Look for Me by Moonlight

Look for Me by Moonlight

4.0 133
by Mary Downing Hahn
     
 

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When sixteen-year-old Cynda goes to stay with her father and his second wife, Susan, at their remote bed-and-breakfast inn in Maine, everything starts off well despite legends about ghosts and a murder at the inn. But Cynda feels like a visitor in Dad's new life, an outsider. Then intense, handsome stranger Vincent Morthanos arrives at the inn and seems to return… See more details below

Overview

When sixteen-year-old Cynda goes to stay with her father and his second wife, Susan, at their remote bed-and-breakfast inn in Maine, everything starts off well despite legends about ghosts and a murder at the inn. But Cynda feels like a visitor in Dad's new life, an outsider. Then intense, handsome stranger Vincent Morthanos arrives at the inn and seems to return Cynda's interest. At first she is blind to the subtle, insistent signs that Vincent is not what he seems-that he is, in fact, a vampire. Can Cynda free herself-and her family-from Vincent's power before it's too late? Full-bodied characterizations and page-turning suspense ensure that this eerie, riveting novel will appeal to middle school fans of mystery and horror.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"A stylish psychological thriller... all the more gripping for its sturdy psychological underpinnings," said PW about this novel of a teenage girl in a remote, haunted inn who falls for a mysterious visitor. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)o
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
This is a sinister gothic story set in the bleak chill of a Maine winter. Cynda, 16, is visiting her dad and his new family at their remote coastal Inn. The landscape is desolate and foreboding which adds to Cynda's feeling of loneliness and isolation. When a handsome, mysterious stranger appears, Cynda's life takes on exciting possibilities. Vincent promises love but there are signs that he is not what he seems to be. She is spellbound and unable to resist his power. Only when her 5-year-old step-brother is threatened is she able to act, but is it too late? A riveting vampire story. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-A vampire story with all the formulaic trappings of Gothic romance. Rebellious and hostile, Cynda refuses to accompany her mother and stepfather to Italy, so she goes to spend a six-month trial visit with her father, young stepmother, and half-brother at an old inn on the winter-desolate Maine coast. She learns the dark history of her new home, which is reported to be haunted by the ghost of a former innkeeper's daughter, who was murdered, drained of blood, and tossed into the ocean in the 1930s. Will, the housekeeper's grandson, fleetingly wins Cynda's attention until a mysterious, tall, dark, and drop-dead handsome stranger appears in a silver Porsche bathed in moonlight during a blizzard. Vincent, sexy and poetic, jokes with her that he is 30 years old, give or take a few centuries. He quickly insinuates himself into the inn's routine, charming everyone, especially Cynda, who feels like an outsider in her father's new family. Only the child Todd fears and distrusts Vincent. When the vampire turns his attention to the boy and sucks his blood, Cynda fights back to save him. The novel's aura of romance and suspense, coupled with images of Bess, the landlord's daughter from ``The Highwayman,'' elevate the prose somewhat and help sustain reader attention and interest. But like Cynda's crush on Vincent, the narrative is predictable. The happy ending is disappointing; could a weakened vampire's thrall so easily overcome her centuries-old despoiler? In most vampire stories, evil demons usually fight to the death, taking a few innocents with them. Though a step up from ``Fear Street'' and other horror novels, this book lacks the gripping, palpable action and poignant emotion of Annette Curtis Klause's The Silver Kiss (Delacorte, 1990) or Margaret Mahy's The Changeover (McElderry, 1984). In Look For Me by Moonlight, it is the easy seduction of a teen who is a victim of her own insecurities that rings most true.-Alice Casey Smith, Monmouth County Library Headquarters, Manalapan, NJ
Ilene Cooper
Sixteen-year-old Cynda has seen her father only sporadically since his divorce and remarriage, but now she's spending the year with him and his new family at the old Maine inn they run. Lonely and unsure of her place in this new world, Cynda is grateful for the friendship of Will, the grandson of the inn's cleaning woman. But her attraction for Will fades when Vincent Morthanos comes to stay at the inn. Sophisticated, yet with an untamed edge, Vincent is particularly attentive to Cynda, sympathizing with the uncertainty she's feeling. Naive Cynda has no idea Vincent's attention comes with dangerous strings. When it comes to writing about the supernatural, Hahn remains one of the best in the business. She writes in a style that is by turns crisply contemporary and lushly romantic. Although readers will realize Vincent is a vampire long before Cynda does, they will eagerly immerse themselves in a story that both terrorizes and tantalizes. Only the ending, rushed and a little too convenient, breaks the spell. But even then an eerie air lingers.
From the Publisher

"Hahn deftly creates the proper atmosphere and setting for this spine chiller." —Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780606115735
Publisher:
San Val, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/01/1997
Edition description:
REPRINT
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

MARY DOWNING HAHN, a former children’s librarian, is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories, including Deep and Dark and Dangerous and The Old Willis Place. An avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her two cats, Oscar and Rufus. Visit her online at www.marydowninghahnbooks.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

SOMETIMES YOU CAN PINPOINT THE EXACT MOMENT life when things begin to go wrong. For me, it was the day my father left my mother. I was six years old, too young to understand what was happening except that it involved a student in one of Dad's literature classes. A girl named Susan. Because of her, he was moving out of our house. I cried and begged him to stay, I swore I'd be good, but nothing I said or did made any difference. Dad packed his bags and his books and kissed me goodbye.

"I love you, Cynda," he said. "No matter where I live, I'll always be your father, and you'll always be my daughter. Nothing will change."

Of course, it wasn't true. A year later, Dad moved to Maine with Susan and I stayed in Mary land with Mom. That meant he was suddenly almost a thousand miles away. It also meant I saw less and less of him.

Not long after Dad married Susan, Mom married Steve, and things changed again. We became a Navy family, hopscotching all over America. California, Florida, Virginia-we never stayed in one place long enough for me to make friends, settle down, and feel comfortable.

When Steve announced we were going to Italy for three years, I fiat-out rebelled. Giving up all pre tense of being a mature sixteen-year-old, I threw a major temper tantrum which resulted in a series of phone calls between my mother and my father. The end result was an invitation to stay with Dad for at least six months, maybe longer if things worked out.

Mom's role in setting up the visit surprised me. She'd never forgiven Dad for falling in love with Susan. Nor did she approve of his career. In addition to writing best-selling mysteries, he ran an old inn on the Mainecoast-occupations my mother denounced as fiscally irresponsible, proof of Dad's immaturity and selfishness.

Later, when I had time to think about it, I came to the conclusion that Mom and Steve had decided Italy would be more fun without me. To be candid, things hadn't been good in our house since I turned thirteen and, as Mom put it, lost my mind over night. Which meant I changed from an obedient child who never gave anyone a second's trouble into an obnoxious teenager who left wet towels on the bathroom floor and dirty dishes in front of the television, played loud music, and argued about everything from politics to curfews. Maybe Mom thought it was Dad's turn to cope with me. Maybe I was her revenge.

Whatever her reasons, Mom put me on a plane to Maine one cold January day. As I left National Airport in Washington behind, I tried to convince myself I was going to a new and better life with Dad, but deep down inside I wasn't so sure. I hadn't seen my father for almost two years, hadn't talked to him about anything important for longer than that. Worse yet, I'd never met his wife or their son, now five years old. I might not like Susan, she might not like me. Todd might be spoiled and bratty.

By the time my plane landed, I'd had more time to think (and worry) than I'd expected. Thanks to winter storms buffeting the coast from Virginia to Nova Scotia, my flight had been delayed, diverted, and unexpectedly stranded in Boston for two hours. I'd eaten lousy food and washed it down with even worse coffee. I'd read a three-hundred page novel whose plot I'd already forgotten. I'd been pushed and jostled and propositioned by strangers. Not to mention bounced from one air pocket to another all the way to Bangor.

Jumpy, jangled, and tense, I was too strung out with anxiety to join the passengers mobbing the aisle. I stayed in my seat, closed my eyes, and tried to relax. In a few minutes, I'd come face to face with a father who might not even recognize me. I was going to stay with him for six months. Twenty four weeks, more or less. A hundred and seventy eight days. What would we do? What would we say? A lot could go wrong in half a year.

The doubts I'd swept under the rug began to crawl out, bigger and uglier than ever. How did Dad feel about me? Did he really want me? Or was he just doing Mom a favor? He had Susan now. And Todd. He didn't need me. Neither did Mom. She had Steve. But who did I have? Not even a boyfriend.

"Are you all right, sweetie?"

I looked up to see a flight attendant staring down at me. Red-faced with embarrassment, I hastily gathered my belongings. While I'd been brooding, everyone else had gotten off the plane. I was the only passenger still on board.

"It was a terrible flight," the attendant said as if bad weather explained everything. Chattering cheerfully about air turbulence, she followed me to the plane's exit, wished me well, and waved goodbye.

I expected to see Dad at the gate, but he wasn't there. No one was. The waiting area was deserted, the check-in desk unstaffed. Discarded newspapers and rows of empty seats gave the place a surreal look. It could have been a set for a movie about the end of the world.

Fighting panic, I reminded myself that Dad lived way up the coast, close to Canada. The snow had probably delayed him. He'd be here soon. I sat down and leafed aimlessly through my book. After a few minutes, my imagination began churning out increasingly scary scenarios. The storm had closed the roads. Dad had given up and gone back home. He couldn't call because the telephone lines were down. Maybe he'd had an accident. Maybe he was in the hospital. Maybe he'd forgotten I was coming.

What was I going to do? It was dark and cold outside. I knew no one in Bangor. I didn't have enough money to buy a return ticket. And even if I did go back to Washington, where would I stay? Our house was rented. Like a little kid, I wanted my mother, but she was on her way to Italy, blithely assuming I was safe with Dad.

An hour passed. I cried for a while, then I got mad. People arrived to meet a flight from Albany. I hated them for not being my father. I hated my father for not being them.

Just as the Albany passengers deplaned, Dad came hurrying toward me. He looked the same as I remembered, ruddy-faced and with a full beard. "Cynda, I'm so sorry," he said, giving me a hug. "The roads were terrible-accidents all the way to Bangor, cars and trucks everywhere. I'm lucky I got through."

I clung to him, crying again in spite of myself. "I was scared something had happened to you," I sobbed. "I thought you'd gone of f the road, I was afraid you'd forgotten . . ."

Dad apologized again, adding, "Don't be silly, honey. Nothing could have stopped me from getting here. Neither rain nor sleet nor whatever, as the post office puts it."

I tried to smile, to make our reunion go the way I'd planned, but all the clever things I'd meant to say dissolved into a silly jumble of platitudes and corny cliches.

"You look great," Dad said, probably to cover up the awkward silence developing between us. "Prettier than ever, just plain lovely."

"I shrugged Dad's compliments away, too embarrassed to thank him, and followed him to Baggage Claim. On the way, I glanced at my reflection in a plate-glass window, hoping to see what he saw. There I was-a tall, thin girl with a pale, narrow face and long, dark hair, tangled from sleeping on the plane. Gawky. All arms and legs and feet. A loping walk Mom had tried unsuccessfully to correct with ballet lessons.

Who was Dad kidding? At sixteen, I was far from pretty, even further from lovely. Just plain was more like it.

After we found my suitcases, we loaded them into an old Volvo station wagon and headed north toward Underhill Inn, dodging in and out of snow storms all the way to the coast. I was too tired to say much, so I let Dad do most of the talking, some thing he obviously enjoyed. He began by telling me how much Susan and Todd were looking forward to meeting me. I hoped it was true. Next he gave a long account of Susan's many talents, which included decorating, bookkeeping, and sewing.

"You'll love her," he said confidently. "And wait till you see Todd. You'll adore him, Cynda. Every body does."

Still talking, Dad accelerated to pass a log truck, and I closed my eyes, certain the chains holding the logs would break and we'd be crushed to death under the load. The Volvo fishtailed on the snowy road, but Dad was too absorbed in telling me about Todd to notice I was frightened. If my father was to be believed, my half brother was a child prodigy, sensitive and imaginative as well as charming.

How nice, I thought, but what about me? Was I special too? Or was I merely the daughter he left behind when he fell in love with Susan?

After we turned off Route 9, Dad asked if I'd like to stop for coffee. "We still have about thirty miles to go, and I could use a break."

"Coffee and something to eat," I said, grabbing the chance to keep Dad to myself a little longer. Maybe we'd relax over coffee and feel comfortable with each other. Maybe he'd ask a question that would open my heart. Maybe he'd at least stop talking about Todd.

"There's the Seaside Diner's sign." Dad pointed at a pink glow in the sky I'd mistaken for the northern lights. "It's the only place open at this hour."

A few minutes later, Dad maneuvered the Volvo into a parking place behind a pickup truck so coated with road salt I couldn't read the license plate. "Welcome to the thriving metropolis of Ferrington," he said. . . .

Copyright ) 1995 by Mary Downing Hahn

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