"With vampires, imprisoned spirits good and bad, and a haunted rose garden, this is a Gothic romp of a novel complete with light versus dark, love and loss, and revenge."
(The de Chastelaine Chronicles Book 1)
In 1925, Cecily James, lonely wife of the brutal and austere headmaster of Whitmore School, attempts to contact the spirit of her brother, killed at Ypres ten years before, through a séance. Instead she encounters Isabella, a 17th century inhabitant of Whitmore Hall, who was condemned to death by her own husband for a crime she didn’t commit.
At the same time a malevolent force, which has long affected the dominant males of the house, gains strength, and Cecily’s marriage takes a turn for the worse. Into the strained atmosphere comes Rafael de Chastelaine, a replacement Latin master, who is a far better gardener than he is a Latin scholar.
Kindred spirits, Raf and Cecily learn Isabella’s story and vow to release her from her entrapment, though that seems to enrage the evil that occupies the clock tower, and what starts as a fight for one ghost becomes a bid to reunite two long-dead lovers, and to destroy the darkness which threatens Cecily and the entire school.
With vampires, imprisoned spirits good and bad, and a haunted rose garden, this is a Gothic romp of a novel complete with light versus dark, love and loss, and revenge. The creeping sense of evil is very well portrayed, and the conclusion satisfying. The relationship between Raf and Cecily is full of humour (though Cecily’s discussion of a cache of ‘saucy’ love letters verges on the unnecessary and inappropriate for the scene), and their willingness to fight for and alongside each other promises well for the continuation of the series.
Be aware that there are sexual descriptions, and some violence.
© Lorraine Swoboda