Warning: This description contains plot spoilers.
Young and attractive, Emily Wilcox falls from a bolting horse. She is taken to hospital in a deep coma.. In Emily's comatose world, she has a strange awareness, an ability to explore. She finds herself in a bizarre small universe where nothing makes sense to her. Eventually she discovers a door and finds the strength to push through. It is a door that takes her into her beloved cottage. The cottage has been rented by an aspiring young writer Alexander Havers who encounters Emily as... maybe a figment of his imagination... maybe a ghost. Despite the strangeness, the two become close and work on Alexander's novel together. Alexander feels that Emily is probably the sign of his decaying mental state but chooses to accept the apparition as a real person and soon falls under her spell. Emily equally falls under Alexander's spell and a strong bond develops between man and ghost.
Tony, Emily's half brother, is in trouble with a criminal gang. Tony is a troubled cocaine user and gets into serious debt with Jimmy Costard, a dangerous man. Tony starts to fear for his life. Jimmy wants to make use of Tony's natural ability behind the wheel of a car as a getaway driver but Tony finds the idea troubling. He sees the sale of Emily's cottage, which he will inherit should his sister die, as offering enough money to allow him to escape from Jimmy. But Emily, although still in her coma and now dependant on life support, will stubbornly not die.
He enlists the aid of one of Jimmy's associates, John Mason an ice cold assassin, to end his sister's life. Emily is now able to hear the voices in her hospital room and she overhears the plot to take her life. In her ghostly form she returns to the cottage and convinces Alexander that she is real, not a figment of his mind and that she desperately needs his help. Alexander and Suzanne, Emily's mother, rush to the hospital and the attempt on the comatose girl's life is averted. Seeing her for the first time as a real woman, Alexander kisses Emily in her hospital bed and she finally wakes from her coma. Now awake and recovering rapidly, Emily does not remember any of her time in her strange coma world nor does she recognise Alexander who has by now become besotted by her.
When Emily finally returns home to her cottage, Alexander has gone, leaving no forwarding address. He is even more in love with Emily than ever but feels rejected by her lack of recognition and feels that he has to forget her.
Finally Suzanne tells her daughter about Alexander's encounter with her strange ghostly apparition but Emily can remember nothing of the events even though she feels that something very special is missing from her life.
Tony has run away to keep his head down and Jimmy's big job has to go ahead without Tony. They take a less skilled driver who crashes the car in an attempt to escape a chasing police patrol. All the occupants of the getaway car are killed except for John Mason who is left with an attaché case of gold... and one last assassination to complete...
The novel that Alexander and Emily had worked on is finally published but by now Alexander has a rewarding job offer based in New York and puts his plans of becoming a full time author on hold.
Suddenly while watching the hypnotic flames of her fire, Emily finally remembers the strange life she lived, trapped between a bed ridden comatose patient and a ghostly presence in her cottage. She remembers Alexander, knows that she still loves him and wants him back in her life. Despite her best efforts she can find no trace of the man who saved her life... Not until she passes a book shop and sees the book they wrote together on display.
Alexander is at the airport, on his way to New York and a new life, when he finally receives a message relayed from Emily. He is forced to make a decision: to go New York and become rich or return to the humble cottage and Emily...
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About the Author
Graham was born in England but has lived most of his adult life in New Zealand. When not writing he may be found pottering in his cottage or jogging along the beach or the coastal walkways of the quiet sea-side settlement of Maraetai.