The fourth entry in this pure-gothic series continues to hit all the clichés of the genre as hard as possible.
The Sisters of the Mystic Way, Helen, Evie and Sarah, along with their ghostly cohort, Agnes, still practice their supernatural skills at the Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, located, of course, on the English moors. This book focuses on the perpetually depressed Helen as she agonizes her way through her diary. The abusive, evil Dr. Franzen, who has taken over Wyldcliffe as headmaster, taught Helen to hate herself in the orphanage he ran. After 200 pages of Helen’s self-loathing, readers may agree with her assessment. Meanwhile, because you can’t keep an evil priestess down, the girls continue to battle their longtime foe, Helen’s mother, Celia Hartle, thought vanquished in the previous book. This does appear to be the final showdown with Celia, but, alas, the story still leaves one villain undefeated. As usual, the eye-rolling dialogue and writing remain all melodrama all the time. Clearly, Shields chooses to write this genre to the hilt. She has her fan base and gives them what they want, all the way, at a dime-store romance level.
For fans only. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)