The Lost Sister [NOOK Book]

Overview

Sisters are born, not chosen. . .

Maddie Crane is grappling with the disappearance of Cordelia LeClaire, and trying to escape the grasp of The Sisters of Misery--an insidious clique of the school's most powerful girls, whose pranks have set off a chain of horrific events, and who have Maddie in their ...
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The Lost Sister

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Overview

Sisters are born, not chosen. . .

Maddie Crane is grappling with the disappearance of Cordelia LeClaire, and trying to escape the grasp of The Sisters of Misery--an insidious clique of the school's most powerful girls, whose pranks have set off a chain of horrific events, and who have Maddie in their sights. . .

Beware the sister betrayed. . .

Now in a prestigious boarding school far away from her mysterious hometown of Hawthorne, Massachusetts, Maddie feels free from danger. But when an unmarked envelope arrives at her dorm containing a single ominous tarot card, Maddie realizes with terror that some secrets won't stay buried. Knowing she must return to Hawthorne--a town still scarred by the evil of the Salem witch trials--Maddie prepares to face the fears of her past. . .and the wrath of the sister she wronged.

Praise for Megan Kelley Hall and Sisters of Mercy

"An exciting, dangerous, and mysterious world! Megan Kelley Hall has crafted a story that'll keep you guessing until the last page." --Richelle Mead, author of the Vampire Academy series

"One of the very best things in life is discovering an author you want to read more of. Sisters of Misery makes me want to read a whole lot more of Megan Kelley Hall." --Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank and Impulse

"Hall will leave readers eager to know what happens next." --Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758244529
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • File size: 666 KB

Read an Excerpt

The Lost Sister


By Megan Kelley Hall

KENSINGTON BOOKS

Copyright © 2009 Megan Kelley Hall
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-2680-8


Chapter One

JUDGMENT

The card signals great transformation, renewal, change, rebirth, resurrection, making a final decision. You cannot hide any longer, face what you have to face, make that decision. Change. Time to summon the past, forgive it, and let it go, begin to heal.

Dear Diary,

If it weren't for the little baby boy with the Coke-bottle glasses, I would have killed my father by now. The poison would be seeping into his veins effortlessly with every sip of the herbal tea concoction that I made especially for him. But the moment I saw that little boy, my stepbrother ... half brother ... whatever-I couldn't do it. It's not because I want Malcolm Crane to live, not after what he's done to me and the lives of all the women in my family, but because he has another life dependent on him: the life of an innocent little boy. And so, for that reason, I'll let him live.

For now.

No one knows me here. Even those I've left behind in Hawthorne couldn't recognize me now. Besides, no one would ever think to look for me up in the boondocks of Maine. My hair, once a brilliant shade of red, my most striking feature, has been dulled to a mousy brown,courtesy of a sable-brown henna.

I often wonder if anyone has even noticed that I'm gone, not that I really care. Everyone I trusted, everyone I loved has lied to me or let me down. I've always felt like I was on my own. Now I know that to be true.

All I know is that I have to get back home to California where I belong, and find some way to make it back there by myself. But first things first. Someone needs to be taught a lesson. And I'm not leaving until everything-and everyone-has been taken care of.

"One cup of passion fruit-lime green tea," Cordelia said softly to the man behind the newspaper. She poured the tea carefully, watching the leaves swirl in the bottom of the cup. Rebecca had taught her to read the messages in the leaves, not only once the cup was finished, but also as they swirled into the delicate teacup. She tried not to read the warning in the leaves. Once you knew where to look for certain signs, it was hard not to see them in everything. And she could read this message as clear as day: Kill him.

She looked at the little boy sitting across from his father. He peered up at her face, which was half hidden behind her long sheath of brown hair. She winked at him, causing him to erupt into giggles. He couldn't be more than three or four. Cordelia wondered where his mother was, who his mother was. What would become of this little boy if she went ahead with her plan: to pay Malcolm Crane back for all of his wrongdoings? For deserting Maddie and Abigail, for impregnating her mother and never taking responsibility for any of his children back in Hawthorne, Massachusetts, and then simply running off to Maine to start all over again. Cordelia wondered if he would desert this little boy as well. Maybe she would be doing him a favor by stopping Malcolm Crane-the father she'd only known of for a very short time-from hurting anyone ever again.

"And for the little man?" she asked quietly. She waited for a glance from the man she now knew to be her father. The man that up until only a few minutes ago she had planned on killing in cold blood.

After leaving Hawthorne, she quickly made her way up to Maine where she knew that Malcolm had been living for more than a decade. Once she found him-which wasn't the hardest thing to do, since he was known for being not only the town drunk, but also one of the professors in the tiny community college-she shadowed his every move. She knew about all of the girls that he was sleeping with-students, assistant professors, barmaids. This was something that she was able to figure out very quickly. She crept into the back of his lectures, studying the man that was her biological father.

She noticed some similarities in their appearance. Although everyone always said that she was an exact replica of her mother-the fair, porcelain skin, the copper hair, the delicate features-she detected some traits that she inherited from her father. The husky, butterscotch voice, the intense, lavender-blue eyes, the lean, athletic build. These were all things that she-as well as many of the dreamy-eyed girls in his classroom-noticed right away. The only two places that he frequented besides his lecture halls and his home were the town pub and the coffee and tea shop across from the college.

She had watched Malcolm Crane in between his classes. She'd managed to get a job at the Maine Tea and Coffee Bean-the only place he frequented during the week-and served him almost daily, but he never showed any sign of recognition. He was flirtatious and friendly, but it was all on the surface. She truly believed that if there was anything good in him, he would recognize his own daughter. But then, sadly, he probably wouldn't even recognize Maddie and he had watched his little girl grow up and knew her to be his own. But even that didn't give him reason enough to stick around in Hawthorne, to stay with his wife and young daughter.

Everything that Cordelia had done up until this point had been meticulously planned. She had taken the rat poison from the storage room-there were so many boxes, she was sure that no one would miss it. By the time anyone realized that Malcolm Crane had been murdered, she would be long gone. They didn't even know her real name. Over the past few months, she'd made sure not to leave a mark. She lived like a ghost among mortals. She felt like she had died that night out on Misery Island and could only be brought back to life once she'd exacted her revenge. And the first one on her list was Malcolm Crane. But then this little boy had to come along and change everything.

"Danny, you heard the lady, did you want something to drink?" The little boy looked up and smiled at her and the toothy grin broke her heart.

"Milk, please," he lisped.

"Sure, right ... milk," she stammered, backing away from the counter, feeling the rat poison burning in her apron pocket. She couldn't do it. Not with this little boy. No matter how much she blamed Malcolm Crane for everything that had gone wrong in her life up until this point-the lies from Rebecca, the return to Hawthorne, even the death of the man she believed to be her real father up until a few months ago, even though deep down she knew he had nothing to do with Simon LeClaire's death-she couldn't make this little boy, Daniel Crane, go through the pain of losing a parent. It was still too real and raw for her-too hard for someone her own age to deal with, let alone a little boy.

She backed up into another table and practically knocked over another waitress. "Hey, watch it, CeeCee." Cordelia steadied herself and turned to apologize to her coworker. She'd gone by CeeCee, a nickname given to her by the man she grew up thinking to be her father-the man that up until his untimely death from cancer was her true father. The man who cared for her as if she were his own flesh and blood, and who, a few horrible months ago, she discovered was not her real father. Her biological father was this man sitting in front of her. This waste of a human being. This horrible, selfish narcissist. He finally looked up at her. After months of her serving him his morning coffee and his afternoon tea, he actually made eye contact with her.

"Are you all right, darlin'?" A look of concern crossed Malcolm Crane's face, the lines around his eyebrows deepened. Despite his weather-beaten face, she could see why some girls in his classes hung on his every word and the waitresses at Maine Tea and Coffee Bean cooed about him looking like Robert Redford. Yet instead of the lusty feelings that his gaze seemed to evoke with everyone around her, she only felt nausea.

"I'm fine," she clipped. "I'll be back with the milk for your son."

He winked, rolled his newspaper up, and lightly bonked the little boy's head. "Say thank you to the pretty lady, Daniel."

"Thanks, pretty lady," the little boy whispered, and then giggled.

Cordelia knew in her heart that she couldn't go through with it. She couldn't take away this little boy's father. But that didn't mean she couldn't stick around long enough to make Malcolm Crane wish he was dead.

From behind the Formica counter, she saw a look of concern wash over Malcolm Crane's face. He scrunched up his forehead and peered more closely at the newspaper. Then he sat back and stared straight ahead for a few moments, looking as though he were very far away, while little Daniel busily colored the paper place mat with the café's crayons. Cordelia walked hesitantly back to the table, curious of what had caused this sudden shift in his mood. She placed the plastic cup in front of the young boy and tried to see what paper Malcolm had been reading.

It was the Hawthorne Gazette. Odd that he was still receiving news from home all the way up here in the boondocks. She prayed that it wasn't another article about her disappearance. By now she had managed to avoid the second glances and the quick looks of recognition, people trying to place her face, knowing that she looked familiar, but not quite sure from where. When she first left Hawthorne, she had chopped what was left of her hair and dyed it brown so that she could slip away easily. Redheads often commanded more attention than brunettes. But she couldn't change her features. People often called her beautiful, ethereal, even exquisite. She wondered how they'd describe her after she'd become a murderer.

Cordelia watched as Malcolm gathered up his son and left the coffee shop in a hurry. She rushed over to the empty table and grabbed the newspaper that was left behind in haste. Her eyes flicked down the page and a jolt of shock went through her body. There was an article about an ongoing fight between the Endicott family and the historical society of Hawthorne. Other neighboring towns of Salem, Marblehead, Beverly, and Swampscott were weighing in on the historical importance of the building. But that wasn't what caught Cordelia's attention. The article was written about all of the tragedies that occurred at Ravenswood Asylum throughout the years, especially the most recent one that took place only months ago.

Cordelia's fingers trembled as she read the story entitled "Bloody Night at Ravenswood Remembered." She skimmed the story, picking out the most disturbing phrases.

Rebecca LeClaire, one of the last inmates before the closing of the asylum, apprehended after apparent suicide attempt ... Witnesses at the site were sister, Abigail Crane, niece, Maddie Crane, and local teen Finnegan O'Malley. Tess Martin, 82, passed away in her sleep that same night, unaware of the tragedy that had overtaken her family.

Cordelia inhaled deeply as she continued reading about what had happened in the wake of her disappearance. Since that night, there had been an ongoing fight over the property-how the Endicotts wanted to turn it into a luxury resort, capitalizing on the fright factor of its proximity to Salem, Massachusetts, and the witch trials, as well as all of the tragic legends that surround the place. The historical society had tied up any future projects with enough red tape until they could declare it a historic property.

Cordelia was hit by a wave of vertigo. The world spun around her, almost knocking her from her feet.

I have to go back, she thought. Something she thought she would never do.

"Easy there, CeeCee. Take a load off. You look like you're going to be sick." Her manager, Chris Markson, had come up behind her and noticed the color drained from her face. "Sit down, I'll get you some water."

Cordelia was used to getting this attention from the guys in her life. She knew that the girls were probably in the back gossiping about how she was being a drama queen and how unfair it was that she got a break in the middle of her shift. But Cordelia didn't care. All she could think about was what her family had gone through-all of the pain that she had brought upon them by running away-and all that she had missed while she was gone. How long had it been? How many months had she made them suffer in her absence? Could it really be almost a year? A year of hiding her past, her true identity, her intentions. Keeping everyone at an arm's length, not letting anyone in and trying desperately not to think of all the people she'd left behind.

In her attempt at starting a new life and seeking vengeance on the one person who, in her mind, was responsible for destroying all of their lives, she had done even more damage by leaving than she could ever have thought possible.

In her attempt to cut herself off from everyone and everything in Hawthorne and create this new life, she never realized all of the destruction she caused in her wake. Why would she do that to herself and her family?

"Water?" the voice called out. And then again, "Water?"

Cordelia looked up and saw her coworker holding a glass of water in front of her.

"Yes, water," Cordelia said in a daze, remembering the ritual hazing events that took place on Misery Island-Fire, Water, Air, and Earth-the degrading and painful events that forced her to leave it all behind. The pain and humiliation she endured. The betrayal. The lies.

"Thank you, Chris," she said, taking the glass from his hand, ignoring his perplexed expression.

As she gulped down the water, she allowed herself to think about what had happened that night. Since she'd moved to Maine, she had managed to put those memories aside, choosing not to think of that night, but instead to channel her anger and energy toward the man she believed was at the root of all of her suffering: Malcolm Crane.

"Uh ... CeeCee?" Chris hesitated. "You need to lie down or something? Do you need a break?" She could hear her female coworkers snickering behind the coffee bar. Cordelia was uncomfortable with this kind of attention. She had managed to fly under the radar for so long, she wasn't about to let anyone get too close to her. Not even a handsome and sweet college student like Chris Markson. When she looked at him and his perfectly sculpted features, all it did was make her miss Finn and his crooked smile even more. She couldn't imagine facing Finn again. For all he knew she had taken off carrying his child. He must hate her for not letting him know if he was a father or not. The truth was that even though she might have been pregnant, she couldn't even be sure that the baby was his. It could just as easily have been Trevor's. A bastard child from a bastard rapist.

"Yeah, I just need some fresh air," she managed. Standing up, she tucked the newspaper under her arm and rushed past him and out into the crisp autumn air. She walked across the street to a bench and sat for a few minutes staring at the paper folded on her lap.

What's happening? Everything was falling into place and then that little boy came out of nowhere, and then this newspaper shows up with the article about Tess and my mother's attempt to kill herself. What have I done? she thought miserably. She knew what Tess and her mother would say, that she should pay attention to these signs, that they were pointing her in a new direction. Maybe killing her father wasn't the answer. Maybe she had unfinished business to deal with in Hawthorne instead. True, she had been betrayed and lied to and hurt and deceived, but her family needed her. Finn and Reed needed her. Rebecca needed her. And Maddie ... she didn't know what she felt about Maddie.

My sister, my cousin? she thought. It didn't matter what relationship they had-Maddie had had the chance to save her when she needed her most, and she didn't. She was too weak and scared. But Cordelia really couldn't blame her. Hawthorne and those girls were all she ever knew. She aimlessly thumbed through the pages until she noticed something fall out of the paper onto her lap.

She looked at the glossy tarot card that had fallen out of the paper. It looked brand-new, right out of the pack. Suddenly she felt like someone had known all along where she was and what she was planning. Someone was trying to scare her by letting her know that there was unfinished business. Someone was out to get her.

A man on a horse marched triumphantly over fallen bodies. He was holding a large black flag. But instead of a face, there was only a skull. And the eyes of the horse were bloodred.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Lost Sister by Megan Kelley Hall Copyright © 2009 by Megan Kelley Hall. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Superbly Suspenseful Novel

    This follow-up to Megan Kelley Hall's Sisters of Misery did not disappoint. The Lost Sister picks up more than a year after Cordelia LeClaire's disappearance. Cordelia has run away to Maine to confront the biological father she never knew. Meanwhile, Maddie Crane is attending boarding school, a welcome escape from the town of Hawthorne. When the key players in the story start recieving ominous death tarot cards in the mail, all the clues lead back to Hawthorne, the last place Maddie and Cordelia ever wanted to return.

    This novel had the kind of shivery suspense that keeps the reader up late, desperate to find out what happens! The plotting is perfect and the tension is there lurking in the pages. Maddie is still the determined heroine readers came to love in the first book. As she tries to solve the mystery surrounding the tarot cards and Cordelia's disappearance, the list of suspects grows and the supernatural is awakened. All the suspense builds up to create an explosive climax. In short, Megan Kelley Hall has done it again by creating a truly well-written book that leaves her readers begging for more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2009

    Chilling conclusion

    At the conclusion of Sisters of Misery we learn that Cordelia is still alive, and she plans to come back to find Maddie. In this sequel, The Lost Sister, we find out what led to Cordelia's disappearance, and where she's been hiding for the past year.

    All the major players in this drama have received a tarot card, which seems to convey an eerie warning. Death is in the air, and the evil won't stop until certain people are finally removed from Hawthorne, once and for all. Is this story taking place in our modern century, or have they returned to the witch trials of Massachusetts? Magic and mystery surrounds them, blending both eras until almost indistinguishable from each other.

    But why is all this death necessary? For what end? Maddie will find out when she faces her enemy in the final showdown.

    Once again, author Megan Kelley Hall has created a haunting novel of madness in a small, affluent New England town. In this sequel, she ties together the loose ends left open when Cordelia vanished. Although it's not quite as well written as Sisters of Misery, readers will still enjoy this conclusion to a chilling story.

    Reviewer: Alice Berger, Bergers Book Reviews

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  • Posted August 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Mystical Mystery

    This review starts by stating it was incredibly difficult to write a detailed summary of the over arching story because there are so many good plots, twists and turns that shouldn't be revealed. There are just that many secrets that spoiling even the smallest part would take the fun out of experiencing it; and experience it you should.

    Knowing that to be the case, it can be said that the author did an excellent job of formulating an interesting and thought provoking mystery. Her ability to construct a story that utilized elements of mysticism and witchcraft accompanied with local history made for an intriguing read. It was certainly difficult for this reader to put the book down for fear of not getting to know the answers soon enough.

    Hall has also written dynamic characters that are somewhat larger than life. Showcasing a typical class based system of haves and have-nots the animosity between groups is palpable. As one would expect there is constant positioning, one-upsmanship, back stabbing and general down and dirty cat-fighting. Fighting, that at the heart of it all, spurns resolution to the larger mystery.

    If you are looking for a good whodunit with a dash of the supernatural that includes compelling characters that you'll want to revisit in the future then The Lost Sister is definitely for you.

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  • Posted July 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The second Sisters of Mercy young adult fantasy will appeal to older readers as well

    The Lost Sister
    Megan Kelley Hall
    Kensington, Aug 2009, $9.95
    ISBN: 9780758226808

    It has been one year since the Hawthorne, Massachusetts based SISTERS OF MISERY tried to kill Cordelia LeClaire on nearby Misery Island, but somehow she survived. While she seeks her estranged father Malcolm Crane, whom she blames for the tragedies that have devastated all the females in her family, Maddie feels guilt and remorse for not helping her new friend out of fear of retaliation by the Sisters.

    She is away at school struggling with her weakness especially her failure to help Cordelia. Haunted by neurotic trepidations she returns to Hawthorne when she learns her mother is dying from cancer. When a Sister dies at a party hosted by the Endicott family to announce their plans for a new hotel on the site of the Ravenswood Asylum, the police arrest Finn and Reed, who are still suspects in the cold case of the disappearance Cordelia as murder suspects. Cordelia returns so one charge against Finn and Reed is dropped. Meanwhile The Endicott Hotel construction is stopped due a blaze destroying what has been built. The townsfolk are divided in opinion between a human or an otherworldly arsonist. Maddie and Cordelia team up to investigate who burned down the partially constructed hotel and killed the Sister, but neither trusts the other for good reasons; they better move past their suspicions of one another as something is stalking them.

    The second Sisters of Misery young adult fantasy will appeal to older readers as well due to the character driven tale containing a deep Gothic feel and haunting foreboding atmosphere that hooks fans of all ages. The lead amateur sleuths are terrific as they invesitgate while doubting the sincerity of one another at a time they better get over it or else. With strong ties to the late seventeenth century Salem Witch Trials, THE LOST SISTER is a super thriller as evil comes in all packages.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Amber Gibson for TeensReadToo.com

    THE LOST SISTER is Megan Kelley Hall's equally enthralling follow-up to SISTERS OF MISERY. Hall loses no momentum, picking up the Gothic thriller a year after the terrible events that happened to Cordelia on Misery Island.

    One year removed from her near-death experience courtesy of Hawthorne's Sisters of Misery, Cordelia is in Maine, hunting down Malcolm Crane, her estranged father whom she holds responsible for all of the tragedies that have befallen the women in her family.

    Maddie is away at boarding school, trying to put Hawthorne and the guilt she harbors regarding Cordelia's disappearance in the past. When she receives news that her mother has cancer, she knows that she must return to Hawthorne and care for her sick mother. A warning in the form of a spooky tarot card does nothing to quell Maddie's fears about returning to her hometown and facing her demons.

    Shortly after her return, Maddie's world is once again turned upside down and the events that she has tried so hard to forget come rushing back.

    When one of the Sisters of Misery is killed at a party thrown by the Endicotts' to gain public support for their hotel, Hawthorne begins turning on its own. Finn and Reed, both suspects in Cordelia's disappearance, are once again arrested, this time for suspected murder. Only Cordelia's sudden return to Hawthorne and testimony that neither man had anything to do with her disappearance frees them.

    The Endicotts' plans to erect a new hotel, The Endicott, where the Ravenswood asylum stands, is unexpectedly halted due to a freak fire burning down all of the new buildings. Some suspect the spirits of the witches that were condemned so long ago, while others point to arson.

    The curse upon Hawthorne is very real. A fire. A murder. A kidnapping. If Maddie and Cordelia are to survive this deadly turn of events, they will have to use their mysterious abilities and they will have to trust each other as sisters. Someone, or something, is after them, and Maddie and Cordelia have only each other.

    Hall will have your heart racing and you will not be able to put this book down. With historical allusions to the New England witch trials and a touch of the paranormal, THE LOST SISTER is a thriller in a league of its own.

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