In this terrifying ghost story based on true events, the President’s late son haunts the White House, threatening all who live in it—and the divided America beyond its walls. From the bestselling author of The Homecoming.
The year is 1853. President-elect Franklin Pierce is traveling with his family to Washington, DC, when tragedy strikes. In an instant, their train runs off the rails, violently flinging passengers about the cabin. When the great iron machine finally comes to rest, the only casualty is the Pierces’ son, Bennie. The loss sends First Lady Jane Pierce into mourning, and casts Franklin’s presidency under a pall of sorrow and grief.
As the Pierces move into the White House, they are soon plagued by events both bizarre and disturbing. Strange sounds seem to come from the walls and ceiling, ghostly voices echo out of time itself, and visions of spirits crushed under the weight of American history pass through empty hallways. But when Jane orchestrates a séance with the infamous Fox Sisters—the most noted Spiritualists of the day—the barrier between this world and the next is torn asunder. Something horrific comes through and takes up residence alongside Franklin and Jane in the very walls of the mansion itself.
Only by overcoming their grief and confronting their darkest secrets can Jane and Franklin hope to rid themselves—and America—of the entity that seeks to make the White House its permanent home.
Pyper (The Homecoming) spins a fascinating horror novel centered on Franklin Pierce, the 14th U.S. President and one of the least effectual, proposing supernatural causes behind the man's failure. Right after Franklin's 1852 election, the death of his 11-year-old son, Bennie, in a train wreck sends Franklin's wife, Jane, into a frenzy of mourning. Since her youth, Jane has been under the influence of "Sir," a malignant, supernatural entity she accidentally summoned. Now she lives in the White House as a bitter recluse and establishes a private "Grief Room" where Bennie's toys and clothing can be kept inviolate and where a shadowy creature that looks like Bennie can gain substance as it feeds on her grief and love. Franklin, meanwhile, knows he should be working to hold the Union together but can't find the gumption to stand firm. Pyper does a good job of haunting the White House but is less successful at incorporating the real historical horrors of slavery and the looming Civil War. History buffs might take issue with some of the minutiae, but this eerie ghost story is sure to please horror fans.