This haunting contemporary fable, first published in England, is in part a retelling of the Grimm folk tale that involves a stepmother who murders her stepson and serves his body for dinner. Comyns has fashioned this macabre material into a strangely involving modern Gothic romance. (It's a bit strong for Holt and Whitney fans.) The protagonist, Bella Winter, is a beautiful but physically and mentally scarred young woman who marries a wealthy, rather cold widower. He is obsessed by the memory of his first wife, overly attentive to their small son, and neglectful of Bella. As their marriage deteriorates, she experiences a mental breakdown, and blames herself for his son's accidental death. Comyns's characters are fascinating, and remind the reader of the wicked impulses in us all.