New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm.
He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now.
Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.
Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business.
Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.
It's going to be a long, hot winter.
When 33-year-old ventriloquist Annie Hewitt returns to a Maine island and the isolated cottage where she spent her teenage years, she only expects to recover her health and search for a legacy left by her mother. She doesn't expect to find widower Theo Harp in the manor house on the hill, or Jaycie Mills, the quiet woman who once saved her life, working as his housekeeper and raising a mute four-year-old daughter. Phillips (What I Did For Love) uses hints and references to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca to create a sometimes tense atmosphere, using the structure of the older book to both fulfill and subvert the reader's expectations. Theo fulfills his role as the stereotypical brooding hero, and Annie is much more independent than her counterpart as she learns about her past, helps Jaycie's daughter overcome trauma, and investigates the mysterious occurrences that are trying to drive her off the island. Details of smalltown New England life round out this powerfully successful homage.