The Alchemist) for a satisfying, old-fashioned ghost story"/>

THE AWAKENING

Donna Boyd, Author . Ballantine $12.95 (202p) ISBN 978-0-345-46235-0

Turning out novels on a near annual basis, this rising star of fantasy suspense abandons ancient Egypt (The Alchemist) for a satisfying, old-fashioned ghost story with a touch of violence and mayhem. Mary is an amnesiac who wakes up in a sanitarium with no sense of her past other than the dim memory of an incident that took the lives of her physician husband and daughter. Her psychotherapist at the sanitarium convinces her that her family isn't literally dead, and she moves into what she thinks is her lakeside house near Chapel Hill, N.C., hoping that its occupants—a frustrated writer and his rebellious teenage daughter, both spending the summer there—are her family. It gradually becomes clear that Mary is a ghost. The daughter, Elsie, sees her but can't speak to her. The father, Paul, encounters the ghost and actually converses with her. When his wife, Penny, a prominent surgeon, joins her family at the summer house, she has terrifying dreams of blood splattered about the kitchen. As Mary struggles to communicate with the house's isolated, unhappy occupants, they themselves fail to communicate with one another—Paul is miserable over his flagging career; Penny, preoccupied with her work, barely has time for the family; and Elsie is bitterly estranged from both of them. The author slowly reveals the ties between Mary's family and the one she has adopted, and Paul, Penny and Elsie begin to draw together as they research their mysterious visitor. This is a well-told tale with a shocking final revelation. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
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