Tessa deGroot, a sculptor, falls in love at the first sight of Ardenwycke, a great stone house along the Hudson River in New York. Part of a divorce settlement from her former husband's family, the house was built by an early deGroot settler more than two hundred years earlier, but still carries a reputation of being cursed. Tessa discovers this for herself on that first visit as she faints in one upstairs hallway.
Maximillian MacDougall, a local housing inspector, rescues Tessa that day, but more strange events happen almost immediately after she moves in. Together, Tessa and Max try to find the meaning behind the curious things that happen in the house, but it will surely take drastic measures -- and love -- to succeed.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Ardenwycke Unveiled by Kelly Ferjutz
An Excerpt From: ARDENWYCKE UNVEILED
Copyright (c) KELLY FERJUTZ, 2007
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
"Max? How do we get back to where we started from? We haven't seen the upper floor yet either, Annette, nor the very top room, the cupola, or whatever it's called."
"All of the floors form a square. You can easily make a complete circuit of the house on any of them, with access from the tower except for this top floor. There are stairways at the front of the house and at the rear, plus in the tower here."
"So then, from here, to get back to the front door on the road side, we go back down to the second floor and toward the road along that corridor and then turn right to the main stairway, is that right?" Tessa asked.
"You got it. If you're ready, we can walk that way now." Max took one last look around the tower room and started down the inner staircase.
"Okay, I don't think I need to see the top floor today. It can't be all that different from the other floors. I'll probably never open it up anyway. Ready, Annette?"
"I thought you'd never ask," Annette grumbled as she began to follow Max down the stairs.
It bothered Tessa that Annette was so displeased about Tessa's having fallen in love with Ardenwycke. But Tessa was the one who would have to live here, so Annette would just have to accommodate herself to Tessa's wishes in this matter. Taking one last look around the room, Tessa blew a kiss into the air and whispered, "I'll be back soon, I promise. You and I are going to produce wonderful things in here." Turning her back on the room, she headed down the stairs and was startled to discover Max and Annette in deep conversation at the juncture of the corridors.
They stepped apart when Tessa made her appearance and they moved three abreast down the wide corridor. Tessa felt moved to comment, "It's so nice having such wide corridors, isn't it? I've never seen anything like them before."
Max answered, "It's probably because of the panniers and hoops that the women wore at the times the house was built. They needed a lot of room in which to be fashionable in those days." He chuckled at his own wit.
The corridors were also well lit, as they all had windows facing onto the courtyard below. There were doors leading to the rooms along the outside of the house but most of these were closed. Just after crossing over from the newer part of the house into the original section, Tessa felt a sudden chill. To cover her nervousness, she approached the first of the two doors on this end of the building. With her hand on the doorknob, she turned to Max and asked, "You said these were just additional bed or guest rooms?"
"Yes. The one at the end of the hallway, near the corner is the same. These are the two smallest such suites. This one is called the Blue Room and the next one is the Green Room. When you open the door, you'll see why."
Max and Annette stood in the hallway watching as Tessa turned the knob. The furniture was hidden under dust covers but the delicate wall coverings as well as the draperies were in complementary shades of blue. The frames of the windows as well as the wood around the doorways was painted white. The room had a definite feminine aura. After a quick glance around, Tessa backed out and proceeded down the corridor once again, following the others.
Midway between the two rooms, Tessa shivered again, more violently this time. "Brrr," she whispered and clutched her arms. Max and Annette turned around to see what was keeping her. "Ohhh!" Tessa wailed and Max rushed to her side. He was barely in time to catch her as she fainted.