A woman inherits a fortune but gets more than she bargained for in this debut fantasy novel.
Margaret Rose Ashland is shocked to hear that her beloved Aunt Lillian is dead. But she’s even more stunned to realize she’s been left the bulk of the woman’s fortune—as well as her ancient manor, Blue Haven. Unfortunately, Maggie’s not on good terms with most members of her family, and she quickly realizes they aren’t going to let go of their stake in the inheritance without a fight. What’s more, the house itself doesn’t seem quite normal. Cars in the garage run by themselves, and strange apparitions and Lillian glide into Maggie’s dreams (“I was dreaming of things and situations from the past. The dreams started after Lillian was gone. She was not just trying to teach me about herself. She was trying to teach me about Blue Haven as well”). Maggie soon learns that the house is a magnet for supernatural activity, and that money and the manor aren’t the only things her aunt bequeathed her. This is an engaging story, with some imaginative worldbuilding and a strong narrative voice. Still, it would have more fully captivated its intended audience if the tale’s paranormal aspects had shown up sooner. As it is, for the first 50 pages or so of this long volume, Barbezat seems to be crafting a simple family drama, which may put off some readers looking for ghosts and vampires. But a bigger problem is the stilted dialogue, which often includes lines like “I think we were just privileged to witness an extremely potent display of power and majesty” spoken during otherwise intense action scenes. But that probably won’t deter die-hard fans of the genre.
An inventive and atmospheric paranormal tale that lacks convincing dialogue.