Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Her world is perfectly controlled. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary...a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?
Perhaps, Annie can help.
Best Book Bit:
In the aftermath of the blinding flash, the darkness shimmered like liquid ebony. The wind ripped the leaves from the trees and tossed them aside. The rain slashed the windows of the isolated aged stone house.
Inside the dwelling, all was silent except for the ticking of the longcase clock in the foyer. The parlour was to the right of the front door. A sofa sat in the centre of the room facing a large fireplace made of fieldstone. Two tall windows looked onto the lawn at the front of the house. Comfortable chairs flanked the fireside. A small table holding a glass lamp was beside one of the chairs. A handmade throw rug covered the polished wooden floor in front of the hearth. An old dog lay asleep on the mat. With the shelves filled with books, the soft glow of the fire and gas lamp, and the comfortable chairs, the parlour had been warm and cozy in the gloomy night.
Victoria Anne McBride, the solitary human occupant of the room, slept in one of the chairs. Covered with a blanket, a book lay open on her lap. A sonic boom of thunder shook the house and ricocheted around the room breaking the spell of silence. Startled, she surged from the chair, the eiderdown and tome cascading to the floor. She had been feeling warm and drowsy under the quilt. Rousing, she realized the room was freezing. There was nothing but cold ash left in the fireplace and the was no oil left in the table lamp. How long had she been asleep? She cocked her head to listen as the rain scratched the window glass like the long nails of a ghostly hand pleading come in out of the cold. When had it stared to rain? Why was she in the parlour and not in bed? Will. Her husband. She had been waiting for him. He should have been home hours ago. Where was he?
She rubbed her arms hoping to bring some warmth back into them. Pacing the floor, she tried to restore the circulation to her legs. Cold, so very cold. She couldn’t remember ever feeling this cold. Even though she was wearing her best flannel nightgown and had a shawl around her shoulders, she couldn’t get warm.
She felt as if she was in a dream, with no sense of the passing of time. The darkness eerie and menacing. She was in her own home, surrounded by her familiar things, but something wasn’t right. Her foggy brain couldn’t quite place what was wrong.
As the woman stirred, the dog raised his head to look at her. She smiled at him. Her faithful companion. With Thor at her side, some of the foreboding she felt slithered back into the shadows. Another loud crack of thunder made her jump again. Apprehension undulated up and down her spine as the awareness of how alone she was increased. She pulled the shawl tighter across her shoulders.
“C’mon, Thor,” she said. “Let’s go see if Will’s light is in the barn.”
He got up from his comfortable place and padded across to where the woman stood. Victoria reached down and patted his ancient head. He looked up at her, tail thumping on the floor. Licking her hand, he nudged his head against her leg. Dog and woman walked to the windows and peered out at the storm.
The cacophony of the moaning wind and lashing rain concealed any sound of a horse’s hoofs. She could see nothing, except the murky fog. No light. No Will. Where are you? Her anxiety escalated to new heights. Her baby girl was asleep upstairs, but she seemed to have been sleeping for a long time. Was Maddy sick? The baby. What about the baby? Victoria knew there was something important about her she needed to tell Will. Why couldn’t she remember? Her brain felt like mush, her body exhausted. She needed her husband to come home to take her in his arms and tell her everything would be all right. How long had he been gone? It seemed like an eternity. Panic, like a bird’s wings trapped by the cage of her ribs, fluttered in her chest. She leaned her head against the cold glass and clenched her fists. Taking deep breaths to try and calm herself, she flattened her hands on the window.
“He’s fine,” she said. “I know it. Oh, Will, where are you? I need you so much. Please, please come home. Everything will be all right once you get here.”
Tears coursed down her cheeks. The old dog, sensing her unease, leaned into her leg and began to whine. Distracted, she reached down to stroke his head. She would wait. Wait for as long as it took for Will to come home.
Wait…wait…wait, her mind chanted to the ticking clock in the hall.
Have you ever wondered about your soul, your ancestors, how the mists of time shape your life today? Author MacKay deftly and lyrically weaves these issues into the complex tapestry of STONE COTTAGE. We first meet Rebecca and her modern concerns with work/life balance. Rebecca faces challenges with her family and business. Her character, while carefully crafted by the author, did not engage me as much as the ghost of Victoria Ann and her 1800's life. We meet Victoria Ann when Rebecca buys a hidden cottage retreat.
Why does Victoria Ann wait by the window with her faithful dog? Why can only Rebecca see her? What does Rebecca learn from Victoria Ann? I was spellbound and moved by Victoria Ann’s life in the 1880’s and her catastrophic end.
In the author's hands, the stone cottage becomes more than a setting, and is a character, too. We also meet Rebecca's family and good friend, as well as the important people in Victoria's life, or are these people something more? I enjoyed the stories of the main characters, and found this book to be an entrancing, well-written read. I am not interested in life regressions and ghosts, but if you are, this will only add to your pleasure in reading this book.