Friday, November 18, 2011
A Christmas Homecoming
In A Christmas Homecoming, a familiar face from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels—Charlotte’s mother, Caroline—travels with her young husband, Joshua Fielding, and his theatrical troupe to Whitby, the Yorkshire fishing village where Dracula the vampire first touched English soil in the sensational novel named after him. Joshua has arranged to produce a stage adaptation of Dracula by the daughter of Whitby millionaire Charles Netheridge during the Christmas holiday, but after the disastrous first read-through of her amateurish script, only the fact that the company is depending on Netheridge’s financial backing for their spring tour keeps them at work.
As tempers flare and wind and snow swirl around Netheridge’s lonely hilltop mansion, a black-cloaked stranger emerges from the storm—an eerily opportune arrival, for this enigmatic figure, one Anton Ballin, turns out to be a theatrical genius. At the same time, a brooding evil makes itself felt. Instead of the theatrical triumph that Netheridge desired for his daughter, there is murder—shocking and terrifying.
Anne Perry’s ninth Christmas novel keeps us poised on a razor’s edge of suspense, hypnotized by a story in which the heartwarming power of goodness is challenged by the seductive power of inner darkness. In the end, A Christmas Homecoming lifts the spirit and rejoices the heart.
No holiday season is complete for me without a Christmas novel from Anne Perry. This is the 9th in the series and I have devoured each and every one of them. I'd have to say this is one of my favorites, not only because it's set around a play production of Dracula, one of my favorite books ever, but also because it's a "locked house" mystery. All of the characters are stranded at a mansion in Yorkshire in the midst of a snow storm, with no way in and no way out, and a killer is among them. Do yourself a favor and pick up an Anne Perry Christmas novel this Christmas season!