I had a good time with this one! The set-up is not particularly new - a young woman temporarily stuck in an old mansion with a group of...shall we say "eccentric" people, all mooching off of the wealthy owner. But this was a fun read instead of seeming like a tired old plot. It starts off a little slowly (but then, almost every book I end up loving does), but before long things started getting more and more interesting and I was hooked!
The group in the house have gathered to practice and recreate a magickal rite once performed by the famous (or infamous) Thorne Blackmore - the ritual during which Thorne's lover died and he disappeared about 25 years ago. Thorne and his lover's now-adult daughter Truth is the young woman currently visiting the mansion, gathering research for a biography but very much NOT interested in joining any magickal activities. Is the magick real? Was it then? What really happened that night Truth's mother died and her father disappeared? While I guessed much of it, I still had a great time watching the story unfold and was surprised in a few places.
It's always fun to read about places you know, and the New York state setting of this book is very familiar to me. While mansions of this size are a little out of my realm, the style of the house is right on, down to the twin parlors in the front!
And oh my gosh - the cell phone! This book was published in 1995, and wow what a difference 11 years makes!
All in all, good light read, and it was fun to watch a great author play around with established gothic mansion plot.
Truth Jourdemayne has always hated her father, although she doesn't remember him. Thorne Blackburn was a celebrated occultist and near-cult leader of the 60's, but one of his rituals ended in the death of Truth's mother, and the disappearance of Thorne himself (one assumes, to escape murder charges). Scandal notwithstanding, Thorne Blackburn, Aleister Crowley-like, still has his followers - who regularly pester Truth for interviews or opinions on her notorious dad. In an effort to stave them off, Truth decides to work on a book on Blackburn, so that she can show him as he really was, in her opinion - a criminal, not a mystical hero. To further her research, she goes to her father's old estate, site of his notorious rituals. The estate is now owned by a significantly wealthy and charismatic man - and an odd collection of followers. Truth soon realizes they are Blackburnians, occultists devoted to recreating her father's rituals. But they offer her access to their collection of materials relating to her father... and soon she is drawn into a web of events that could lead to disaster - but which could also cause Truth to re-evaluate her father as a man, and to come to terms with her own emotions.
One of the better books in the 'Light' series, recommended for fans of occult fiction.
The premise was interesting but I found the writing wasn't very sophisticated, and the plot was sluggish. I couldn't get through more than a couple of chapters before I got irritated with the story. But I've never really liked this author all that much anyway (except for the Mists of Avalon, read years ago), so if you generally like this author, probably you won't be disappointed like I was.