel about Madame Zee, mistress and lieutenant to Canada's cult leader, the Brother, XII. The author became intrigued by Madame Zee after seeing a documentary of the ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

PEARL LUKE has an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Calgary. Burning Ground, her first novel, won the 2001 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Caribbean and Canada Region) and was a finalist for the Georges Bugnet Award, the Chapters/Robertson Davies First Novel Award and the Libris Award. She became interested in Brother XII and his mistress, Mabel Rowbotham (Madame Zee), after watching a documentary about their extraordinary lives. Pearl Luke lives on Saltspring Island, BC. Visit her online at

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