Timid, solitary librarian Gerard Freeman lives for just two things: his elusive pen pal, Alice, and a story he found hidden in his mother’s drawer years ago. Written by his great-grandmother Viola, it hints at his mother’s role in a sinister crime. And as he discovers more of Viola’s chilling tales, he realizes that they might hold the key to finding Alice and unveiling his family’s mystery.
But upon returning to his ancestral home in England, Gerard finds that the stories-within-stories of his past begin to blur the lines between fact, fiction, and fantasy. They’re also driving him so deep into the dark that he might not be able to see what’s right in front of him until it’s too late.
“A haunting literary gothic” (Booklist) that has earned extraordinary critical acclaim, this novel is “a Victorian ghost story that honors the likes of Dickens and Henry James . . . A smart, stylish and mesmerizing book” (The Washington Post Book World).
“Intricate and engrossing. . . . One ghoulishly absorbing read.” —Entertainment Weekly