“It had started when Hattie was a little girl. She’d had a cloth-bodied doll with a porcelain head called Miss Fentwig. Miss Fentwig told her things — things that Hattie had no way of knowing, things that Hattie didn’t really want to hear. She felt it deep down insider her in the way that she’d felt things all her life. Her gift. Her curse.”
By Jennifer McMahon
Source: Advance review copy
When Helen and Nate have the opportunity of leaving their busy lives in education behind they decide to really make a life change. They put all of their money and some inheritance funds into finding the perfect location for their home. They want to connect with nature and feel inspired by life again.
When they come across a plot of land surrounded by woods in Vermont they decided that’s where they’ll make their new home. While they work on building their house, they live in a small camper and no sooner than they arrive when strange things start happening. It’s obvious that in the small community they are outsiders but it’s more than that, they start to feel unwelcome.
Helen’s love for history drives her to find more information about their new land and the previous owner and as digs deeper she realizes that the home once belonged to Hattie Breckenridge. Rumors and embellished stories abound about Hattie and her daughter but the more Helen finds out the more she wants to know and feel connected to Hattie. So much, that she even starts to see her.
Helen’s isn’t the only point of view in this novel, we also have Olive a young girl who’s mom has run away and she’s left taking care of her father. He seems to be falling into a deep despair and Olive at first isn’t trusting of Helen and Nate but soon she becomes friends with Helen.
I thought the downward spiral of Helen and Nate’s relationship was well-done and it wasn’t just due to the chaos of building a new home of course but also to the eerie events. My favorite part of the story though was when there are flashbacks and the narrative changes to Hattie’s point of view. While this novel wasn’t as good as The Winter People for me, I would still consider it a good ghost story.