It’s been three months since 16-year-old Margot Radegan survived the car wreck that killed her parents and two sisters.
John Sutton, an old law school friend of Margot’s father who owes him a debt of gratitude, offers to take her in and away from the group home where she’s been staying. When she catches a glimpse of Copeland Hall, the Suttons’ stately and enormous country home near Chicago, she’s in awe. However, John and Laura Sutton’s support hinges on being a companion to their 17-year-old daughter, Agatha, who has a mysterious illness that has robbed her of speech and rendered her barely responsive to her surroundings. There’s no cellphone signal or access to Wi-Fi, but Margot’s prospects are few, and eventually she develops a rapport with Laura and finds she enjoys helping with Agatha. There’s even a spark of romance with John and Laura’s 16-year-old son, Barrett. However, a series of strange events hint at a dark legacy lingering in the vast halls of Laura’s ancestral home, and the Suttons might not be quite what they seem. Margot’s narration feels intimate, especially when she reflects on her potent grief, and Agatha is never used as a prop: She and Margot develop a silent communication that transcends speech. The palpable and steadily building sense of dread throughout is enhanced by a whisper of the supernatural. All characters seem to be white.
A pitch-perfect contemporary gothic.(Suspense. 12-18)