This eerie, suspenseful new offering from Phyllis M. Newman transports the reader to a time and place full of mystery and malevolence. The vulnerable yet plucky narrator, Anne Chatham, is as utilitarian and reliable as the contents of her valise ("two tortoiseshell combs, a pair of gloves, my father's Bible, my mother's wedding band"). Yet while Anne is exactly as she appears, taking things at face value in this Gothic tale can be a deadly mistake. Studded with accurate historical references from the period, the novel simultaneously achieves credibility and fantasy ("The ghost needs our attention" is a line I'll not soon forget). In literary terms, it's like Jane Eyre finding herself in Downton Abbey. Yet the sparking dialogue is unique to this author, her chapters flowing with an almost urgent feel, as the mystery thickens and twists in tandem with Anne's growing romance with Owen. All the characters are fully drawn, and the atmospheric descriptions of Northfield House and its surroundings are excellent, from the wizened servants to the waif known as "Little Seedling." Yet it is what lurks within the moody estate in northern England that eclipses everything else. "Screw your courage to the sticking place!"