Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Molly Murphy Sullivan has been caring for her mother-in-law in suburban Westchester County with plans to spend the Christmas holidays there. When plans change, Molly, her mother-in-law and her family find themselves invited to Scarborough, the home of wealthy Cedric Van Aiken in The Ghost of Christmas Past by Rhys Bowen.

Excited to be spending the holidays in such a lovely mansion, Molly soon realizes there is much tension in the household. She learns the couple's toddler daughter Charlotte walked out of the house 10 years ago at Christmas and has not been seen since.

Winnie Van Aiken is a shadow of her former self, thin, gaunt and pale. She has never given up hope about her daughter, but no one else seems to believe the little girl could still be alive.

Winne's elderly aunt, a somewhat doddering woman, confuses Molly with Winnie's long-lost sister. Startled when Winnie's father claims she has no sister, Molly is
not sure what is going on. Later on in the visit Aunt Clara asks about young man that provokes another outburst from Winnie's father. Is Aunt Clara confused or are the residents of the regal house hiding something.

When Aunt Clara dies in her sleep, Molly worries about her own family. Unable to resist a mystery, Molly spends her time investigating the disappearance of the little girl. After 10 years there are hardly any clues left to discover, but she persists.

On Christmas Eve there is a knock on the door and standing there is a young girl who announces, "I am Charlotte." This throws the entire household into tizzy. Could this be Winnie's long-lost daughter or a carefully prepared imposter?

A definite page turner and the resolution will surprise the reader. I enjoyed The Ghost of Christmas Past very much

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