In her enthralling novels of literary suspense, Carol Goodman writes stories that resonate with emotion set in lush landscapes that entice the senses. Now, with The Ghost Orchid, a narrative that seamlessly weaves together the past and the present, Goodman creates her most lyrical and haunting work to date. For more than one hundred years, creative souls have traveled to Upstate New York to work under the captivating spell of the Bosco estate. Cradled in silence, inspired by the rough beauty of overgrown gardens and crumbling statuary, these chosen few fashion masterworks-and have cemented Bosco's reputation as a premier artists' colony. This season, five talented artists-in-residence find themselves drawn to the history of Bosco, from the extensive network of fountains that were once its centerpiece but have long since run dry to the story of its enigmatic founder, Aurora Latham, and the series of tragic events that occurred more than a century ago. Ellis Brooks, a first-time novelist, has come to Bosco to write a book based on Aurora and the infamous summer of 1893, when wealthy, powerful Milo Latham brought the notorious medium Corinth Blackwell to the estate to help his wife contact three of the couple's children, lost the winter before in a diphtheria epidemic.
An isolated Victorian mansion in upstate New York is the backdrop for Goodman's latest literary mystery (after The Drowning Tree), which stars a debut novelist and her fellow residents at the artists' retreat Bosco. Ellis Brooks has been accepted to Bosco primarily because her first novel is to be a fictional account of the mansion's mysterious past; while there will be no deaths during her stay, there's spookiness aplenty, as well as several 1893 murders still begging resolution. Goodman's narrative alternates between Ellis's first-person present and 1893. Coincidentally-or not-two of Bosco's other guests are also working on projects related to the mansion. But they turn out to be little more than convenient accessories as Ellis, the daughter of a psychic (and possessor of certain powers of her own), unlocks clue after mystical clue to secrets long buried by the mansion's original owners. As great a player as any is the mansion itself and its creepy (and possibly haunted) gardens. Is this an updated Victorian drawing room mystery or a romance novel/crime fiction-cum-ghost story Never mind. Enjoy the atmosphere. And enjoy the ride; its twists and turns mesmerize, even if they don't surprise. Agent, Loretta Barrett. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . entranced
Posted August 11, 2010 by Nydia , nyThe book was wonderful its storyline takes place in two different eras but keeps you glued to both at all times
April 10, 2007
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Excerpt from The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman
I came to Bosco for the quiet.
That's what it's famous for.
The silence reigns each day between the hours of nine and five by order of a hundred-year-old decree made by a woman who lies dead beneath the rosebushes-a silence guarded by four hundred acres of wind sifting through white pines with a sound like a mother saying hush. The silence stretches into the still, warm afternoon until it melts into the darkest part of the garden where spiders spin their tunnel-shaped webs in the box-hedge maze. Just before dusk the wind, released from the pines, blows into the dry pipes of the marble fountain, swirls into the grotto, and creeps up the hill, into the gap- ing mouths of the satyrs, caressing the breasts of the sphinxes, snaking up the central fountain allee, and onto the terrace, where it exhales its resin- and copper-tinged breath onto the glasses and crystal decanters laid out on the balustrade.
Even when we come down to drinks on the terrace there's always a moment, while the ice settles in the silver bowls and we brush the yellow pine needles off the rattan chairs, when it seems the silence will never be broken. When it seems that the silence might continue to accumulate-like the golden pine needles that pad the paths through the box-hedge maze and the crumbling marble steps and choke the mouths of the satyrs and fill the pipes of the fountain- and finally be too deep to disturb.
Then someone laughs and clinks his glass against another's, and says . . .
"Cheers. Here's to Aurora Latham and Bosco."
"Here, here," we all chime into the evening, sending the echoes of our voices rolling down the terraced lawn like brightly colored croquet balls from some long-ago lawn party.
"God, I've never gotten so much work done," Bethesda Graham says, as if testing the air's capacity to hold a longer sentence or two.
We all look at her with envy. Or maybe it's only me, not only because I didn't get any work done today, but because everything about Bethesda bespeaks confidence, from her slim elegant biographies and barbed critical reviews to her sleek cap of shiny black hair with bangs that just graze her perfectly arched eyebrows-which are arched now at Nat Loomis, as if the two of them were sharing some secret, unspoken joke-and set off her milk-white skin and delicate bone structure. Even Bethesda's size-she can't be more than four nine-is intimidating, as if everything superfluous had been refined down to its essential core. Or maybe it's just that at five nine I loom over her and my hair, unmanageable at the best of times, has been steadily swelling in the moist Bosco air and acquired red highlights from the copper pipes. I feel like an angry Valkyrie next to her.
"Magic," says Zalman Bronsky, the poet, sipping his Campari and soda. "A dream. Perfection." He releases his words as if they were birds he's been cupping in his hands throughout the day.
"I got shit-all done," complains Nat Loomis, the novelist. The famous novelist. I' had to stop myself from gasping aloud when I recognized him on my first day at Bosco-nd who wouldn' recognize that profile, the jawline only slightly weaker than his jacket photos suggest, the trademark square glasses, the hazel eyes that morph from blue to green depending (he once said in an interview) on his mood, the tousled hair and sardonic grin. Along with the rest of the world (or at least the world of MFA writing programs and bookish Manhattan), I had read his first novel ten years ago and fallen in love-ith it, with its young, tough, but vulnerable protagonist, and with the author himself. And along with the rest of that little world I'd been immersed in these last ten years, I couldn't help wondering where his second novel was. Surely, though, the fact that he's here is a favorable sign that it's only a matter of time before the long-awaited second novel is born out of the incubator of silence that is Bosco.