Synopses & Reviews
A modern day mystery haunted by a 19th Century ghost.
Eleanor Bly haunts Five Mile House, looking for someone to tell her story to. Jumping from a window to her death in 1889, Eleanor's soul is at unrest until the truth is told about her life and death. She finally finds Leslie, one hundred years later. Leslie bears an uncanny resemblance to Eleanor and is sympathetic if only because of the ghost she carries around herself...
In a moment of temporary insanity, Leslie shoots and kills the suspected perpetrator of a hideous child murder. When evidence is inconclusive, Leslie enters a severe depression and is temporarily institutionalized. When she is released from the hospital, her husband, in an effort to change their environment, takes his family to a small New England town to work on a mysterious restoration project of Five Mile House. It doesn't take long for them to hear about Eleanor, a 19th century madwoman who murdered her seven children in Five Mile House. Leslie becomes obsessed with Eleanor's story, suspecting that the truth may be different from the accepted myth. Wellington, locally known for its coven of wiccan followers, has many secrets of its own.
The stories of both women are told in parallel narratives until they converge at the very end. As frightening as it is suspenseful, Five Mile House is a classic page-turner, a haunted house story and also the story about the lengths a mother will go to in order to protect her children.
"Novak's striking debut works up to a climactic frenzy." Kirkus Reviews
"A terrific ghost story and a fine first novel." Booklist
"Novak combines suspense with modern witchcraft." Publishers Weekly
"A breathtaking novel about crime, about coming to terms with one's history, about learning to give love and to accept it. The writing is beautiful." Frederick Busch, author of The Night Inspector
After being released from a mental institution, Leslie and her family move to a New England town and begin restoring the old Five Mile House. Leslie becomes obsessed with the story of an 19th-century madwoman who leaped to her death from the house's window.
In 1889, Eleanor Bly flung herself from the tower of Five Mile House after murdering her seven children. More than a hundred years later, her ghost reaches out to Leslie Stone, a New York cop who has killed a child murderer and is haunted by her actions. New to the town of Wellington-famous for its coven of witches-Leslie becomes obsessed with Eleanor's story, suspecting that the truth may be quite different from local legend. As she digs deeper, uncovering dangerous town secrets, her life and the lives of her children are put into peril. Is Leslie destined to suffer the same madness as Eleanor Bly?
About the Author
Karen Novak lives in Mason, Ohio. Her next Leslie Stone novel, The Wilderness, will be published by Bloomsbury in January 2005.