What’s it all about?:
Sarah McAdams needs a fresh start. So she’s come home to the shores of Oregon’s wild
Columbia river, to renovate the old Victorian mansion where she grew up. Her daughters, Jade and Gracie, aren’t impressed by the rundown property, and as soon as they pull up the isolated drive, Sarah too is beset by uneasy memories – of her cold, distant mother, of the half-sister who vanished without a trace, and of a long-ago night when Sarah was found outside, feverish and delirious.
Ever since the original mistress of the house plunged to her death almost a century ago, there have been rumours that the place is haunted. As a girl, Sarah sensed a presence there, and soon Gracie claims to see a lady in white running up the stairs. Still, Sarah has little time to dwell on ghost stories, between overseeing construction and dealing with the return of a man from her past.
But there’s a new, more urgent menace in the small town. One by one, teenage girls are disappearing and her rebellious daughters are prime targets. Frantic for her daughters’ safety, Sarah feels her veneer cracking and the house’s walls closing in on her again.
Somewhere deep in her memory is the key to a very real and terrifying danger. And as the secrets of her past begin to unravel, the dream Sarah expected to find in her hometown quickly turns into every mother’s worst nightmare.
What did I think?:
Before this novel, I was not familiar with any of Lisa Jackson’s previous work but when I was offered the chance to read, review and be part of a blog tour by the publishers Mulholland Books, on the strength of the synopsis I jumped at the chance. In my late adolescence I devoured books like these, the entire crime/thriller genre actually formed part of my staple “book” diet and I read little else before I expanded my horizons slightly. The book starts with a bang, introducing some of the previous inhabitants of a Victorian mansion known by the locals as Blue Peacock Manor. Our narrator for the time being is Angelique who is being chased through the house by a crazed man with an axe, while she desperately tries to find a way to keep her children safe who are present in the house at this time and hiding. It is certainly one of the creepiest prologues to a novel I have ever read and I gleefully anticipated the ride the author was about to take me on.
Fast forward several hundred years into the present time and we meet our main character Sarah McAdams who is returning to her childhood home (the previously mentioned Blue Peacock Manor) to try and escape a difficult situation she found herself in with her boss Ethan, to give her daughters Jade and Gracie a new start and to lay rest a couple of ghosts of her own. Unfortunately, the house does not bring back happy memories for Sarah and she is aware that something terrible had happened to her as a child there, although her mind seems to have blocked the event out. Now her youngest daughter Gracie is seeing the spirit of a woman, presumed to be her ancestor whose untimely death at the hands of a psychopathic murderer is still shrouded in mystery of what exactly happened on that fateful night. Despite her mother’s reluctance, Gracie is determined to solve the puzzle of Angelique’s death as she believes that this will allow her spirit to move on.
As if this wasn’t enough for Sarah to deal with, teenage girls in the town are disappearing without a trace and Sarah is terrified for both of her children but especially for her teenager Jade who is finding it difficult to fit in at her new school and bitterly resents her mother for putting them through this upheaval. There is definitely a lot going on in this novel with a number of different strands that come together almost seamlessly in a dramatic finale. I’m also glad that I didn’t figure out who the perp was (although I thought I did!) and I love the excitement of being proved wrong in these cases. Sarah was incredibly likeable as a character but more memorable for me were the characters of sweet and strong Gracie, your stereotypical sulky teenager Jade and, probably my favourite – Rosario who was fiesty and independent. This novel has something for everyone in my opinion, a slice of the paranormal mixed with some good old fashioned dark family secrets and criminals I was just itching to analyse. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good white-knuckle thriller and I’m eager to discover some more of Lisa Jackson’s work.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
More about the author….
LISA JACKSON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than seventy-five novels, including Ready to Die, Afraid to Die, You Don’t Want to Know, Running Scared, Without Mercy, Malice and Shiver. She has over twenty million copies of her books in print in nineteen languages. She lives with her family and a rambunctious pug in the Pacific Northwest. Readers can visit her website at http://www.lisajackson.com, become her friend on Facebook, and check out her blog at http://lisajacksonauthor.blogspot.com.
For publicity enquiries and interview requests please contact Rebecca Mundy on 020 7873 6179 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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