Ghosts infest a Massachusetts village in this new romance from the author of Cameo Lake (2001) and other tales of heartbreak.
Raised on the road by her itinerant fortuneteller mother Ruby, Sabine Heartwood settled down two years ago in rural Moose River Junction, where everyone knows everyone. Now that one of the town’s favorite sons has returned for his grandmother Beatrice’s funeral, at least there’s something to talk about. Danforth Smith is an up-and-coming assistant film director in New York, romantically linked with a bitchy, beautiful, ambitious actress. Instantly attracted to him, shy Sabine knows she can’t compete. Handsome Dan would never want to give up his glamorous life to stay in Moose River Junction and care for his aging, mentally retarded uncle Nagy, per Beatrice’s wish. Sabine intuitively senses that Dan has a dark secret, but not its exact details. Dan, given to solitary brooding, reveals all to the reader in interior monologues: he holds himself responsible for the accidental fire that killed his feuding parents when he was only six. He and his uncle were playing with a lighter, and Beatrice always told Dan that the fire was his fault, not Nagy’s. Hmm . . . so that’s why Sabine seems to smell smoke in his presence. Gee, where does this strange knack for reading minds come from? The supposedly psychic young woman can’t figure it out, but mother Ruby is waiting in the wings with a grim secret of her own: Sabine is the child of an alcoholic gypsy, who raped Ruby when she was only 15. Hence the gift—or is it a curse?—of second sight. A wealthy local couple asks Sabine to divine the source of troublesome happenings at their renovated farmhouse. Could it be an unquiet ghost from three centuries ago? Indeed it could: the past casts long, dismal shadows upon the future of all who dwell in Moose River, and only Sabine can set things right.
Morbid and rather depressing.