"a truly Gothic mystery"
Cragmoor held a fascination for anyone who saw it. From
the Chapins in 1863 to Jean Moorland in the 1990s. It was
not livable, had horrid plumbing, no electricity and on top
of that might just be cursed. Four generations of Marshalls
had owned it and the current Vicar Marshall did not intend
on giving it up. Jean was related on the paternal side to
one of the Marshalls - another Jean - whose name was
forbidden to be mentioned among the family. She must know
The property contained a faerie ring and the children of
Sir John Chapin: Mary, the bedeviled daughter and Colin,
the rake of a son. Scarily enough, Colin was the more
normal of the two. When a young vicar comes to take over
responsibility for them, things go from bad to worse.
Elliott is in love with Mary and tries to take the place of
Colin's father as well. Mary hates him as she believes she
is a witch and Elliott goes out of his way to stop her.
On the night of Colin's 16th birthday, Mary disappears and
is found lying in the faerie ring, the object of a horrid
assault. Following, her father is summoned only to
collapse at the house from a stroke after seeing her. This
leaves Colin and Elliott in charge.
Then comes worse news: Mary, somehow, is pregnant. Three
months gone. From there the novel takes flight among
spirits, demons, children in need of a father, a father in
need of redemption and, trying to balance it all - the
vicar who loves the daughter, hates the father and tries to
befriend the son.
While this started off somewhat rockily, it quickly
redeemed itself into a book of history, love, and hate, and
became a truly Gothic mystery. If you like this genre you
certainly will enjoy this book. It's a shame the author has
passed, I would have liked to interview her.....
Reviewed by Nancy Eriksen
Posted December 29, 2008
The house seemed to beckon her. Welcome her. As if it knew her. The light had faded, and dark, bilious clouds had taken its place. In the three short weeks I'd spent in Cornwall, I'd learned two things: that the weather was not to be trusted, and that the wind never ceased to blow. Fair weather or foul, it whistled and murmured and moaned, like a living, breathing, tortured being. It had risen since it played innocently among the foxglove blooms earlier stirring the mists along the graveyard gate. Now it was angry, driving the black clouds inland from the sea. Waterfowl raced before it dotting the sky like a blizzard over the mighty house, and I'd scarcely pulled the car to a stop when the rain came. It was just as I remembered it from my drive-by earlier, like a creature of myth silhouetted against the storm-a huge, rambling, turreted structure of stone and timbers defying its existence in such a setting. Yet, aside from a wounded turret, a few missing boards, and a good deal of broken glass, Cragmoor approached the dawn of another century remarkably intact. I tried to imagine the house as it once must have been, ablaze with light and life, surrounded by manicured lawns and courtyards and lush, fragrant gardens. Now it rose from a tangled snarl of briar, thorn, and desolation. Row upon row of darkened windows, catching stray glints of the fading light, shuddered in the wind as the gale bore down upon it. The house was asleep, and I was about to wake it.