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A soup to nuts Gothic long enough to last through the vernal equinox. From the beginning, rum emanations undermine the apparently serene marriage of Celia Marsden, American wife of Sir Richard on their ancient Sussex estate. Celia, in the midst of a weekend house party and Tudor ruins, hears disembodied voices speaking in accents wild, feels an unexplained terror and, suddenly suffocating, winds up in a hospital near death. And Sir Richard, cold and hostile, approaches near-madness. A visiting Indian, Dr. Akananda, attuned to verities beyond the veil, soon realizes that this Celia has been slipping in and out of the life of poor Celia de Bohun, who in the reigns of Edward IV, Mary and Elizabeth, progressively succumbed to a doomed passion for the upright Brother Stephen. The monk, after breaking his vows, impregnated Celia who was walled up alive by a demented and evil woman. Brother Stephen hanged himself. Dr. Akananda, to free his 20th century victims from possession by other lives, relives the Tudor tragedy as Dr. Julian, rescues Celia and Richard/Stephan while offering metaphysical speculations which you needn't worry about. The bulk of the tale takes place in a goodwife bustling past -- for certain ladies, a surely popular expansive indulgence.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1972
ISBN: 1556525761
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin