**spoiler alert** This story is a ghost story but not your typical malevolent ghost story, at least I didn't think so. The story started out at Elspet...more**spoiler alert** This story is a ghost story but not your typical malevolent ghost story, at least I didn't think so. The story started out at Elspeth's funeral, who died young of cancer and it started telling a bit about each character in attendance. Neighbors Martin, who has a crippling obsessive compulsive disorder and his wife Marjike who you get the feeling loves her husband very much, but is having difficulty with her husbands disorder as he will not leave the house and she is overwhelmed by the other issues that he is compulsive about.Then there is Robert who was Elspeth's younger friend, lover who is absolutely devasted with Elspeth's death. Elspeth is entombed in a mausoleum in Highgate Cemetery in London right next to where these people live.
Julia and Valentina are 20 year old twins who both had graduated high school and attempted to go to college but both dropped out and really not doing anything with their lives such as getting jobs or even going back to school. So they stay living with the parents in Chicago. The were also very attached to each other and each did the same thing and wore the same clothes etc.
Elspeth and her twin sister Edie (who is the twins mother) have not spoken for 20 years. I do not want to go into the why because that would give some of the story away. Elspeth left her flat in her will to the Julia and Valentina with the requirement that they live in the flat for one year.
As the girls get settled in the flat the ghost of Elspeth starts showing herself to the girls in odd ways until she is strong enough to show herself completely. It appears that she is not able to leave the flat and the girls are the only ones to see Elspeth in her ghostly form. It also appears that there is a motive to her showing herself to the girls but again I do not want to spoil the story. Although for one fact that I never realized could happen as the twins were mirror images of each other, Julias heart was where it was supposed to be and Valentina's heart is on the right side. Valentina also suffers from asthma and Julia does not.
The story goes back and forth between the characters but not a lot regarding the girls parents. It focuses a lot on Martin and his obsessive behaviors and how these said behaviors affect his marriage. Robert not only lives next to the cemetary but also works at Highgate Cemetary doing tours there. He was doing a dissertation on the people buried there. He would give tours during the day and at night he would sneak inside. Karl Marx, George Eliot, and Lizzie Siddal are a few of the Victorians buried at Highgate.
All in all I liked the story, although I was not crazy about the ending at all, it kind of made me uncomfortable and was not what I was expecting at all. I still would recommend this book if you like a good eerie ghost story.(less)
Scene 1 starts in the 16th century, Elizabethan England with John Dee, counselor to the Queen, along with Monsieur C who conspire with a witch,Radha O...moreScene 1 starts in the 16th century, Elizabethan England with John Dee, counselor to the Queen, along with Monsieur C who conspire with a witch,Radha O Braonain, to see if they can capture a banshee...the theory is that if they can do this they can live forever. Fade out to modern day Atlanta Georgia...the Janus Theatre where the Mummer's Theatrical Company is rehearsing for the play, The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, written by Christopher Marlowe about a man who sells his soul to the devil for power and knowledge. The primary character is Claire Porter who is a paramedic by day and volunteers with the Mummer's Theatrical Company at night. Things start happening that don't make sense and Claire starts to question the things around her...to the point that her own life and those around her are in danger. The author blends Celtic mythology with the creepy story of Dr. Faustus to make for a thrilling and suspenseful story. A real page turner...I loved it.(less)
I started reading the Outlander series when it was first released in 1991 and from the first page I was immersed in this great time travel story. Gran...moreI started reading the Outlander series when it was first released in 1991 and from the first page I was immersed in this great time travel story. Granted the books in the series are huge but the writing is such that the length of the book passes into insignificance as the pages turn. What could be better in a novel than standing stones, castles and men in kilts?? Once Claire is transported back to 1700's England/Scotland she finds herself in a world that she knew from the history books and she is in for the ride of her life.. this book is full of romance, mystery, history of Scotland, lots of engaging characters in the past and present of the book. There is violence and sexual situations also that contribute to the story. Once you start reading this series you will not want to stop and you will never want the story of Jamie and Clair to end... but the good news is that this is only the first in this series so you will be able to read about the love between Jamie and Claire for a long time...(less)
This is another story in the Boleyn saga. It is a story about Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Jane Rochford.
After Jane Seymours death in childbi...moreThis is another story in the Boleyn saga. It is a story about Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Jane Rochford.
After Jane Seymours death in childbirth HenryVIII contracts to marry Anne of Cleves. Anne was not very appealing to the king, but he still wanted to sire an heir. She could only communicate in German and this added to Henry's dislike of her. Their marriage was eventually annulled on the grounds that their marriage was not consumated.
Katherine Howard was the next wife of Henry VIII. He married Katherine in haste because he thought she was pregnant. As it turns out she was not actually pregnant. She was repulsed by Henry because by this time in his life he was obese and had festering, foul smelling ulcers on his legs. So Katherine proceeded to have an affair with Thomas Culpeper Henry's favourite male courtier. Catherines indescetions became known and she was charged with adultery and treason. After a period of time she was beheaded and buried near her cousin Anne Boleyn.
Jane Boleyn was the wife of George Boleyn, Anne Boleyns brother. She was also lady in waiting to Katherine Howard. Her testimony against her husband,who was being charged with incest and for being a traitor, led to the death of her husband and Anne Boleyn. She was jealous of her sister-in-law and supposedly sexually voyeuristic and given to petty spying. Her fate was to be the same as her husband and Anne and she was beheaded along with Catherine Howard. She was burried alonside Catherine Howard.
I liked this story although I was not a big fan of Jane Boleyn. In spite of that it is a very engaging story in the Tudor saga. As with all of Phillipa Gregory's historical novels this is a must read. (less)
Ruth and her husband, Patrick, live in Bristol, where she works as a correspondent for a mediocre radio station and he...moreSynopsis from Barnes and Noble
Ruth and her husband, Patrick, live in Bristol, where she works as a correspondent for a mediocre radio station and he is an up-and-coming TV news reporter. Their marriage is not ideal, but the warmth offered by Patrick and his parents is a welcome change for Ruth, who was orphaned at the age of seven. Every Sunday Ruth and Patrick visit his parents at their eighteenth-century manor farmhouse - afternoons loved by Patrick and tolerated by Ruth. Then "the little house" at the end of her in-laws' lane comes up for sale. When Ruth discovers that she is pregnant, she is persuaded by Patrick and his parents to abandon her career and move from their city apartment to the quaint home in the country - everything Patrick's mother has always wanted. Ruth is lonely, uncomfortable, and bitter. Her husband does not understand, and she is living under the watchful eye of a domineering mother-in-law. Even her own pregnancy seems like a burden. As circumstances threaten to overwhelm her, Ruth struggles to set her life straight with a precarious mix of good humor and outrage, composure and desperation. The result is an engrossing, tragicomic tale of dysfunction - with an utterly surprising, ironic, and intriguing conclusion.
I have and have read a lot of Phillipa Gregory's novels and I did not realize she had non historical novels. So received this book from the local library prepared to not really like it, not sure why. As I started reading it I was pulled into the story. This story is a psychological thriller. It tells the story of how a mothers love can be all consuming and that as the wife Ruth is feeling that anything she does is not good enough as far as the mother-in-law is concerned. She is reluctant to move from the city to the little cottage that is right next to where the in-laws live. Ruth becomes pregnant and when she is home any slight little thing that she does or does not do is turned upside down by Elizabeth and made to look like she can not take care of the child. Her husband of course tries to understand Ruth but leans more towards what Elizabeth says to the point that Ruth feels totally inept as a mother and wife. As time goes on Ruth takes control of the situation and that is when the story really gets good....
A worthwhile read, I highly recomend it... 5 stars!!! (less)