Just in time for Halloween...
A haunted house and a decades-old mystery.
Rainey and her 14-year-old daughter, Ariel, return to Old Gate, Virginia and the beautiful Bliss House that has been in the family for generations. A multilevel mansion that evokes a bygone era, it seems to welcome and comfort Rainey in the aftermath of a horrible accident that left her husband dead and Ariel disfigured. After months of renovations, Rainey and Ariel host an open house, but disaster strikes. When a local real estate agent is found dead the morning after the party, detectives search for motive and opportunity. Though foul play is suspected, Ariel fails to reveal that she had "seen" a woman plummet from the balustrade while hiding upstairs out of view during the party. She also neglects to mention that she sees the ghost of her dead father, experiences frigid air currents and feels tugging and pushing, especially in the ballroom. Hmmm, the house is haunted? But who are the ghosts and what do they want? Ariel seeks hidden rooms and secret passages, determined to find out what's going on as the house seems to exert an influence of its own.
There's a lot going on in this book both in present day voices and then in a story line involving a girl from long ago. I was really engaged and entertained in the first part of the book as the characters are introduced, but by the halfway point, I'd really lost empathy and much of my interest in the rising action and the predictable climax. The characters are very one-dimensional and familiar to any readers of this genre, and I must say that the only one I wanted to know more about was THE HOUSE. I'd solved the "mystery" very early on, and though that really doesn't bother me so much, I just felt that there were dangling ends and a very tacked on "epilogue" that tried to wrap it all up after a long drawn out ghost and human interaction scene or two. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves reading about old houses and spirits! And, a reminder that it's a shame you can't choose your relatives!
Anyway, I liked this well enough and I thank Pegasus Books and its marketing director for the e-book ARC to review.