Our Heroine, who is recovering from pneumonia and the heartache of recently losing her mother, now must trek through the storm to the cottage only to find that there is no heat or running water. So much for the caretaker getting the cottage ready for her stay. Our heroine’s only choice now is to climb up the mountain to the Gothic Mansion on the hillside. Here’s where you cue the organ music. Once at the mansion she realizes that her nemesis –- the now hunky Theo Harp -- is in residence. What’s wrong with Theo Harp you ask? Besides the fact Theo is running around in mid century cloths in a mansion that has been decorated like a place right out of the pages of a Bronte novel? Theo and Annie were, for short time in their teens, romantically involved. But there were a few complications in their relationship. Mainly that Theo was her stepbrother and he once tried to kill her. Now Annie has found herself forced to deal with a man she considers a dangerous psychopath.
Theo Harper has come to the island to try and find some solitude. He is working away on a sequel to an incredibly successful horror story he wrote. But instead of finding peace, he finds himself not only dealing with a love struck housekeeper and her mute four year old daughter, but now he has come face to face with Annie Hewitt, a girl from his past who brings with her too many painful memories. Theo wants her gone. To what lengths will he go to try and get rid of Annie? And has he changed, or is he still the dark monster she remembers from her youth?
Throw into the mix a handful of secrets and a mysterious person trying to run Annie out of the cottage. Is Annie’s life really in danger? Is there something in the cottage that will bring her great fortune or was her mother hallucinating during her last moments? And the biggest question of them all -- can she trust the one man she swore never to trust again?
Brooding hero, spooky house, too many secrets—you all have the ingredients for a great gothic novel. With one exception. Annie is no withering heroine. She takes great pleasure in using her voice throwing skills to create a few ghostly voices and ghastly moans. It’s just a bit of fun payback for all the terrible pranks Theo had played on her when they were kids. The interaction between Theo and Annie is witty and fun. Annie is very spunky and a terrible smart ass and Theo finds himself drawn to this curly haired artistic free spirit.
A new twist on a contemporary gothic and one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this year. I’m a huge fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, her books are always on my must read list.