I LOVED THIS BOOK! This is a book I chose for my February stack and I picked it up yesterday to start reading so I could slow my pace on The Alice Network. Within the first few chapters I was totally enthralled and could not put it down. I finished it in less than 24 hours! I had never read a Wendy Webb novel before this. In fact, I’d never heard of her or this book until I stumbled across it one day on Amazon’s “Today’s Deals”. I was intrigued by the cover so I read the summary and it sounded interesting–and it was on sale–so I dropped it into my cart to add to my To Be Read shelf. Best. Decision. Ever. This is a semi historical fiction supernatural thriller with a gothic flair–think mystery novel meets ghost story minus the horror. Wendy Webb is a fantastic story-teller and did a phenomenal job bridging present day with the past in a seamless manner. The story line bounces back to the late 1800s- early 1900s and the present. It’s like traveling in a literal time warp and the story and characters are written so vividly it was like they were jumping right off of the page and engulfing you in that magical little lakeside town. There was never a dull moment. I would 100% pick up another one of her novels in the future.
Kate Granger’s life has recently imploded around her. Her marriage was recently obliterated thanks to a cheating husband of 5 years. They worked for the same publishing company–and her husband’s affair worked there as well–so naturally, she had to quit her job too. She’s back in her lakeside home town and staying with her parents while she figures out how to salvage her life from here. Since being home she’s been having these oddly real dreams..nightmares? about a women she’s never met but who she feels like she’s always known. Then, one morning, a body washes up on the shore and Kate is jolted from sleep and rushes to the beach. She recognizes the body…it’s the woman from her dreams. And while she can’t explain how or why to anyone, she knows the woman is holding a baby hidden beneath the folds of the gown she’s wearing. It’s as if she’s seeing herself when she looks at the woman. Kate is wracked with despair and intrigue. Who is this woman? Why is she dreaming of her? And how did she end up on the beach in front of her parents house?
Due to her obvious familiarity with the body, Kate is a suspect in the case of the mysterious dead woman and her baby. She can’t possibly tell anyone why she recognized her. People would think she was crazy. The dreams keep coming. Each one a new glimpse into the life of this nameless woman. Kate decides to travel to another nearby lake town to visit her cousin and her ancestors’ old circa 1890s Victorian home–now a bed and breakfast–in the mystical and unseasonably warm town of Wharton. When she gets there, things take an interesting turn. It becomes clear that this woman is communicating with Kate via her dreams…desperately trying to tell her something. And not only that, but Kate discovers that this woman is not from the present day–she lived over a century ago. But how? How can she have just washed up on shore? perfectly intact and so lifelike? As if she had died only yesterday? Who killed her? And what is it that she wants Kate to know?
This story is chock full of suspense and some really juicy plot twists at the end. It’s a story about understanding where one comes from and the importance of heritage and family history woven with a murder mystery and a dash of a love story. I have an affinity for historical fiction already, but even more so for the 19th century and the mention of stately Victorian or Italianate mansions of the time–since I also live in one. I find that sort of history absolutely captivating so I loved that element of this novel. I loved all of the characters–even the evil ones. They were so well-developed and the relationships between them were so well written. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it a lot more–I would love to see this as a movie! Five stars, no hesitation.