Release Date: October 15, 2015
About the Book: The fall of 1957 in southern Virginia was a seemingly idyllic, even prosperous time. A young housewife, Charlotte Bliss, lives with her husband, Hasbrouck Preston “Press” Bliss, and their two young children, Eva Grace and Michael, in the gorgeous Bliss family home. On the surface, theirs seems a calm, picturesque life, but soon tragedy befalls them: four tragic deaths, with apparently simple explanations.
But nothing is simple if Bliss House is involved. How far will Charlotte go to discover the truth? And how far will she get without knowing who her real enemy is? Though Bliss House may promise to give its inhabitants what they want, it never gives them exactly what they expect.
This was a difficult book for me to review because of possibly revealing too much. I don’t want to spoil it for future readers.
Randolph Bliss had built Bliss house in 1870. It was unlike the other grand houses in the area, having both a ballroom and a full theater on the third floor. It was a house that seemed to show more preference for stateliness than comfort. The house was tall and ungainly, but had a touch of romance to it, with its formal and lush gardens. Bliss house had a reputation for unnatural death and the presence of lingering death – a house that seemed to be haunted. And the family had certainly seen more than its share of tragedy over the years. There were some who said that Randolph Bliss had committed some crime that caused the house to be cursed.
1957 – Charlotte, married to Preston (Press) Bliss was now mistress of Bliss house, and the couple had two young children, Eva and Michael. Charlotte actually believed in ghosts long before she married Press and became a part of Bliss House. Charlotte’s mother had died when she was four years old, and when she was six, Charlotte had a haunting experience involving her mother’s ghost when she appeared to Charlotte.
And the story unfolds as tragedy occurs at Bliss house along with strange and unnatural happenings. Nothing is as it seems, and dark secrets are slowly revealed. Charlotte becomes very restless and tortured with grief and guilt as she searches for answers.
The author certainly has a vivid imagination with all the strange occurrences. Charlotte’s Story has a very dark story-line with a varied cast of eccentric characters. I thought the ending was just outstanding, with a resolution I did not see coming. It was a compelling tale of suspense that was haunting and rich with description. All of the characters do intertwine and are important to the story-line.
Unfortunately I never became absorbed in the story-line until about 200 pages into the book – it seemed to drag on and on. Finally the author picked up the tempo and intensity and I became fully engaged. This is certainly a worthwhile read! I waffled between a 3 and 4 and decided on 3.5 stars.
About the Author: Author of dark suspense novels, including CHARLOTTE'S STORY: A Bliss House Novel, the second Bliss House book. BLISS HOUSE (a Southern Gothic ghost story) is now available in paperback. Laura's earlier novels, DEVIL'S OVEN, ISABELLA MOON and CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS, are available in paper and as ebooks. She lives in the southernmost part of a Midwestern state, surrounded by coyotes, owls, snakes, and the occasional bobcat.