Let’s start with the summary this time:
Joanna is 30, and on the edge of true adulthood (whatever that means). Her closest friends are her Oxford besties from the good-old college days. Her closest of her closest friends is Lucas, who just inherited a Manor house from his uncle, who committed suicide. The uncle was the only family Lucas had, and Lucas is devastated by his sudden death. Now the closest friends get to spend the weekends at the Manor and the weekdays at their burgeoning careers. Lucas and Joanna forge a romantic relationship, and instead of getting closer (word of the post!) they find themselves at odds with their feelings and desires. Joanna begins to feel that the manor is playing a role in the destruction of their tight-knit group. Does the house hold some ominous power over them, and for that matter Lucas’ uncle and parents lives before their own?
First of all, I liked Joanna reasonably well. She seemed to have a decent head on her shoulders. But Lucas was whiney and naive, and most of the other characters were one-note. They never learned from any of their mistakes or mis-assumptions, and they were all very self-indulgent. I had little to no empathy for any of them except Joanna. The house is supposed to be intimidating and sinister, but this falls flat. I believe the author, Lucie Whitehouse, wanted the Manor to be a character in its own, but there was only suggestions to its “power” and no real evidence. I really enjoy gothic novels, but this tried too hard (and failed) to be gothic. It had none of the subtlety, the suspense, or the intrigue of my favorite gothic fare. That being said, I got it on clearance at Borders, so hooray for that!