Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired...and who the world believes is dead.
When she arrives at the Sinclairs' enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her "too-good-to-be-true" position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls.
©2014 Wendy Webb (P)2014 Tantor
"A brisk thriller tinged with gothic elements. . . . Careening through séances and ghostly encounters leaves the reader breathless." (Kirkus)
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I think there are people that might enjoy it. The premise was interesting, follow through was frustrating and lacking. Character development would have helped. That was missing, no connection with any of the characters. The mystery is summed up in the last few minutes and still you are confused or at least I was. I think with good editors or a collaboration, the story could be really good. Nora Roberts did one similar.
I am hoping for a great recommendation from Audible or other listeners.
Saltery, whisper, .....She is an acquired taste, at first I wasn't sure I liked her. Sometimes at first I had a hard time hearing or understanding some of her words.I chose this book because of her. Now I look for books she has narrated.
It did. I finished it. There are many books I don't. Xe Sands might be part of why I finished it. I also kept listening to see if relationships developed or to make sense of the mystery. I finished it hoping to be convinced, I wasn't.
Right now I wouldn't recommend it but , after awhile I might try listening again. It was not worth my credit, but on sale.....
"Great book with a rushed ending"
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a slow, suspenseful tale. The author would tell you just enough, then leave you hanging until the background story is picked up again, which kept my interest.
It was a haunting story without gore or sex.
I thoroughly enjoyed the narrators work. She had believable voices for each character and would enjoy listening to her narrations again.
The ending felt rushed and was rather silly. SPOILER ALERT: The ending of the main part of the story sounded like an episode of The Haunting on The Discovery Channel. It was pretty awful, especially after reading what I considered to be a very good ghost story.
"A total surprise!"
Unexpected. Hunting. Slow
I love Xe Sands, the narrator. She is amazing!!!
The ghostly feeling about the entire story. Also, the unexpected slight twist at the end.
Overall, it was haunting although I would have liked a little more risk, more danger.
The lady of the house.
It got creepy a few times but it could have been creepier and I would have loved that.
It was a little bit predictable, and it could have been more intense. I got a good feeling about the whole thing, but it was lacking something... It could have been more engaging, and pack more danger! :)
"Different kind of scary story."
This one started off with a mystery and got you hooked right away wanting to find out what the heck is going on. Didn't get bogged down with too much romance or sex, just a good old fashioned scary story mystery. Performance was a bit weak but ok. I got kind of tired of the quivery voice thing, but she did the old lady great.
"Great Spook Mystery"
This was a Daily Deal but worth a credit. A young woman, Julia Bishop, finds herself desolate after her husband is uncovered as a blue collar thief and instead of jail he cowardly chooses suicide. Shortly after her loss, a man of wealth appears at her door, she of course is suspicious, however, is intrigued and allows him to complete his explanation and proposal. He makes an offer that would entail her moving away from her life and coming to live in a mansion, on the Canadian boarder, where she would be a companion to his mother, a famous writer who was thought to be dead. She would have a safe haven where she could leave her disaster of a life behind with the hope of sometime in the future starting a completely new one. Needless to say she can't really find any reasonable reason to refuse.
Upon her arrival she is introduced to the house, his Mother, the caretaker and three enormous, well trained Malamutes. Almost immediately Julia starts to see apparitions, some malevolent and some whom she is not frightened by at all. She starts to wonder why she is the only one who can see them and why they all seem so familiar, not only them, but the house and people as well.
As stories are revealed about the house she just becomes more tentative and has an overwhelming need to get away but at the same time is pulled towards the house, and feels herself falling in love with the main characters. An exceptional ending, paced correctly and the epilogue knocked my socks off. I instantly went in search of the next book, but am sad to say there is no sequel. Xe Sands does an exceptional job narrating, as always, she adds a little something extra to the flow and feel to the story. This is a great spook, mystery that builds to a pinnacle ending. A perfect Halloween read.
"Loved this book"
Yes, The narrator did an excellent job with the accents portrayed in the book.
I'm now looking for books narrated by her just because I know she does such a fantastic job at it.
Havenwood is a haven for those alive or dead.
"Great story with a surprising twist"
I loved this book. The narrator did an excellent job and brought the characters to life. Recommend to anyone looking for a spooky mystery.
"Trite plot, cliche writing"
Sorry, but as an English teacher who urged her students to avoid saying things like "a chill ran down her spine," I winced at the writing. The plot, too, was predictable and amateurish: no subtlety here! But, if those things don't bother you, it was a nice enough diversion.
"Very talented narrator but predictable story."
No real scariness or chills. Story was largely atmospheric. Story's end left me wondering if there was a meaning I was meant to infer. Either I'm dense, or it was unclear, or...the author wants listeners to draw their own conclusion, write their own ending.
Narrator (voice actor/reader) of story is enormously talented and her characters were wonderfully '3D' from each other. Expert accents for each character too. Very nicely done.
A wonderful tale. This is the type of story where it's hard to tell the 'real' from the 'fake'. Is she crazy or not? I really enjoyed this audio book.
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