THE BRIDES OF ABERDAR by Christianna Brand

THE BRIDES OF ABERDAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A chilly brace of real ghosts--darkly beautiful Leonora, fixed at an ectoplasmic apex of hate and revenge, and brother Richard, who died for love--prowl the interior of the Victorian manor house Aberdar, waiting to pounce on the latest victims of a curse dating back to the days of Good Queen Bess. Pity, then, the young occupants of Aberdar: twin girls Lyneth and Christine, who can see the ghosts all too clearly. Their father, the widower Squire, does make an attempt to save his daughters from the house-bound ghosts--by moving. But his door meaningfully slams him senseless. And then, as the Squire wanes from mysterious causes, there's the arrival of a plain, rather sweet, scarred-faced governess, Alys ""Tetty"" Tetterman. The girls love Tetty; Tetty loves the strange family hanger-on ""Hil,"" who's mysteriously close to the Squire, and loves the twins, but is oddly afraid of Tetty. So, when the lovestruck Tetty learns that Hil has married the cook, she accepts the dying Squire's proposal of marriage. (A mistake, Tetty!) As lady of the house, Tetty will undergo a sea change: ""there were icy hands, always to drag her own warm heart down into cold depths of the malignity of that old anathema."" Then, years later, when the doomed girls are in love with the same man, and spiteful Terry, ghost-directed, makes a deadly choice, ""the ghosts move in."" Lyneth, who now spends days and nights chatting with Leonora and Richard, is headed in the direction of all ""sad, mad brides of Aberdar."" But the specters are finally vanquished--at the price of a dreadful sacrifice. Plenty of spooky stuff with lively victims and rather elegant shades: icy entertainment from veteran Brand, in an atmospheric period setting.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's