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I can't exactly remember the first time we saw our mother stop whatever she was doing, look out at the darkness, smile, nod, and softly say something like, "I understand. Yes. Thank you," to no one we could see, but every time she did it, I felt an eerie excitement, a pleasant chill like the quiver I might feel sliding down a hill on my sled or leaping off the rock to splash in our pond. When I was very little, seeing and hearing Mommy speak to her spirits was simply scary fun, and no matter what I was doing at the time, I would stop and listen and watch her, and then Noble would stop playing and listen, too. Sometimes we would hear Daddy talk to himself and Mommy as well, but this was different, and only Mommy did it.
I would look at Noble to see if he made any sense of it, and he would look at me with a confused expression, the dimple we both shared in our left cheeks flashing prominently, his eyebrows, like mine, raised and twisted. Neither of us understood, but neither of us asked her about it.
I knew in my heart that in time, she would tell us.
And yes, one day she pulled us aside and hugged us to her, kissing both our foreheads and cheeks, perhaps kissing Noble a little more because she always seemed to think he needed more of her kisses than I did, and then she told us everything with great excitement in her voice, as much excitement as someone learning what she was going to get for Christmas.
"I am going to let you both know a great secret," she said. "It's time for me to tell you. Do you know what a secret is, Noble?" she asked.
She didn't ask me because she knew I knew. I was a far better reader and listener than Noble was, and I had twice the vocabulary. He nodded, but not with any real confidence in his eyes, so she explained.
"It's something you must not tell anyone else, something you must keep locked up here and here," she said, pointing to his head and his heart. "It's a very bad thing to tell a secret after you have promised not to do that. Understand?"
Noble nodded firmly now and Mommy relaxed, took a deep breath, and continued.
She told us she heard voices no one else could hear, not even Daddy, and she could see people -- spirits, she called them -- that he couldn't see.
"Who are they?" I asked.
She said they were the spirits and the voices of all her dead ancestors, and then she drew up a ghostly mélange of men and women with distinct and interesting personalities, girls who still whined about their lost lovers, men who were stern but wise, women who were beautiful and women who were plain, even disabled, like Auntie Helen Roe, who had polio when she was very young and was in a wheelchair until the day she died. She told us they buried her wheelchair with her and she was still in it, even in the spiritual world. She made it sound as if they were actually in the room with us, sitting there, smiling and watching her tell all about them. I kept looking around, expecting to see someone.
Whether they were all true ancestors or merely inventions of Mommy's imagination didn't matter at the moment. I wanted them to be as real as the occasional visitors who came to our ancestral home, a large three-story Queen Anne house first built by my mother's great-grandfather William De Forest Jordan, who had laid claim to acres and acres of rich riverbed land in an upstate New York valley nestled almost in camera by Mother Nature.
His portrait hung in the living room over the fireplace. He was stocky, with a thick neck and heavy shoulders that looked like they were straining the seams of the suit jacket he wore. When the portrait was painted, he had a neatly trimmed Van Dyke beard and a full head of stark white hair brushed back with a part in the middle. His skin was dark and leathery because he spent most of his time outdoors in the sun.
I didn't like looking up at him often because his dark brown eyes seemed to follow me about the room, and he wasn't smiling in the portrait. In fact, he looked angry, I thought. When I asked Mommy if he was angry or upset about having to sit for a portrait, she told me that people took their pictures and portraits very seriously in those days and believed smiling made them look frivolous. To me, he always looked like someone who was incapable of smiling, even if he had wanted to smile. He was one spirit I wasn't all that anxious to meet.
Family legend had it that he was hiking alone in the famous Rip Van Winkle Catskills and turned a corner to behold this stretch of land comfortably set between two slopes where once the Sandburg River had run when it was free to race along, unchecked by dams upstream. Now it was more like a creek, albeit often a raging one after heavy spring rains or a winter of particularly heavy snowfalls.
"Your great-great-grandpa Jordan's heart pounded the way a man's heart pounds when he sees a beautiful woman," Mommy told us. "He fell in love with every tree, every blade of grass, every rock he saw, and just knew he had to live here and work his farm here and build his home here, and yes, dear children, my sweet dear and precious twins, die here."
On the north side of the house, he was buried along with our great-great-grandmother Elsie and a child of theirs who had died in childbirth, an unnamed creature of misfortune who had the door of life slammed shut before she could sound a cry, take a breath, behold a color or her mother's face. The three granite tombstones were in a small square created out of fieldstone about three feet high with an entrance. Their stillborn child's gravestone reads INFANT JORDAN and her date of death. There was, of course, no date of birth. Her stone is smaller, with two baby hands embossed in a clasp above the inscription. Mommy says that sometimes when she touches the hands and closes her eyes, she can feel them moving, feel their softness.
The vivid way she described it made me think that the dead reach up through their tombstones to see and hear and even touch the people who come to visit their graves. Mommy's great-grandmother Elsie died before her great-grandfather. Mommy said her mother told her she often saw him hugging the stone as if he was actually hugging his departed wife, and he would kiss it, too!
All of our other family members lay at rest in church cemeteries, except they didn't lie at rest, according to Mommy. They rose almost immediately from their cold, dark graves and began to walk the earth, eager to speak to our grandmother, our mother, and now eagerly waiting to be able to speak with us. That was the prediction Mommy made to us.
"Soon, children, soon, you too will see and hear them. I promise. They've promised. When they feel you're ready, they have promised they will," she told us that day, and she looked out the window with her beautiful angelic smile softly sitting on her full and perfect lips and nodded as only one who had heard the voices would nod.
How could we not believe it would all come true?
Copyright © 2004 by the Vanda General Partnership
Posted October 14, 2005
The book Celeste, by V.C. Andrews was an extremely good book. It was also a little creepy. The first few chapters were a little boring because it was all introduction, but I loved the rest of the book. This book belongs to a series and I have read the second one, Black Cat, and I plan on reading the rest of them, also. I love all of the V.C. Andrews books and I would reccommmend them to anyone who likes to read novels.
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Posted July 27, 2012
Posted May 21, 2012
Posted August 3, 2011
I loved this book. It was my first vc andrews do i didnt know wat to expect. When i read it i just couldnt put the book down. They only usauly only take a day to read for me, but so hard to getWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 23, 2011
The plot itself is interesting, but the way that Andrew Neiderman, NOT the real V.C. Andrews herself, put pen to paper to create this story was horrible. I've read the first 2 books, currently on Child of Darkness. Believe me, the second one sucks. You should only read it so you can better understand the third book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 29, 2010
I'm up to the Gemini Series #3 Child of Darkness, and while I've read many reviews that say they didn't like this book, i really did like it. I think it was a good book that made me want to read on to the next two books so far. I found it interesting that one post mentioned how it didn't sound like VC Andrews didn't write the book herself. The reason for that could be 'cause she died a long time ago and the books have continued to be written by her family. So, it is another person's perspective. As for it not being realistic, well, I think sometimes that's what makes a book good. It can take us into a world where it is impossible for certain things to happen. Over all I think it was a great book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2009
Posted November 28, 2006
This book is a great book. I mean it put so many feelings in just one book. It was so sad especially in the beginning when Celeste's mother treats her brother better than her brother. And what I hate is her mother. Other than that this book was so nice.I loved it. I guess it is my second favorite book aside the Dollanger Series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 23, 2006
I have been reading V.C. Andrews for a long time. I really enjoyed This book. Celeste has remained couragious over her mother's close watch. Are they going to make a movie?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 15, 2005
Posted February 20, 2005
This book was great, except made me really frustrated. The girls mother didnt let her be who she wanted to be, and completly brainwashed her. I would recomend this book to anyone. Its exciting, creepy, and dangerous!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 1, 2004
I am sorry to say that this book was not it's best and I am a Big fan of V.C. Andrews I have read all of her books annd this book made me sad. I wanted to scream because Celeste was a book who had potential but I noticed that I reread some of the same details a good several times and that bored me-the book was a good plot but this time the writing sucked. I wanted with my whole heart to see Celeste kick the sense into her mother but It didn't happen and I also wanted to see Celeste refuse to dress up as Noble-to be herself and turn her mother into the police because who knows in the next book what's going to happen. I will definetly be buying the next book to this series in hopes that it will get better and there will be a change in Celeste. The reason I said the book made me sad is because of the lousy job at publishing this book I don't like to reread the same details in a book a million times but that's just me.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2004
This book could not get any worse. Andrews' original works (the Casteel and Dollanganger) were riveting and truly interesting. The ones written by that ghostwriter started out good, but have recently dived into a whirlpool of pure, unadulterated boredom. The recent books lack any significance that set them apart from the others. Basically, they follow the same plotline. And the biggest mistake the ghostwriter made was writing the mini-series. V.C. Andrews is among my all time favorite authors - not the ghostwriter.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 13, 2004
This book was ok. For V.C. Andrews not writting it, I guess I can live with it. Yes she is dead and other people are writing her books (her family from what I heard) but that should not mean that her books get this boring. It was ok, but as someone else said I could put it down which is not common with all the other V.C. Andrews books. I am not all that disapointed thought. I still love her ideas...even if it is getting kinda repetative. I own almost every single one of her books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 11, 2004
I noticed a lot of bad reviews with Celeste. I have read ALL of V.C. Andrews book and found this one to be no different from the others. It was well written and the plot was good. I can't wait for the next one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 11, 2004
I agree with the statement that the Dollanganger and Casteel series' were the best out of all 'VC Andrews' books. I mean, the Dollanganger series was a little twisted, but it had substance. My favorite series of all time is the Casteel series. I LOVE 'Heaven'! Celeste is just another dissappointment in a long series of mess. The ghost writer seems to be mistaking twisted plots as automatically qualifing as good writing. He cheats! That's all there is to it! It's like reading a frilly, empty story trying to have some substance, but severely lacking in such! I admit, I think the plot IDEA is totally intriguing, but our 'VC Andrews' imposter did not do it justice.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 12, 2004
Celeste reminded me of the original VC Andrews books. You have another sick and demented mother as bad or worse than Corrine. I have read VC Andrews since I was 12 yrs old. Better than Broken Wings series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2004
The beginning was really boring and drawn out. It took me a long while to get thru the begining because it wasnt able to keep my interest. After that, it was ok. The mother was really making me mad and the story line was really unbelievable.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 13, 2004
i am frankly dissappionted in the recenct vc andrews books, i have read her earlier works and they are a lot better than the trash that is printed out under her name. Celeste was a tragedy. Vc andrews's family should be concerned that the books are losing their style. About celeste, In simple terms the book sucked What was with the dead people talking.That was highly annoying.The mother should be admiited to am asylum. Well I all vc andrews's dedicated fan are going to by the sequel to celeste (black cat)in october but when i buy it i am gonna keep the recipt so i an return it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 3, 2004
This was not one of V.C. Andrews bests. I have read several of her books and they all had the effect of me not wanting to put them down. This book to me had no climax in it and I found that I could stop and take a break from reading it very easily. I will probably end up buying the second book in the series because I think the plot is good, and hopefully the second one will be better.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.