After a devastating leg injury ends her promising career as a principle ballerina and some poor choices at her mother’s wedding get her in hot water, Sylvie Davis’ life is in an upheaval. While her mother and her mother’s new husband are away on an extended honeymoon, Sylvie is shipped off to spend part of her summer with her deceased father’s cousin, a woman she’s only met once–at her father’s funeral. Her father’s cousin, Paula, is working on refurbishing Sylvie’s father’s family’s ancestral home in Alabama, and that is where Sylvie is going to stay. Sylvie is hoping for a relaxing time full of reading, healing, and figuring out what she wants to do with her life now that her dream, her career, her passion has been taken away. Instead, Sylvie gets a watchful cousin, warned by Sylvie’s psychologist stepfather that Sylvie is headed for danger, a house and town rich with a family history she never knew about and expectations linked to that history that she’s not sure she wants to live up to, a broody boy and a charming boy both vying for her attention, and visions of a watching colonel, a running woman, and a crying baby. What is going on in this small Alabama community? Is Sylvie going crazy or is what she’s seeing and feel for real? And if it’s real, what does it mean?
Reaction: Overall, another solid story from RCM. There were a lot of really well-done elements. I found Sylvie a very believable character. Her struggle with her identity after her injury and her sanity as she started seeing things felt real. I could understand her anger and her frustration over her situation even as those around her seemed to think she should be able to move on by now. I also enjoyed how little Sylvie reminded me of Maggie Quinn, the protagonist of RCM’s other novels. I think it is a sign of a good writer when her characters are distinctly different. I also greatly enjoyed the setting. It was well-drawn, atmospheric, and really added to the overall effect of the story. Finally, one little thing but something that stood out to me, I appreciated Sylvie’s lackluster relationship with her cousin Paula. I feel so often in other stories, teens find these immediate and amazing relationships with a previously unknown adult when they are thrust in new situations and I really appreciated the fact that Sylvie and Paula didn’t see eye to eye; it just felt more realistic to me. There were a few things I didn’t like: 1. there were some inconsistencies (Sylvie being freaked by the lilac sent in her room one minute then thinking not long after that the scent was the only unexplained event that didn’t creep her out); 2. the length, it could have been shorter; and 3. the lack of time Rhys and Sylvie had to develop their feelings. The complaints are minor in the end and do not keep me from recommending this title to those who like a bit of history and mystery with their ghosty, supernatural stories.
Also by RCM:
Book provided by my local library.