The tale of a mysterious, fateful summer in Newport, R.I. that blends historical fact and supernatural phenomena.
Eddie Sutton, now in middle age, has a thrilling story to tell. In 1964, when he was 14, his father; his beautiful and wannabe-aristocratic stepmother, Elly; and his younger sister, Franny, moved in to the grand estate of Annandale Farm in Newport. The imposing house and lush grounds, not to mention the estate’s connection with the Kennedy family, should have commanded a steep price, yet Eddie’s father, under pressure from his eccentric twin sister, Julia, purchased it for a song. As young Eddie and Livingston, the family’s caretaker, begin to explore their new home and its history, it becomes apparent that there’s more to Annandale Farm than meets the eye. Rumors of hidden gold, hauntings and decades-old family rivalries begin to solidify into fact, as Eddie and some newfound friends dig deeper—figuratively and literally. Franny, who has Down syndrome, is especially sensitive to the house’s strange happenings, and she becomes a conduit for spirits both benevolent and menacing. With the carefully researched history of Newport architecture and society, Markwith has crafted a compelling mystery that evokes the political and social drama of 1960s New England. He also effectively captures the feeling of being a teenager caught with one foot in childhood and the other in adulthood. Though at times unnecessarily complex and jarringly anachronistic, the novel engagingly presents plenty of twists, genuine surprises and authentic descriptions of a past era in the American haute monde.
A quick pace and likable protagonists make this paranormal treasure hunt a delightful summer escape.