Late '60s, IIRC. Another bomb by Miriam Lynch (I'm beginning to wonder if "The Bells of Widow's Bay" was an exception for her??). This is another Gothic I set aside after roughly 50 pages (if that) into it. The cover art was obtained via FantasticFiction.uk. It is one of the more beautifully sinister of covers, and a pity it's a bit blurred. Deep reds and stark blacks dominate.
The story opens with a downtrodden late-teenaged heroine taking a stroll on an icy and bitterly cold late November afternoon. I was born/raised in Iowa, and that just does NOT happen. I wonder if Ms. Lynch was a native southern Californian; they seem to think people up north walk barefoot in the snow. >:-\ Anyway, the heroine's homelife is impoverished and mean. Her stepmother and half-siblings are against her, and she's seeking an afternoon away from the usual drudgery. She again comes across a nearby bleak old mansion and this time, feeling extra gutsy even if the sun is near to sinking beneath the horizon and it's the late 1800s and she has nary a lantern nor a candle on her, decides to investigate.
Turns out the menacing semi-dilapidated old house is inhabited. Initially its inhabitants aren't friendly, but she's allowed entrance. She's sized up by the master of the domain, who likes what he sees; he's a widower with an out-of-control son. Would she be willing to become the child's governess for good pay and free room/board?
The heroine readily accepts. She won't even bother returning home to inform her family. She dines with her new employers, one of whom is grandmother of the heroine's new charge. A fancy dinner is spread out in a luxurious dining room. The delicious meal starts off well enough...and then a pall descends over the hosts. Everyone picks fearfully at their plates. The heroine soon learns that witchly in-laws have been chasing down father and son; and within half an hour these 3 "grand dames" arrive and begin asserting control.
I found the storywriting stilted, and the course of events far too rushed and improbable. Maybe I'll pick it up again some time, but have no great urge to.
HAUNTED HORROR #29 - In stores today! Special guest horror host *Dr. Odd* (a.k.a. David O'Dell) foists his great gobs of greasy grimy horror tales on rancid readers. This face-...
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