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A young woman who sees ghosts leaves home only to lose herself to love.

Martha has agreed to attend college partly to relieve her mother of the burden of worrying about her, but she finds excitement in the independence as well. All too soon, however, she must deal with two unexpected visitors: the ghost of a young woman who has recently gone missing and her all-too-alive younger sister, Del. Del, the golden child, the unstable one, the one who had been institutionalized at 16 in response to her abuse of drugs, alcohol, and sex, presents a foil to Martha, who is still a virgin at 20. Still, it's Martha who is drawn almost immediately to William, a professor at the college and erstwhile lover of the ghost girl, Mary Rae. Martha finds power in the passion that flares between them, but she also becomes part of a strange social group composed of her landlord, a dying artist/professor, and a group of girls who grew up with Mary Rae and all may or may not have posed for William’s photographic study of women sleeping in the nude. During the parties they attend in the atmospheric Connecticut fall and winter, Martha must try to figure out why Del has come to join her as well as whether she can trust William. And in the background, there's always the ghost. Brown weaves a complex narrative with a lyrical thread of memories; Martha grew up near a camp of spiritualists, so the supernatural has always seemed part of her world. The mystery of a local boy found dead the summer that Martha was 15 is another undercurrent of Brown's (The Longings of Wayward Girls, 2013, etc.) arresting, unsettling, and beautiful tale.

Brown enchants and haunts by making the reader question every voice, every truth.

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-62779-705-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2016


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