Ghosts in a Massachusetts Village

Ghosts in a Massachusetts Village

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Ghosts in a Massachusetts Village

Sabine Heartwood passed through Moose River Junction years ago with her mother, an itinerant fortuneteller. Raised on the road as Ruby crisscrossed the country in her battered VW minibus, Sabine longed to settle down and was inexplicably drawn to this rural hamlet, where everyone knows everyone. Now that one of the town’s favorite sons has returned for his grandmother Beatrice’s funeral, at least there’s something to talk about. Danforth Smith is an up-and-coming assistant film director in New York, romantically linked with a bitchy, beautiful, ambitious actress. Shy Sabine is instantly attracted to him but she knows she can’t compete with the likes of Karen. And handsome Dan would never want to give up such a glamorous life to stay in Moose River Junction and care for his aging, mentally retarded uncle Nagy, per his mother Beatrice’s wish. Even though Beatrice, imperious and theatrical to a fault, insisted in her will that Nagy never be institutionalized and instead be permitted to take tickets and sweep up at the Palace Theatre (her dead husband’s pet project and final legacy). Sabine intuitively senses Dan’s dark secret, but not its exact details. Yet Dan, given to solitary brooding, reveals all to the reader in interior monologues: he holds himself responsible for the accidental fire that killed his feuding parents when he was only six. He and Nagy were playing with a lighter, and his grandmother Beatrice always told Dan that the fire was his fault, not Nagy’s. Hmm…so that’s why Sabine seems to smell smoke in his presence but she doesn’t understand why. Gee, where does this strange knack for reading minds come from? The supposedly psychic young woman can’t figure it out, but mother Ruby is waiting in the wings with a grim secret of her own: Sabine is the child of an alcoholic gypsy, who raped Ruby when she was only fifteen.

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