The Ghost Orchid

( 34 )

Overview

In her enthralling novels of literary suspense, Carol Goodman writes stories that resonate with emotion set in lush landscapes that entice the senses. Now, with The Ghost Orchid, a narrative that seamlessly weaves together the past and the present, Goodman creates her most lyrical and haunting work to date.

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...

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The Ghost Orchid: A Novel

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Overview

In her enthralling novels of literary suspense, Carol Goodman writes stories that resonate with emotion set in lush landscapes that entice the senses. Now, with The Ghost Orchid, a narrative that seamlessly weaves together the past and the present, Goodman creates her most lyrical and haunting work to date.

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 have cemented 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 séance 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 becomes convinced that there is an even darker, more sinister end 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 fountain’s 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 realizes that the tangled truth may ensnare them all in its cool embrace.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Carol Goodman

The Lake of Dead Languages

“A wonderfully eerie sense of place . . . deeply atmospheric.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Like Donna Tartt’s A Secret History or a good film noir . . . [This book will] keep readers hooked.”
–People (Page-turner of the week)

The Seduction of Water

“Truly a seductive reading experience . . . grabs the reader on the first page and holds on for the entire journey.”
–The Denver Post

“Like the best mysteries, The Seduction of Water offers puzzles and twists galore but still tells a human story.”
–The Boston Globe

The Drowning Tree

“Deftly plotted and certainly intriguing . . . infused with the sinister aura of its setting . . . The Drowning Tree has its twists and shudders.”
–New York Daily News

“[A] captivating literary mystery of secrets old and new.”
–Publishers Weekly

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly
An isolated Victorian mansion in upstate New York is the backdrop for Goodman's latest literary mystery (after The Drowning Tree), which stars a debut novelist and her fellow residents at the artists' retreat Bosco. Ellis Brooks has been accepted to Bosco primarily because her first novel is to be a fictional account of the mansion's mysterious past; while there will be no deaths during her stay, there's spookiness aplenty, as well as several 1893 murders still begging resolution. Goodman's narrative alternates between Ellis's first-person present and 1893. Coincidentally-or not-two of Bosco's other guests are also working on projects related to the mansion. But they turn out to be little more than convenient accessories as Ellis, the daughter of a psychic (and possessor of certain powers of her own), unlocks clue after mystical clue to secrets long buried by the mansion's original owners. As great a player as any is the mansion itself and its creepy (and possibly haunted) gardens. Is this an updated Victorian drawing room mystery or a romance novel/crime fiction-cum-ghost story? Never mind. Enjoy the atmosphere. And enjoy the ride; its twists and turns mesmerize, even if they don't surprise. Agent, Loretta Barrett. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Goodman (The Lake of Dead Languages) returns with another literary mystery, this time introducing a supernatural element. Ellis Brooks is a young novelist who has been awarded a retreat to the Bosco estate, an artists' sanctuary in upstate New York. A daughter of a psychic medium, she has spiritual abilities that are tapped by the ghosts of three young children who died on the estate under mysterious circumstances more than 100 years earlier. The story alternates between the perspectives of Ellis in the present and Corinth, the psychic hired in the 1880s to contact the children's spirits. Fans of Goodman's earlier books will enjoy her familiar Hudson Valley setting and metaphorical use of water (in this case, an elaborate system of garden fountains on the estate). However, some may be put off by the supernatural angle. Recommended for public libraries with a following for Goodman's earlier books. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/05.]-Karen Fauls-Traynor, Sullivan Free Lib., Chittenango, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The ghost of Daphne du Maurier was probably consulted during the writing of Goodman's latest romantic suspenser (The Drowning Tree, 2004, etc.). It's a tale assembled and narrated by novelist Ellis Brooks, who's among the artists invited to the upstate New York Bosco estate, a "sacred wood" of sorts complete with luxuriant gardens, hidden grottos, complex waterworks-and a history of parental grief connected to "the Blackwell Affair," which Ellen is researching. The story dates from 1893, when Aurora, wife of wealthy timber merchant Milo Latham, hired medium Corinth Blackwell to contact the spirits of her three children (victims of a diphtheria epidemic)-only to suffer the kidnapping of her sole surviving child Alice, presumably by the resourceful psychic and her con-man partner and lover. Ellis, herself the daughter of a flower-empowered Wiccan mystic, becomes uncomfortably attuned to the (doubtless vengeful) spirit of the place, and Goodman thus juxtaposes the tale of the Lathams' miseries with Ellis's absorption of their past and relations with her fellow guest artists. These latter include pot-smoking celebrity novelist Nat Loomis, flinty biographer-critic Bethesda Graham, sensitive hunk landscape architect David Fox and distracted poet Zalman Bronsky, whose gnomic sonnets-in-progress hold increasingly ominous clues to the details of the Blackwell affair. A suicidal Indian maiden, several monogrammed teacups and a pair of disastrous seances figure prominently in the heavily furnished and dauntingly complex plot-which Goodman handles with considerable skill. But there are just too many signs and portents, perturbed spirits, guilty secrets and variously illicit relations for even themost moonstruck reader to sort through. More of the same from Goodman: not half bad, not all that good.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345462145
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/10/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 347,867
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Goodman is the author of The Lake of Dead Languages, The Seduction of Water, and The Drowning Tree. The Seduction of Water won the 2003 Hammett Prize and her other novels have been nominated for the Dublin/IMPAC Award and the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her fiction has been translated into eight languages. She teaches writing at the New School University in New York City.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I came to Bosco for the quiet.

That’s what it’s famous for.

The silence reigns each day between the hours of nine and five by order of a hundred-year-old decree made by a woman who lies dead beneath the rosebushes—a silence guarded by four hundred acres of wind sifting through white pines with a sound like a mother saying hush. The silence stretches into the still, warm afternoon until it melts into the darkest part of the garden where spiders spin their tunnel-shaped webs in the box-hedge maze. Just before dusk the wind, released from the pines, blows into the dry pipes of the marble fountain, swirls into the grotto, and creeps up the hill, into the gap- ing mouths of the satyrs, caressing the breasts of the sphinxes, snaking up the central fountain allée, and onto the terrace, where it exhales its resin- and copper-tinged breath onto the glasses and crystal decanters laid out on the balustrade.

Even when we come down to drinks on the terrace there’s always a moment, while the ice settles in the silver bowls and we brush the yellow pine needles off the rattan chairs, when it seems the silence will never be broken. When it seems that the silence might continue to accumulate—like the golden pine needles that pad the paths through the box-hedge maze and the crumbling marble steps and choke the mouths of the satyrs and fill the pipes of the fountain— and finally be too deep to disturb.

Then someone laughs and clinks his glass against another’s, and says . . .

“Cheers. Here’s to Aurora Latham and Bosco.”

“Here, here,” we all chime into the evening, sending the echoes of our voices rolling down the terraced lawn like brightly colored croquet balls from some long-ago lawn party.

“God, I’ve never gotten so much work done,” Bethesda Graham says, as if testing the air’s capacity to hold a longer sentence or two.

We all look at her with envy. Or maybe it’s only me, not only because I didn’t get any work done today, but because everything about Bethesda bespeaks confidence, from her slim elegant biographies and barbed critical reviews to her sleek cap of shiny black hair with bangs that just graze her perfectly arched eyebrows—which are arched now at Nat Loomis, as if the two of them were sharing some secret, unspoken joke—and set off her milk-white skin and delicate bone structure. Even Bethesda’s size—she can’t be more than four nine—is intimidating, as if everything superfluous had been refined down to its essential core. Or maybe it’s just that at five nine I loom over her and my hair, unmanageable at the best of times, has been steadily swelling in the moist Bosco air and acquired red highlights from the copper pipes. I feel like an angry Valkyrie next to her.

“Magic,” says Zalman Bronsky, the poet, sipping his Campari and soda. “A dream. Perfection.” He releases his words as if they were birds he’s been cupping in his hands throughout the day.

“I got shit-all done,” complains Nat Loomis, the novelist. The famous novelist. I’d had to stop myself from gasping aloud when I recognized him on my first day at Bosco—and who wouldn’t recognize that profile, the jawline only slightly weaker than his jacket photos suggest, the trademark square glasses, the hazel eyes that morph from blue to green depending (he once said in an interview) on his mood, the tousled hair and sardonic grin. Along with the rest of the world (or at least the world of MFA writing programs and bookish Manhattan), I had read his first novel ten years ago and fallen in love—with it, with its young, tough, but vulnerable protagonist, and with the author himself. And along with the rest of that little world I’d been immersed in these last ten years, I couldn’t help wondering where his second novel was. Surely, though, the fact that he’s here is a favorable sign that it’s only a matter of time before the long-awaited second novel is born out of the incubator of silence that is Bosco.

“It’s too quiet,” Nat says, now taking a sip of the single-malt scotch that the director, Diana Tate, sets out each night in a cut-glass decanter.

David Fox, a landscape architect who I’ve heard is writing a report on the gardens for the Garden Conservancy, holds up a Waterford tumbler of the stuff, the gold liquor catching a last ray of light as the sun impales itself on the tips of the pines at the western edge of the estate, and proposes a toast, “To Aurora Latham’s Sacro Bosco—a sacred wood indeed.”

“Is that what the name means?” asks one of the painters who’ve just joined us on the terrace. “I thought it was a funny name for an artists’ colony—isn’t it some kind of chocolate milk housewives made in the fifties?”

The other artists, who are just now straggling in from their out- lying studios and cabins like laborers returning from the fields, laugh at their cohort’s joke and grouse that the writers, as usual, have taken all the good chairs, leaving them the cold stone balustrade. One can’t help but notice that there’s a class system here at Bosco. The writers, who stay in the mansion, play the role of landed gentry. Nat Loomis and Bethesda Graham somehow manage to make their identical outfits of black jeans and white T-shirts look like some kind of arcane English hunting wardrobe. Even unassuming Zalman Bronsky, in his rumpled linen trousers and yellowed, uncuffed, and untucked dress shirt, looks like the eccentric uncle in a Chekhov play.

“She named it after the Sacro Bosco garden in Bomarzo—near Rome,” I say, my first spoken words of the day. I’m surprised my vocal cords still work, but, after all, my book—my first novel—is set here at Bosco, which is why I know that the estate isn’t named for a bed- time beverage. I address my remarks to David Fox, though, because the other writers, especially Bethesda Graham and Nat Loomis, still scare me.

Just remember, the director told me on the first day, never call Nat Nathaniel, or Bethesda Beth. I smiled at that evidence of vanity on their parts, but then I remembered that I’d been quick enough to modify my own name to Ellis when I published my first story. After all, who would take seriously a writer called Ellie?

“She saw it on one of the trips she and Milo Latham took to Italy,” I add, “and was inspired to create her own version of an Italian Renaissance garden here on the banks of the Hudson.”

We all look south toward where the Hudson should be, but the towering pines obscure the view. Instead we are looking down on crumbling marble terraces and broken statuary—statues of the Muses, whose shoulders are mantled with the gold dust of decaying pine needles and whose faces (at least on the statues who still have their heads) are cloaked in shadow and green moss. The hedges and shrubbery—once clipped and ordered—have overgrown their neat geometry and now sprawl in an untidy thicket across the hill. The fountain allée, with its satyrs and sphinxes who once spouted water from their mouths and breasts, leads to a statue of a horse poised on the edge of the hill as if it were about to leap into the dark, overgrown boxwood maze—Aurora Latham’s giardino segreto—at the bottom of the hill. Somewhere at the center of the maze is a fountain, but the hedges have grown too high to see it now.

“Actually, the garden’s closer in design to the Villa d’Este at Tivoli,” Bethesda Graham murmurs, sipping her mineral water. “The idea of all these fountains and the springs running down the hill into a grotto and then out to the main fountain and from there to the river and finally to the sea . . . Aurora wrote in her Italian journal that she wanted to create a garden that was the wellspring of a fountain like the sacred spring on Mount Parnassus.” Bethesda pronounces Aurora’s name as if she were a contemporary who’d only moments ago quit the terrace. Of course, I remember, she’s writing a biography of Aurora Latham. Bethesda’s the expert here.

“The whole hill is a fountain,” David Fox says. “One might even say the entire estate. Pumps draw the water up from the spring at the bottom of the hill and then pipes funnel the water down the hill though a hundred channels. On a night like this we would have heard the water cascading down the terraces like a thousand voices.”

Zalman Bronsky murmurs something. I lean forward to ask him to repeat himself, but then the words, half heard and still lingering in Bosco’s perfect silence, sound clearly in my head.

“ ‘The eloquence of water fills this hill,’ ” I repeat. “How lovely. It’s iambic pentameter, isn’t it?”

The poet looks startled, but then he smiles and takes out of his jacket a piece of paper that has been folded in quarters and begins to write down the line. When he sees it’s too dark to, he gets up to go inside. The artists have already gone inside for dinner, their manual labors having given them keener appetites.

“What happened to the fountains?” I ask David Fox, but it’s Bethesda who answers.

“The spring dried up,” she says, taking another careful sip from her glass.

“Not a particularly good omen for those who’ve come to drink at the wellspring of the Muses,” Nat says, downing the last of his scotch. “We might as well go inside for dinner.” He looks into his empty glass as if its dryness stood for the dried-up pipes of the fountain. Bethesda takes the glass from him as he gets up and follows him through the French doors into the dining room.

David Fox and I are left alone on the terrace looking down on the overgrown garden.

“So when you finish researching the garden, will it be restored?” I ask.

“If we get funding from the Garden Conservancy,” he says, draining the last drop of scotch from his glass. I get up and he reaches a hand out to take my wineglass. As his hand brushes mine, I feel a tremor—as if the pipes of the old fountain below us had come to life and were about to send forth jets of water, into the last lingering glow of the sunset. The garden wavers and quakes like a reflection in a pool of water, and I see a slim white figure swimming at its center. I force my eyes shut and, ignoring the sweet, spicy smell that has swept over the terrace, count to ten. When I open them, the garden has gone still and I can see that the slim white figure is only a statue standing below the western edge of the terrace and the scent of vanilla has faded from the air.

“You’re right,” I say, “it is prettier as a ruin.”

He laughs. “I agree, but I never said anything of the kind. The Garden Conservancy would have me fired if I did.”

At dinner I sit between Zalman Bronsky and Diana Tate. I’m glad I’m not next to David Fox, because I’m still embarrassed at what happened on the terrace. Of course he hadn’t said that the garden was prettier in ruins. It was only my imagination. Sometimes after a day of writing, after listening to the voices of my characters in my head, I begin to imagine that I can actually hear their voices.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Reading Group Guide

1. Mythology and classical allusions abound in The Ghost Orchid. What is their effect? How do these references highlight the dra­matic action of the story?

2. Deterioration is a key trope in the novel. How does it operate? Who or what deteriorates?

3. How did Alice’s treatment at Bosco compare to that of the other Latham children? Exactly what might Aurora have suspected about Alice’s parentage?

4. Why does Bethesda take an immediate dislike to Ellis? What similarities do you see between their relationship and that of Au­rora and Corinth?

5. Water is another central theme throughout this novel, especially as represented by the fountains. Why do you think Goodman chose this element?

6. How convincing is the metafiction, or fiction-within-the-fiction, of The Ghost Orchid? Whose project evokes the strongest response in you? We know how Ellis ends her book, but do you wish you could see the end results of all of the characters’ projects?

7. What parallels exist between Violet Ramsdale’s relationship with Tom Quinn and Bethesda’s relationship with Nat? What do you think Violet and Bethesda’s intentions are with these men?

8. Each character in this book has his or her own agenda, but who is the most selfish? The most selfless?

9. Aurora admits she was not the best mother, yet she does not try to be a better mother to the one child she has left. Why?

10. Do you believe in extradimensional contact? How would you use such power? Is faking this ability necessarily immoral, or simply opportunistic?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

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(17)

4 Star

(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not quite my favorite Goodman, but still a great mystery.

    Carol Goodman always has an unparalleled way of transforming a location in a book into a beautifully haunted atmosphere. Her descriptions jump from the page, and every time she sets her novel in a new location I know it's going to be lush, decrepit, gothic, and wonderful.

    Her location in The Ghost Orchid is no different. Set at the upstate New York sprawling aged and crumbling Bosco Estate, Goodman unites an intriguing cast of characters amid the ivy-covered statues and dry fountains. Novelist Ellis Brooks has hoped her acceptance into Bosco's notorious writing program would allow her the freedom to pursue her novel in peace. But the past pursues her instead, and she soon finds that the residents of Bosco were not brought together by chance.

    At times a romantic mystery, at times a suspenseful thriller, Goodman deftly weaves between an ages old missing child case, and the present day sleuthing Ellis is forced to undertake into the people and places around her. Always intriguing, I never want to finish a Goodman novel. Though the writing in this, her fourth novel, occasions into the trite and predictable, I was still engrossed by the scene set before me.

    I had one issue with the end of the novel and a short side-tracked path that Goodman decided to briefly explore, but it was not the focus of the novel so I can set it aside as author-folly. Overall, I still love her novels and find them to be uniquely mysterious and haunting. I haven't read many other authors that can successfully pull off a mystery while still making it literary. In this day of mass-market quick-publications, I delight in the fact that there are authors like Goodman who take suspense to another level.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't put it down!!!

    I read this book in 2 days!! I loved it even though at first meeting all the characters at once was a little hard to follow! Once it got going though there was no putting it down! Definitely a beach novel during the summer and a cozy book to warm up with during the winter!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008

    Enthralling

    If you are drawn to beautifully written literature with an intriguing, intense, web-like plot, romance, and supernatural overtones, this is the book for you! I am an avid reader and enjoy many books, but I have never been so impressed with a book that I felt I needed to write a review about it encouraging others to read it as well, but that is exactly what I am doing now. I started and finished the book yesterday, and I woke up still marveling at the complicated beauty of it this morning. This is truly a book that you can't go wrong with.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Hard to read

    This novel was hard to follow

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  • Posted January 16, 2011

    Worst of Carol Goodman

    Simply not her best. Too much going on....inadequate scene description makes this a bit confusing at times.

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  • Posted August 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Enjoyable

    I purchased this book as an impulse buy during one of B&N's sales so it has been on my shelf for sometime. I'm sorry I didn't read it sooner. Even though I was able to figure out some of the plot fairly early on, I still found the plot and characters to be captivating. I was also suprised on how often I found myself thinking about the characters when I wasn't reading. The Gost Orchid is an easy and enjoyable book to get lost in.

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  • Posted May 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Haunting and poetic

    Of the thousands of books that I have read, an odd few have stayed with me long after most of the words fade. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when I was a child, The Shadow of the Wind(sold, the moment I opened the book and began the first chapter entitled, The Cemetery of Lost Books), a few others in various genres in between, and recently, Ghost Orchid. It captured me on the first page, drawing me into the spidery weave of the author's prose, wrapping around and filling my head with imagery and lush emotion. A sense of atmosphere survives; of still being in that place the book took me away to when I conjure up a passage of finely drawn description.

    Beneath the pretty language is an atmospheric ghost story, a love story transcending time, and a finely crafted mystery. It is centered on an artist's retreat called Bosco. A landmark of history and beauty catering to an artistic chosen few, invited to stay at the estate each season. Bosco allows them to live and dream in a somewhat structured regimen encouraging unhindered creativity without worrying about the mundane facets of existence. For over a hundred years, Bosco has inspired wonderful works, a testament to its picturesquely crumbling architecture and overgrown gardens complete with statuary, underground complex of fountains, and a veiled garden maze.

    Five people have been invited to Bosco this season. Of the five, the story is largely seen through the gaze of Ellie Brooks who plans to write a book on the catalyst of events of a certain historical summer in 1893. Her counterpart narrator in the past is a medium called Corinth Blackwell, invited to Bosco to contact the spirits of the three dead children of the owners, the Lathams. Corinth's tragic story intertwines with the sadness and deaths that occur at Bosco in the twilight of the nineteenth century. Along with Ellie in the present, is Bethesda Graham a biographer, David Fox a landscape architect, Zalman Bronsky a poet, and Nat Loomis a novelist.

    It seems that all the beauty created, inspired by Bosco, is penance for the secrets that lie underneath. When the current assemblage of five distinct personalities congregating at Bosco begins to research the history and delve into its secrets, a supernatural doorway opens, enveloping their lives as the past converges on the present. Ghost orchids appear in the gardens, their elusive blooms signifying the change in the air, as the spirits awaken and insist that their stories be told. The past events reenact, charging the air with otherworldly danger. This leads to a volatile sequence of events, and ends finally, on a satisfying note.

    Read Ghost Orchid, and allow it to take you on a beautifully written, haunting journey.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Entertaining

    Even though I guessed the ending half way through, it was still worth reading through to the end. A few twists that I didn't see coming. A great way to spend a rainy afternoon, I read it in one sitting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2008

    I love this book

    Thia book is a real page-turner. The two stories follow each other perfectly. Every time I read it I discover something new.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2007

    History, romance and mystery all rolled into one!!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this combination mystery, historical fiction and romance novel all rolled into one. I loved the vivid descriptions of the crumbling Bosco estate with it¿s own beauty of overgrown gardens and crumbling statues. The ill-fated séance was an interesting twist. I did however have a bit of trouble at times with the rambling plot. I always enjoy novels set in the late 1800¿s to early 1900¿s and this was a good one. I would recommend this book to my friends and am going to read The Lake of Dead Languages, which has been on my list for some time now. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 for great writing and interesting plot

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2006

    Carol Goodman's Writing Style 'grabs' my mind, heart and soul . . .

    My saga with Carol Goodman began with THE GHOST ORCHID, and I followed it with every other book she has written. I cannot put her books down and long for the next one. I am so excited about discovering her books. All I can say is can we please have more?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2006

    Carol Goodman Rox my Sox

    There are two separate stories and each of them were so interesting that I wanted to keep on reading them. But then they alternated every chapter so I was like URGG 'cause I wanted to read what happened next for one of the stories. I'd try to read that chapter quickly so I could continue to what I wanted to read, but then THAT chapter was interesting. So that cycle continues until I finished the book. Overall I thought it was the best book I read this year, but in the beginning where the scenery is being explained (even though it's really pretty sounding, don't get me wrong) it sounded a lot like the other settings that Goodman used. So if you like those settings then, it's a good thing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2006

    her best yet

    this was by far carol goodmans best. i own and have read her other three, but this one kept me up until 2 am two nights in a row so i could finish. i absolutely loved it! i would recommend this book to anyone in need of a thrilling novel, because this will do the trick!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A fun gothic like mystery

    Ellis Brooks has been invited to stay at the Upstate New York Bosco Estate to research her first novel, a fictional account of what happened at the Victorian mansion in 1893. Aurora Latham, wife of wealthy timber merchant Milo, hired medium Corinth Blackwell to contact the spirits of her three dead children, who all died from a diphtheria epidemic. Instead, someone, probably the psychic abducts the Latham¿s only living child Alice.---------------- Ellis meets the other guests who are mostly writers of sorts with at least two working on somewhat similar projects involving the Bosco Mansion. As Ellis conducts on-site research her psychic roots as the daughter of a mystic begins to unravel what really happened in 1893 one paranormal escapade at a time.------------------------ Though perhaps there are too many mystical twists, fans will enjoy this fun gothic like mystery. The rotation between past and present is done smoothly with Ellis as the prime source between alternating eras. The cast in 1893 and today are fully developed to include a potentially haunted mansion and sinister gardens. Readers will take immense delight wondering until the climax as Ellis guides the audience through the estate whether this is a ghost story or not that is what makes Carol Goodman¿s thriller worth reading.-------------- Harriet Klausner

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    Posted November 23, 2010

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