Heroes Are My Weakness
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Morrow, Aug 26 2014, $26.99
Princess Crumpet the puppet “asks” why not Miami Beach as ailing financially broke thirtyish ventriloquist Annie Hewitt drives in wintry weather heading to a Maine barrier island where her late mom Mariah’s Moonraker Cottage is and allegedly her legacy can be found. Fearing her return to a place she fled over a decade ago, Annie resolutely completes the journey.
Annie heads to Harp House on the hill above Moonraker seeking Will Shaw for the key to the cottage. Instead Widower Theo Harp tells her Shaw left a month ago, he lives there for now working on his next horror novel and demands she leave and never return. The next day Annie meets the other residents of Harp House, the owner’s housekeeper Widow Jaycie Mills struggling with a broken leg and caring for her traumatized mute four years old daughter. Jaycie saved Annie’s life eighteen years ago from what horrible “Lord” Theo did to her. As Annie and her puppets help Livia, the puppeteer begins to rethink back to what really happened when terrible Theo tormented her even as someone will do anything to drive her off the island.
This is a great gothic that combines the classic elements but within a modern day New England albeit somewhat isolated island atmosphere. Theo is the brooding flawed antihero and Annie the “innocent” damsel in distress; while Harp House turns out to be the “moody” mansion. Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes a tremendous contemporary.