Marielle Bishop marries into a Southern family with a dark past in this mystery about love and loss. Marielle meets her future husband, Carson, online and moves to the steamy Virginia hills from her home in the arid Phoenix desert. She soon learns that the family’s stately mansion, Holly Oak, houses more than just her new family. The Bishop family since the Civil War has been afflicted with hardship and strife—with many locals blaming their troubles on the estate’s alleged haunting. Suspicious herself, Marielle decides to investigate the family’s former matriarch and spy during the Civil War—to figure out why her spirit refuses to leave the property.
The story revolves around the women of Holly Oak and the mystery that holds the house in limbo. It all starts with Susannah who lived in the house during the civil war and was suspected of being a Union spy; it is suspected her ghost haunts the house looking for redemption. Then you have the Matriarch of the present, Adelaide, who is in her nineties and thinks that it isn't Susannah who haunts the house but the house itself that bears a grudge against it's tragic past. Then finally you have Marielle who has just married Adelaide's grandson-in-law (his first wife was Adelaide's granddaughter) and is now living in the house with Adelaide, Carson her husband, and his two children. Marielle is realizing that there is something deeper that lies within Holly Oak. Marielle is determined to find the truth behind the mystery of the house that is shrouded in time with women who share a heritage of loss.
In this contemporary historical Christian fiction, Susan Meissner brings the present and past together filled with mystery. Susannah’s story comes to life as the author leads the reader through decisions Susannah and the other Holly Oak women made that affected the family for generations.
It was a delightful read and I recommend it to all those who love a good contemporary historical fiction read.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program in return for my review.