Sunday, 17 January 2010
Ellis Brooks arrives at the great house of Bosco to write a novel based on the events surrounding a seance, several mysterious deaths, and the disappearance of a little girl in the late nineteenth century. Bosco has been set up as a retreat for writers and artists and its ruined gardens which are famous for its many fountains that no longer work and broken statuary are being surveyed to see if they can be returned to their earlier magnificence.
But as Ellis delves deeper into the those events from the past, it is as if the past is coming alive again and that something or someone needs their story to be told. Was Corinth Blackwell the medium who was brought to Bosco in order to contact Aurora Latham's dead children a fraud? And what was her relationship with the master of the house, Milo Latham and the charismatic Tom Quinn?
As Ellis gets to grips with the horrific events that unfolded over those few days long-ago, the past seems to be affecting all of the artists who were working at Bosco - Nat the one-novel wonder, Bethesda the autobiograpy writer, Zalman the poet and David who is surveying the fountains and gardens to see if they can be restored.
A local legend of an Indian maiden who threw herself from a cliff after being betrayed by her lover seems to haunt the gardens and Aurora Latham's dead children make their prescence felt. As Ellis's own love life becomes more complicated, can she unravel the mysteries of the past in time to save those living there in the present? As the accidents pile up along with the winter snow, Bosco slowly reveals it secrets and the true extent of the tragedies that had once engulfed those residents of 1893.
The Ghost Orchid is written in the style of a Gothic romance/horror and is full of rich imagery and a strong sense of a crueller past, where children frequently died at an early age, pregnant woman were shunned and sometimes took their own lives and rich men could buy whatever they wanted. It is also a story about finding your true self and how you can only run so far before you are forced to turn and look at who you really are.
One to read on a cold winter's night with a big mug of hot, sweet tea and some toasted tea cakes dripping with butter!