Sunday, 14 March 2010

The House at Midnight - Lucie Whitehouse

Lucas Heathfield is Jo's best friend, but he has a tangled past and a complicated family history.  All through their days at Oxford, and then when they start working in London, Jo is attracted to Lucas but does not know whether he wants anything more from her than friendship.

Everything changes for Lucas, Jo and their small group of close friends when Lucas inherits the imposing country house, Stoneborough, from his Uncle Patrick.  The charismatic Patrick had very unexpectedly committed suicide, and coming so close after his mother's death, Lucas is devastated.

Lucas wants to share the house and his new wealth with his friends, and they start to visit the house every weekend.  Jo is delighted when Lucas deepens their relationship and they become a couple.  But very soon Jo starts to wonder whether their new relationship can last, especially when Lucas announces that he is giving up his law career in London and moving to Stoneborough permanently to write.  Moreover, their mercurial and manipulative friend Danny is also moving with him, after being fired from his prestigious job.

Jo finds the big house hostile and is aware of currents of dark energy and emotions from long ago swirling through the dark of the night. When Lucas finds a box full of old cine films taken when his uncle, parents and their friends visited Stoneborough, he becomes obsessed with watching them.  Events take a dramatic turn when Jo's unhappiness leads her to give into a new passion and betray Lucas and one of her best friends.

But Lucas cannot let Jo go, and she finds herself repeatedly pulled back to Stoneborough, where Lucas is becoming more unstable and unhappy.  Resolving to break away from the situation forever, Jo wonders what Danny's real agenda is and what lengths he will go to to get his own way.  As Lucas uncovers more secrets from his family's past, the situation at Stoneborough builds to a tense climax.  But will the dark forces that seem to control the house, lead to tragedy once again and claim more victims?

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