After arsonist Tag Noland torches her collie kennel, Susanna Kentwood’s life begins to unravel. Her partner, Amy, betrays their friendship and accuses her of starting the fire, which throws a cloud over her reputation among her dog show friends. Her boyfriend stops calling her. The arsonist, Tag Nolan, vows to get even with Susanna whose identification helped send him to prison.
Longing to start over again in a new place, Susanna accepts an offer from a distant relative to watch over an old three-story country manor in Maple Creek, Michigan, known as Snowhedge until it sells. Once she moves to Snowhedge, however, Susanna slowly becomes aware that something is wrong in the house. Her suspicions are confirmed when the parlor, unnaturally cold and empty, transforms itself into a room decorated for a Christmas celebration, complete with a ghostly spirit woman dressed in festive red.
Susanna learns that Snowhedge was the scene of a decades-old tragedy and that its previous owner, Lila Rose, who died in the house and might be a suicide, left a record of her supernatural experiences within its walls.
By this time, Susanna has seen two more spirits. One is a woman in red and Susanna digs into the house’s history to find out who she might be until, eventually, Susanna’s curiosity wins out over her fear.
Soon she eagerly waits for the room to transform itself, giving her a chance to learn the details of the long-ago tragedy. Unfortunately her absorption in another woman’s past leaves her vulnerable to the sinister machinations of Tag Nolan who is closer than she imagines.
I picked this book to read because one of my favorite authors wrote it. I discovered Dorothy Bodoin’s writing shortly after she died. We shared a publisher, but I’d never read her work. Most of her books are in the Foxglove Corners mystery series, but this one isn’t, I enjoyed the book anyway.
The atmosphere created by the author was eerie. I don’t enjoy scary books, but this one wasn’t terribly scary. As I said it was just eerie. When the heroine Susanna was inside Stonehedge I felt uneasy as if something was going to jump out at any minute. The house was three stories, and Susanna and her dog were the only living beings in the house. It was okay when they were in the kitchen, and even the second floor, but the third floor was scary. Susanna was drawn into the mystery of Stonehedge, and she forced herself to go into the attic. After she opened up the attic she saw the ghost who couldn’t see her. Along the way Susanna’s friend was murdered, and she fell in love with a handsome local man.
The book ended with a raging inferno, and you’ll never guess who saved Susanna and her dog.The handsome guy she’d fallen for, maybe? Or could it be an arsonist who regretted his actions? I did find the ending very satisfactory as Susanna finally left her past behind her and felt free to start a new life.