A fireplace with warm flames, a mantle with wreaths and holly berries should spell a festive ‘home for the holidays’ in this novella set in the Sandhills of North Carolina, but something more is a-foot.
True, Sinclair was used to a life of privilege around important people and rich horse elite. She loved riding, mixing, and nibbling fancy food in her 20,000-some square foot home, but what was usual fun turned into a command performance for her. She had planned to stay at the University during break to finish her art projects, but Mother Lois called and let her know she had to come home. Since mom and dad were her chief patrons of the arts, Sinclair caved, and her mom let her bring her redheaded boyfriend Allen home with her, making sure of course, that they had separate accomodations.
From the moment they entered the door, nothing felt right. Relationships were edgy, nerves were tight, censure was freely given, an unpleasant mood was set by an ex invited into the mix, and things started happening, one after another.
Easy with her four older brothers and her father, Sinclair thought relationships between the sexes of no great import, until the brothers were set off first against her and then against each other, and Allen himself took on a critical stance unusual for him. The only word that described the atmosphere was tense, carrying with it a sense of impending doom, and the sniff of an evil presence. Alerted as they were by their senses to danger, there was nothing for it but to experience each new unpleasantry as it might unfold–and did–unwinding their own relationship and niggling at their futures before the conclusion in this somewhat Southern gothic romance.
Just what will emerge from the terrors only a holiday read will tell.