Posted in Review

The Ghost Orchid – Carol Goodman

ghost

‘For more than one hundred years, creative souls have traveled to Upstate New York to work under the captivating spell of the Bosco estate. Cradled in silence, inspired by the rough beauty of overgrown gardens and crumbling statuary, these chosen few fashion masterworks–and have cemented Bosco’s reputation as a premier artists’ colony. This season, five talented artists-in-residence find themselves drawn to the history of Bosco, from the extensive network of fountains that were once its centerpiece but have long since run dry to the story of its enigmatic founder, Aurora Latham, and the series of tragic events that occurred more than a century ago.

Ellis Brooks, a first-time novelist, has come to Bosco to write a book based on Aurora and the infamous summer of 1893, when wealthy, powerful Milo Latham brought the notorious medium Corinth Blackwell to the estate to help his wife contact three of the couple’s children, lost the winter before in a diphtheria epidemic. But when a séance turned deadly, Corinth and her alleged accomplice, Tom Quinn, disappeared, taking with them the Lathams’ only surviving child.

The more time she spends at Bosco, the more Ellis becomes convinced that there is an even darker, more sinister end to the story. And she’s not alone: biographer Bethesda Graham uncovers stunning revelations about Milo and Corinth; landscape architect David Fox discovers a series of hidden tunnels underneath the gardens; poet Zalman Bronsky hears the long-dry fountain’s waters beckoning him; and novelist Nat Loomis feels something lingering just out of reach.

After a bizarre series of accidents befalls them, the group cannot deny the connections between the long ago and now, the living and the dead . . . as Ellis realizes that the tangled truth may ensnare them all in its cool embrace.’

When I first began to read this book, I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy it. It wasn’t grabbing my attention, the writing seemed a bit too flowery (far too many adjectives!) and the setting just seemed a bit unrealistic.

However, this is one of those times that I am so glad I have a no DNF policy – it was only when I was about halfway through the book that I realised I had completely changed my mind, and I loved it. It completely sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down.

The story takes place in the same house, but generations apart. The current inhabitants, who are all artists – writers, poets etc are all there to work on their various jobs – all to do with Bosco and it’s previous inhabitants. Ellis Brooks is the main characters of this time – she is an author, working on a book about Corinth Blackwell, a medium who was called to the house in an effort to connect with the owner’s dead children.

The more she writes about Corinth, and the more she finds out, the stranger things start to become. The house seems to be inhabited by more than just the artists, with visions of children in white, and ethereal voices all becoming regular occurrences.

The other main character is Corinth herself, who is haunted by both her past, and by the children, both dead and alive, of her host Aurora Latham. Brought to the house by Milo Latham, she is supposed to pretend to connect with the children and tell them to pass on, in an attempt to give his wife some peace.

Things only get creepier and more eerie as both timelines go on, which makes the book really tense as you continue to read it. The imagery that the author uses, of the white statues placed around the gardens in the house, the fountains, the hidden paths and the maze, combined with the visions of the little girl dressed all in white, really adds to the spooky atmosphere and the general feeling of suspense.

The main characters were well written, and we were given a good explanation of their different backgrounds which caused them to act how they did. The two women, Ellis and Corinth, are likable, and very interesting main characters to read.

The dual narratives work well together, the different timelines tied together nicely, each one adding information to the other in a way that made me want to keep reading. The author cleverly connects the two main characters in a way that I thought I saw coming, but I actually didn’t. I won’t call it a twist, but the way she did it was very interesting and I definitely said ‘ohhh’ a few times!

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys an eerie read, that makes you feel a little bit uneasy, and makes you want to sleep with the light on!

 

9 thoughts on “The Ghost Orchid – Carol Goodman

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