Ann Charlotte

Publisher: AuthorHouse Pages: 336 Price: (paperback) $17.99 ISBN: 9781420827491 Reviewed: July, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Ann Charlotte weaves an evocative, ghostly love story in Spellbound.

Claire LePaige is a photojournalist who decides to take her two children on a working vacation to the Shenandoah Valley after their father was killed in a freak lobster boat accident in Maine.

Once there, she has odd sensations. She starts seeing dances with Confederate soldiers and hearing bits of Civil War-era conversation. Then, as she photographs a rundown old house she spies, “A violent shiver made the tiny hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She distinctly felt that someone was watching her.”

Drawn to the house, Claire purchases it, uprooting her family. While living there, she has vivid dreams, and her children both encounter a ghost named Charles.

Charles, she learns, was a Confederate soldier who had been married to Clarissa, a headstrong woman with a touch of magical sight. Before her untimely death, Clarissa cast a spell to protect Charles, but it may have come out a curse instead. Claire begins to believe she and her children are related to Clarissa and Charles and that she can help Charles, to whom she’s inexplicably drawn.

Charlotte is skillful at weaving believable, well-rounded characters who talk and act in relatable ways. She shows, not tells, and skillfully hooks readers into the story. She also is adept at creating an evocative sense of place. Readers will nearly feel the breeze that caresses Claire in her hammock as she dreams of a past increasingly impacting the present.

Unfortunately, the book begins slowly. Charlotte takes 56 pages to introduce Claire and her family (the first two chapters deal with Clarissa and Charles). Additionally, some of the historical dialogue of black characters might be jarring: “I tinks Miz Clarry juss might haf sumfin ta say bout dat right now… Shoo yerself…” The story also omits commas in compound sentences, which sometimes distracts.

Despite such issues, gothic romance fans should enjoy this well-drawn ghostly love story.

Also available as an ebook.

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