It was expecting them.
Conrad and Joanna Harrison, a young couple from Los Angeles, attempt to save their marriage by leaving the pressures of the city to start anew in a quiet, rural setting. They buy a Victorian mansion that once served as a haven for unwed mothers, called a birthing house. One day when Joanna is away, the previous owner visits Conrad to bequeath a vital piece of the house's historic heritage, a photo album that he claims "belongs to the house." Thumbing through the old, sepia-colored photographs of midwives and fearful, unhappily pregnant girls in their starched, nineteenth-century dresses, Conrad is suddenly chilled to the bone: staring back at him with a countenance of hatred and rage is the image of his own wife....
Thus begins a story of possession, sexual obsession, and, ultimately, murder, as a centuries-old crime is reenacted in the present, turning Conrad and Joanna's American dream into a relentless nightmare.
An extraordinary marriage of supernatural thrills and exquisite psychological suspense, The Birthing House marks the debut of a writer whose first novel is a terrifying tour de force.
A blend of supernatural horror and psychological thriller, Ransom's impressive debut chronicles a couple's descent into madness after they purchase a 140-year-old Victorian house in rural Wisconsin. Failed L.A. screenwriter Conrad Harrison, whose marriage is on the rocks and who's still coming to grips with the sudden death of his estranged father, decides it's time for a change and, on a whim, buys a turn-of-the-century birthing house he fatefully found after driving the wrong way out of Chicago. But the sprawling structure has a dark history, and after his wife lands a new job and leaves for a few weeks of training in Detroit, Harrison begins to unravel the house's bloody past, even as his own sanity is unraveling. Replete with subtle symbolism that supports the birthing motif (spiders with bulging egg sacs, a moist clutch of snake eggs, etc.), this addictively readable ghost story will keep readers up all night, with the lights on, of course. (Aug.)
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Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Really?
Posted August 11, 2009 by Bethany , MiThrough this whole book I kept waiting for it to get better. I kept reading thinking, well the next page has to be better than this one. Then I got to the end and thought, what did I just read?! I would not recommend this book.
2 . Erratic
Posted August 10, 2009 by Paulina , New YorkI usually love stories about old houses and their past, but this book's plot was erratic and the characters confusing. It was hard to follow the story line and to decipher all the cryptic messages throughout the book. The narrator jumps back and forth with his emotions, and the way he reacts to stressful situations throughout the book just doesnt make any sense.
St. Martin's Press
August 03, 2009
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