Grace Alban has spent more than twenty years avoiding her childhood home, the stately Alban House on the shores of Lake Superior, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother's unexpected death brings Grace and her teenage daughter back, she finds more is haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.
Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters, and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace's aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years. Her mother intended to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died--could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? Grace soon realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the mansion's secret passages.
With the help of the disarmingly kind--and attractive--Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.
Fans of Webb s well-received debut, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, may feel let down by her similar-in-outline sophomore effort, about a legendary curse that haunts the powerful Alban family s mansion by Lake Superior. When divorced mother Grace Alban returns to the mansion after her mother s death, she finds letters revealing her mother s affair with famous writer David Coleville, who committed suicide during the same 1956 solstice party from which Grace s aunt, Fate Alban, disappeared. While searching for a lost Coleville novel she believes will clarify the past, Grace is imperiled by the mansion s malevolent presences, an obsessed journalist and an emotionally disturbed woman who may be Fate. Hidden passageways, magical spell books, resurrections from the dead, sudden disappearances, secret births: amid a welter of gothic staples, the central ghost story concerning Fate and her mysterious twin, Mercy, gets lost. Grace, her love interest, and the privileged world she revisits are pleasant but generic, as is the rediscovered manuscript described as literary genius.