Michael Phillip Cash
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (09/16)
In “The History Major” by Michael Phillip Cash, college student Amanda wakes up one morning, after a night of heavy partying; realizing things seem strangely different from yesterday. She barely recalls the night before, she just knows that she said things she shouldn’t have said to her boyfriend, and they broke up. Feeling totally off kilter, she finds herself in a history class that she was sure she never signed up for, with a teacher that looks like remarkably like Aristotle. Not a fan of history, Amanda is very upset at being in this class. When a friendly stranger named Nick seems to take her under his wing, she feels better, but she still wants to be back in what she knows to be her reality, so that she can mend things with her boyfriend.
When three heavenly beings, Archangel Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret visit Amanda, she realizes that things aren’t going to go back to normal. As the history lesson continues, Amanda finds herself thrown back into other lives, reliving moments that they experienced. This includes seeing things through the eyes of Joan of Arc and Lucrezia Borgia. Amanda doesn’t understand what they have to do with her and she is incredibly upset when these events trigger memories of abuse that she suffered at the hands of her stepbrother and the traumatic aftermath that followed when she finally reported him.
Slowly, Amanda begins to realize that reliving history can help heal her past. As she starts to understand the lessons set in place for her, she sees that healing from the trauma can help her move forward. She now has some decisions to make.
“The History Major: A Novella” by Michael Phillip Cash tells a unique tale. The author does a great job of taking us inside the mind of the troubled protagonist. Readers clearly see everything through Amanda’s eyes and are as confused as she is before she finally starts figuring things out. I would classify this book as a psychological horror because it utilizes elements of psychological suspense and fantastical horror. It is really a perfect blend of two genres. Fans of both will enjoy reading this novella and find themselves wishing it was a full-length novel!