This book tells the story of how two young people on vacation in a small New England seacoast town solve a hundred-year-old mystery - and escape a blood curse. Fourteen Victorian mansions whisper dark secrets among themselves, and a dangerous shadow roams up and down the wide, wintry boulevard in search of new prey. (-synopsis)
Sarah has come off a bad break up and heads to the old house on the shore to get away from it all. Nathan decides he needs a vacation and heads to the family place at the shore. The weather is cold and the beach is mostly deserted but somehow Nathan and Sarah meet. They share a lovely dinner and want to share more.
Unfortunately the houses where they are vacationing have other things in mind. The houses are alive with voices. We hear the voices at the beginning or end of each chapter. The houses all have stories to tell. The stories they tell are those of people who meet with violent endings. Spouses killing each other. Children being murdered. There is black magic, human sacrifices, and piles of bones to be found.
Weird things begin happening to Sarah and Nathan. They begin having dreams about things that happened in the houses decades ago. When they find the events detailed in newspapers they know something is amiss. The longer they stay in the houses the worse it gets. Soon they are being transported into these dream like states to different times and places where they see people they once knew, relatives they never met, and they learn things about the past.
Sarah and Nathan begin wondering what is happening to them and what they can do to make it stop. Will they make it out of the Cape alive? Or will they too become victims of the dark shadow?
The book begins in present day with Sarah and Nathan meeting. I really enjoyed how they met, enjoyed each others company, and became intrigued with each other. The book then jumps from the 1880's to the 1920's to the 1960's and back again. We learn who lived in the houses, who built the houses, and what took place in the houses over the last 150 years. Some of things we learn are from the houses themselves while others are glimpses into the past. Sloan ties together the history of the houses and the families who lived in them.
The different time periods and the different characters made me want to keep reading to find out who I would learn about next and what would happen. We learn about Nathan's relatives and we learn about Sarah's relatives, in particular her great aunt who was a witch.
The tension continues to rise until the end of the book where the people from the different time periods finally come together in one big conclusion. While the ending wasn't my favorite part of the book I did think it was fitting to the rest of the tale.
The book is wonderfully detailed and written in a way that I could imagine the beauty of the houses and the devastation in the deaths. It was interesting going back in time to learn how things happened and why Sarah and Nathan are where they were. In the end, I loved the relationship between Nathan and Sarah as well as the relationship between the houses.
This is a great book for anyone who enjoys mysteries and paranormal books.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.