A historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of many bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus three collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty-six languages. Her first novel, Lady of Hay, has sold over two million copies worldwide. She lives with her family in an ancient manor house near Colchester and in a cottage near Hay-on-Wye.
A remote corner of Essex, England, becomes the site for some bone-chilling events in Erskine's ( Lady of Hay ) latest supernatural suspense yarn. Author Kate Kennedy, broke and homeless after splitting up with her lover, rents an isolated country cottage to write a biography of Lord Byron. Her work is interrupted, however, by a sullen teenage girl excavating an old Roman gravesite and by Kate's landlord, a temperamental artist who resents her intrusion into his cottage. These two plot to scare Kate off with tales of ghosts, but she dismisses their stories--until weird noises fill the night, gremlins invade her computer and a vandal raids her dwelling. Soon the true culprits are revealed, as the ghosts of Marcus Severus Secundus and his wife Claudia come to life. Marcus is determined to safeguard a centuries-old secret at the gravesite, while Claudia is equally set on exposing her husband's evil deed. The ensuing spectral possession and the ghosts' struggle for supremacy will keep readers on the edge of their seats, though frequent changes in point-of-view may prove confusing. Sadly, the novel's ending is somewhat of a letdown. Readers would probably prefer a rip-roaring confrontation between good and evil over Erskine's reliance on a time-worn climactic cliche. (July)
Erskine established her credentials as a writer of romantic suspense with Lady of Hay ( LJ 6/15/87). Here she spins a tale about a young woman in a remote corner of England who is troubled by supernatural events that are evidently connected with the horrible deaths of two young lovers from Roman Britain.