DescriptionA house shrouded in time.
A line of women with a heritage of loss.
As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.
When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.
With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.
I have a love hate relationship with this book. I kept waiting for it to get good. After a while, it finally did. The problem is, it took way too long.
It started off with a wedding reception thrown for Marielle and Carson in the garden at Holly Oak. Carson is not actually blood family, he was married to Adelaide’s late granddaughter. Oddly enough, Marielle agrees to live at Holly Oak, with her new husband, in his first wife’s family home. Right out of the gate, she is warned of ghosts and curses. The more she’s in the house, the more she starts to question things and sets out to see if there is indeed, anything to worry about.
Adelaide was my favorite. She is pushing ninety years old and has lived her entire life at Holly Oak. I love, love, loved her personality. She’s a real straight shooter. She doesn’t hold back. I love the bits of sarcasm she puts out. I can almost see the expression on her face and the look in her eyes. Her great-grandmother, Susannah, is the ghost supposedly haunting Holly Oak. It was rumored that she helped Union soldiers during the war between the states and because she is so unsettled by being a traitor to the Confederacy, she stays at Holly Oak unable to find peace and gives her misery to every woman who lives there. And oh boy, did the women of Holly Oak have it rough! So much loss in that house. The question is, is it a ghost, a curse, the house, or something else entirely that’s at the root of it all?
The answer to that question is in the letters written by Susannah to her cousin during the war. This is where the book got really good for me. I honestly could have done without all the other stuff and read an entire book of just the letters. They really take you back to a time of war and destruction. The horror the women faced while the men were away, the pain, the choices they were forced to make, all of it. When it was over, I found myself looking at pictures of Fredericksburg just to get a visual of the town they lived in. I can just imagine it. Reading the letters, I can see the blood, I can see the destruction, I can see the fear. That’s what I loved about this book.
Did I like the book? Yes
Did I love the book? No
Would I recommend the book? Yes
Overall Rating: Good
Favorite Quote: “Happiness is not something we go back to get. We pursue it. It’s ahead of us, not back in time.” Will