House of Echoes: 8

Barbara Erskine, Author Dutton Books $24.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-525-93867-5
Supernatural chills and romantic sighs are Erskine's (Midnight Is a Lonely Place) stock in trade, but this outing finds her deficient in both categories. She concludes her latest romance-cum-spook story with a book review praising a first novel by protagonist Jocelyn ""Joss"" Grant for ""leaving the reader clinging to the edge of his chair,"" but that's wishful thinking as far as this novel is concerned. Adopted as a baby, Joss tracks down her biological mother and learns she has inherited an ancient house in Essex. Ignoring the villagers' superstitious warnings, she moves into Belheddon Hall with her husband, Luke, and her two-year-old son, Tom. Unfortunately, the ensuing strange phenomena--roses left on pillows, and ghostly giggles--frighten Joss more than the reader. Then bruises appear on Tom's arms. Joss suspects ghosts, but Luke suspects Joss. Determined to discover the house's secrets, Joss researches her blighted family tree only to find that no male heir has ever inherited Belheddon. The problem, it turns out, stretches back to the 15th century, when a powerful witch, who lived in the house, cast a spell on King Edward IV that caused him to fall in love with her daughter, Katherine. Over 500 years later, the spell still binds an armor-clad King Edward, who spends eternity making love to all of Katherine's descendants (including Joss), while the bitter Katherine menaces the men of Belheddon. Just when Joss is on the verge of losing her sanity, a village psychic conveniently breaks the ancient curse with surprising ease, forcing an ending that is as illogical as it is happy. Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club featured alternate. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1996
Release date: 08/01/1996
Analog Audio Cassette - 2 pages - 978-1-56740-179-0
Hardcover - 662 pages - 978-0-7838-1851-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56100-912-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 480 pages - 978-0-451-18195-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56100-329-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56100-704-2
Hardcover - 978-0-670-85651-0
Hardcover - 662 pages - 978-0-7451-5393-3
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