By Amy Reade
My Rating: 2/5 Stairs
Here’s the summary I was given for this book:
Outside of Charleston, South Carolina, beyond hanging curtains of Spanish moss, at the end of a shaded tunnel of overarching oaks, stands the antebellum mansion of Peppernell Manor in all its faded grandeur. At the request of her friend Evie Peppernell, recently divorced Carleigh Warner and her young daughter Lucy have come to the plantation house to refurbish the interior. But the tall white columns and black shutters hide a dark history of slavery, violence, and greed. The ghost of a former slave is said to haunt the home, and Carleigh is told she disapproves of her restoration efforts. And beneath the polite hospitality of the Peppernell family lie simmering resentments and poisonous secrets that culminate in murder—and place Carleigh and her child in grave danger…
Sounds good, right? Plenty of mystery, a little of the supernatural, and all set in my favorite city of Charleston, South Carolina. If someone writes a book with these elements, please let me know. This book did not live up to it’s summary.
- Mystery? Not really. Yes, there are a few murders, and even some other random crimes here and there. But there is no active investigation by any of the main characters to determine who is committing these acts. Basically, people moved on from the crime, and someone would admit to the deed later on, with no warning or clues anywhere that they may have had something to do with it.
- Supernatural? There is promise in the beginning. A former slave named Sarah still resides at the mansion. Spooky, right? No, not really. There was great potential in this storyline – I mean, we could have really delved into Sarah and her life as a slave on the plantation. Only one person sees Sarah, and we mostly just hear “Sarah doesn’t like this, Sarah won’t like that.” Sarah herself never becomes a prominent character in the story.
- Set in Charleston, but…really could have been set any where in the south. Charleston was just a backdrop, and could have been any city with stores to aid in the mansion’s restoration, and a preschool for Carleigh’s daughter.
So what was this novel really about then? It was about Carleigh, getting a fresh start from a divorce and the restoration work she does on the mansion. I want to write more here, but really that sentence truly sums the book up. If you enjoy chick-lit or the restoration of old homes, then you will probably like this book. If you are looking for either a mystery or a ghost story, move along.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.