Friday, May 4

Carol Goodman: The Ghost Orchid

From the back of the book-
For more than one hundred years, creative souls have traveled to upstate New York to work under the captivating spell of the Bosco estate. Cradled in silence, inspired by the rough beauty of overgrown gardens and crumbling statuary, these chosen few fashion masterworks-and further Bosco's reputation as a premier artists' colony. This season, five talented artists-in-residence find themselves drawn to the history of Bosco, from the extensive network of fountains that were once its centerpiece but have long since run dry to the story of its enigmatic founder, Aurora Latham, and the series of tragic events that occurred more than a century ago.
Ellis Brooks, a first-time novelist, has come to Bosco to write a book based on Aurora and the infamous summer of 1893, when wealthy, powerful Milo Latham brought the notorious medium Corinth Blackwell to the estate to help his wife contact three of the couple's children, lost the winter before in a diphtheria epidemic. But when a seance turned deadly, Corinth and her alleged accomplice, Tom Quinn, disappeared, taking with them the Lathams' only surviving child.
The more time she spends at Bosco the more Ellis become convinced that there is an even darker, more sinister twist to the story. And she's not alone: biographer Bethesda Graham uncovers stunning revelations about Milo and Corinth; landscape architect David Fox discovers a series of hidden tunnels underneath the gardens; poet Zalman Bronsky hears the long-dry fountains' waters beckoning him; and novelist Nat Loomis feels something lingering just out of reach.
After a bizarre series of accidents befalls them, the group cannot deny the connections between the long ago and now, the living and the dead... as Ellis realized that the tangled truth may ensnare them all in its cool embrace.
I write this review some considerable time after having read the book in question, yet still the story haunts me. A well developed central plot with unexpected twists is peopled by fascinating characters in a beautifully described setting.
This writer has the knack of leading the reader up the garden path (in this instance quite literally) in such a way as to make us follow willingly and be delighted when the expected doesn't eventuate.
Great mystery, with a touch of romance and a sprinkling of chills, this is a good modern gothic.-Lynn

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