An author who brought strong characterizations and evocative settings to two earlier novels (Summer Endings, 1991; A Circle Unbroken, 1988) proves a skillful plotter as well--in this blend of a poignant modern love story with a ghost's tragic history. When Molly's double cousin Caleb joins her family at their Maine summer house, she hasn't seen him in nine years--since they were eight and twelve. Meanwhile, Molly's parents have divorced, Caleb's dad has committed suicide, and Caleb has returned from Vietnam with a Purple Heart and a burden of guilt. The two are drawn together when both see the evanescent form of a young girl: Evaline, whose diary they find in an old cabin. A mill girl in Lowell 150 years ago, Evaline mysteriously ended her long life as a pariah. Meanwhile, Molly's empathy and support when Caleb is haunted by nightmares lead to a physical attraction that he realizes they, as near-siblings, must resist. The pain of parting is only slightly eased by hopes for the future (Caleb is a singer on the verge of recognition; Molly's an artist) and the chance their friendship will survive--as well as by putting ghosts (Evaline's and their own) to rest. Illumined by the metaphor of Molly's favorite technique--chiaroscuro--these likable characters learn to live with their darker memories and, courageously, to face the future alone. Yearningly sweet but ultimately sensible: an appealing, subtly wrought romance deepened by its links to an intriguing historical mystery.