After three years, Jace Montgomery is still grieving over his fiancee Stacy's mysterious suicide. He hasn't been interested in another woman since her passing, and her family still blames him for her death. While flipping through one of her old paperbacks, Jace discovers a photo of a house stuck between the pages, bearing the cryptic message, "Ours again. Together forever. See you there." The note was dated the day before her death. Obsessed by the possibility of understanding Stacy's suicide, Jace seeks out the property - Priory House, a big brick fortress in Margate, England - and buys it.
It doesn't take long to learn that the house is haunted by a headstrong and feisty ghost, Ann Stuart, whom he must tangle with if he's ever to solve the mystery. Ann died under circumstances similar to those of his late fiancee, and he has a hunch that there is a connection between the two. Through his own investigations and with the help of a beautiful foreign correspondent who is worn out by what she's seen in the world, Jace is forced to reconcile his fiancee's life and her death. What follows is a satisfying and seductive discovery of both time and love by one of America's favorite storytellers.
In Deveraux's familiar latest, Jace Montgomery's fianc�e, Stacy, commits suicide while they're vacationing in England--or so, three years after her death, everybody but Jace believes. The chance discovery of a letter Stacy received days before she died and a photo of Priory House in Margate, England--the village where Stacy committed suicide--prompt Jace to investigate. Finding Priory House for sale, Jace buys it despite its ugliness and expense. Dwelling in the house is the ghost of young Ann Stuart, who lived there in the 1870s and committed suicide just before her wedding. A local journalist, the beautiful and confrontational Nightingale Smythe, joins man and spirit in the search for the truth about Stacy and Ann's deaths. Deveraux never raises the pitch very high, and harmonizes the whole satisfactorily. (July)
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July 17, 2007
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Excerpt from Someone to Love by Jude Deveraux
The house was enormous, frighteningly ugly, and Jace Montgomery had just paid four and a half million dollars for it.
As he drove his car slowly through the wrought-iron gates that were set inside square brick pillars topped by stone lions, he dreaded seeing the house. Priory House was his now, but he could remember little from his one-time viewing with the realtor. The graveled road meandered through parkland that was quite pretty. He'd been told that the gardens had been laid out in 1910 by some famous landscape architect. The trees were now mature, the flowering shrubs were well established, and the grass perfect. If Jace were a horseman, which he wasn't, the parkland would have been a dream come true.
As he neared a big oak tree, he pulled over, stopped the car, and got out. In a moment the house would come into view, and he needed to prepare himself for it. To keep himself solvent, he'd borrowed the purchase price from his billionaire uncle. Since the house had been on the market for over three years, Jace knew that when the time came to sell the house, it would be a pain to unload.
He'd tried to rent the house, but the owner wouldn't consider it. The man wanted to get rid of the monstrosity free and clear.
"All right," Jace said to the realtor, or estate agent as they were called in England, "what's wrong with the house? Other than being ugly, that is." He imagined plumbing that was perpetually clogged, low-flying jets, murderous neighbors. At the very least, dry rot.
"It seems that there's a ghost," Nigel Smith-Thompson said with the air of a man who doesn't believe in such things.
"Don't all old houses in England have a ghost?" Jace asked.
"We were told that this ghost is particularly persistent. She appears rather often and it annoys the owners."
Scares the hell out of them is what you mean, Jace thought. "Is that why the house has changed hands so often?" When Jace asked to borrow the money from his uncle to buy the house, Uncle Frank had had it thoroughly researched. Since the late nineteenth century, the house had never been owned by anyone for more than three years. Uncle Frank's conclusion was that the house was a bad investment and Jace shouldn't buy it. Jace hadn't said a word, just handed his uncle the envelope he'd found inside a book that had belonged to Stacy. Frank took the photo of the house out of the envelope, looked at it in distaste, then turned the picture over. On the back someone had written "Ours again. Together forever. See you there on 11 May 2002."
It took Frank a moment to put it all together. "Stacy died on...?"
"The next day." Jace took a breath. "On the twelfth of May, Stacy Evans, my fianc�e, committed suicide in a room over a pub in Margate, England."
Frank picked up the envelope and read the postmark. "This was sent from Margate and the postmark is the eighth of April."
Jace nodded. "Someone sent that to her before we left for England." He thought back to the trip that had changed his life. Jace had worked in the family business of buying and selling companies since the day he graduated from college. Less than a week before he was to marry Stacy, his uncle Mike, Frank's brother, had called and said that the owner of an English tool manufacturing plant was pulling out of the sale. If that happened, three export deals would fall through and about a hundred people would be out of work. Since it had been Jace who'd negotiated the deal, he'd been the only one who could put it back together. He told Stacy he was sorry but he was going to have to fly to England. He promised that he'd work night and day and be back as soon as possible.