The Ghost Orchid
by: Carol Goodman
Published by: Ballantine
Buy From Amazon.com
Reviewed by Andrea Sisco
Carol Goodman is the author of The Drowning Tree. She won the 2003 Hammett Prize and has been nominated for the Dublin/IMPAC Award and the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award.
Goodman's latest release, The Ghost Orchid, is a wonderful marriage of literary prose, suspense, romance and ghost story. The prose is exquisite, the imagery powerful and compelling and the plot is simply delicious.
Bosco, in upstate New York, is a retreat for writers and artists. The gardens are overgrown and the statuary crumbling. But it once was the glorious nineteenth century estate of lumber baron Milo Latham, his wife Aurora and their children.
Ellis Brooks is one of Bosco's artists in residence. She's been accepted into the Bosco program because her first novel is a fictional account of the occurrences that haunted the estate in 1893. In 1893 Milo Latham humored his wife by bringing medium Corinth Blackwell to their home in order to contact the spirits of the three Latham children who died the previous winter in a diphtheria epidemic.
Ellis and the other artists in residence are drawn into the secrets of Bosco and the role Corinth Blackwell played in the family tragedy. And as secrets unfold, connections between the past and present become clearer and more menacing.
Goodman is masterful in her ability to alternate the narrative between the present and 1893, using Ellis' fictionalized account as the vehicle. The changes are so seamless that unless you are conscious of it, it will pass you by and you will believe you have been transported to the past.
Goodman's imagery is sharp and exudes emotion not often found in most suspense novels. I found myself mesmerized by phrases, stopping a bit to reread and savor them. It was a constant balancing act between racing to the end and patiently enjoying the journey.
Armchair Interviews says: Carol Goodman's The Ghost Orchid is a must read! You'll be lost in the haunting story. And that's a good thing.
From our armchair to yours...