Synopses & Reviews
A beautifully told, captivating novel of 19th century love and intrigue.
Every summer Maisie Thomas has come with her parents to Grange House, a hotel on the coast of Maine overseen by the elegant and inscrutable Miss Grange who resides in the topmost story. The enormous house had always thrilled Maisie, appearing to her like something from old novels. But in the summer of 1896, the seventeen year-old Maisie has arrived restless and longing for her life's story to be different from those she has found between the covers of many books. As if in answer, the secrets of Grange House and its attic inhabitant begin to wrest free of their silence.
On the morning after Maisie's arrival, two drowned lovers are found clasped in each other's arms. Then it seems Maisie finds herself in the lovers' shadow as two very different young men, one an adventurous writer, the other an ambitious businessman from her father's company, start to pay court. Will Maisie's story be but a love story after all? Maisie finds herself drawn more and more to Miss Grange, even as Miss Grange begins to tell Maisie strange and wild tales from Grange House's past, insisting that the girl is the only one who sill understand, and charging her with finishing one of her unfathomable tales.
But which of Miss Grange's stories are truth and which are fiction? Another death, a hidden diary, mismarked grave, an exchange of letters - and a ghostly apparition - all lead Maisie toward the center of an old story that becomes her own, as she uncovers the secrets of Grance House.
Rich with the details, customs, and language of the era, Grange House is part family saga, part ghost story, part love story: a wonderfully atmospheric, page-turning novel of literary suspense and romance. It is the tale of the many stories - familial and literary - in the house of fiction that women's lives must unlock and abandon in order to inhabit their own.
"So many writers now shout loudly, demanding our attention, but Sarah Blake quietly and skillfully lures not only our attention but our amazement at her ability to create and sustain a lasting visual and spiritual impression. Her words seem to have been as carefully chosen as a pearl, a perfect shell, or a ripe fruit. But with all its polished, wonderful narrative, there is a strong and amazingly durable undertow, a quiet driving force. Ms. Blake wrote this beguiling suspenseful novel the old fashioned way, with her head and her heart directing her along with equal measures."
-- Kaye Gibbons
"What an impressive novel Sarah Blake has written. With its vivid characters, suspenseful plot and elegant period details, GRANGE HOUSE is completely transporting. I couldn't stop turning the pages and was sorry to see them dwindle."
-- Margot Livesey
"A lovely book that provides a read both intriguing and delicious."
-- Elizabeth Strout, author of the bestseller AMY AND ISABELLE
"Sarah Blake's elegant novel is a rare achievement; Jamesian in its ambiguities, GRANGE HOUSE is marvelously untainted by postmodern ironic gestures or quaintness. What Maisie knew, and indeed, what Maisie discovers, makes this a true page-turner that belongs on the shelf between THE WOMAN IN WHITE and REBECCA."
-- Katharine Weber
"Ghostly handprints, mistaken identities, and ill-fated romances reveal her fascination with Victorian literature. [Readers] sharing this interest will relish the dense atmosphere." (Library Journal)
A “seamless pastiche of favorite 19th-century genres and themes....An enchanting tale by a consummate storyteller.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Rich, meticulous detail and a poets refined yet sensuous ear for language....Manages to partake of all the conventions of Victorian sensibility while maintaining a contemporary intelligence and subtle wit.” —Chicago Tribune
“Pulses with mystery, ghostly melancholy and young passion...Captivating.” —Boston Herald
"The atmosphere pulses with mystery, ghostly melancholy and young passion. It's a captivating novel in a genre that has become all too rare." (The Herald)
"...pleasing, intricate first novel...Blake draws nicely on her familiarity with the era, respectably adopting its language and vividly evoking its manners." (New York Times)
A beautifully told, captivating novel of 19th century love and intrigue
Maisie Thomas spends every summer with her parents at Grange House, a hotel on an island off the coast of Maine ruled by the elegant but distant Miss Grange. In 1898, when Maisie turns 17, her visit marks a turning point. On the morning after her arrival, local fishermen make a gruesome discovery: two drowned lovers, found clasped in each other's arms. It's only the first in a series of events that cast a shadow over Maisie's summer. As she considers the attentions of two very different young men, one an adventurous writer, the other an ambitious businessman from her father's company, Maisie also falls under the gaze of Miss Grange, who begins to tell her stories of her past. But which are truth and which are fiction? Another death, a cache of diaries, an exchange of letters--and a ghostly apparition--all play a part in changing Maisie's life forever.
Rich with the details, customs, and language of the era, GRANGE HOUSE is part family saga, part ghost-story, part love story; a wonderfully atmospheric, page-turning novel of literary suspense and romance.
About the Author
Sarah Blake is the author of FULL TURN, a collection of poems. A graduate of Yale University, she holds a doctorate in Victorian literature from New York University. She lives in Evanston, Illinois with her husband and son.