A doctoral student tries to confirm that Henry David Thoreau wasn't alone on Walden Pond while laboring under a family curse and hints of the supernatural.
To research her dissertation on Thoreau, Aine Cahill moves temporarily to a small cottage near Walden Pond. Aine has been researching Thoreau from a very personal angle. A diary kept by her aunt Bonnie reports that Bonnie loved and lived with Thoreau during his supposedly solitary time at Walden. If Aine can find proof of what her aunt’s diary says, she’ll not only be lauded as a scholar, but she’ll also be the most successful member of her family. Historically, the Cahills have been haunted by a curse put on Aine’s ancestors, and she appears to be the only person who’s escaped thus far. As Aine gets involved in her research at Walden, she becomes convinced that there’s much more to the original story than anyone ever conceived. She even suspects there could be a supernatural presence that has insights into Thoreau’s life as well as her own. With the support of local ranger Joe Sinclair, Aine plunges deeper into Thoreau’s world, tying it to tragedies past and present, though the outcome is murkier than she expects.
Chesterton—a pen name of the well-known Carolyn Haines—deftly blends the supernatural and the historical, but she offers little resolution to an intriguing conceit.