Stephanie Colvin, widowed and pregnant, taken into the household of her husband's family in their Devonshire castle, is the sort of period heroine who shudders and blanches often. She especially shudders and blanches when informed that a Colvin family ancestor named Stephanie was burnt at the stake for witchcraft in the 16th century and (while on broil) leveled a curse which has adhered to 13 family generations! Among the inhabitants of the Colvin mâ€šnage: dear mother-in-law Dorothea, defender and placater of the spirit of Stephanie I; brother-in-law Adam, a handsome, arrogant ship-owner; Adam's beautiful, nasty wife, Georgina; vulgar Jessica (like Stephanie, widow of a sea captain); a nice younger brother; and weird waif Lucinda. Stephanie uncovers a voodoo doll in her bed and is pelted with rocks by an unseen hand, but she has her baby anyway--which leaves horrid Georgina, as Lady Dorothea puts it (in the one bright bit of dialogue) ""pipped at the post."" There's a murder, poisoned quaffs, a smart sea chase, and it all ends with Georgina and Jessica sunk and Stephanie and Adam ""shipmates forever on the sea of life."" Nothing much happens with that ancestral ghost, but otherwise--a pleasantly routine sea-and-castle gothic.