Five Mile House
By Karen Novak
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781582340968, 288pp.)
Publication Date: October 1, 2000
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A modern day mystery haunted by a 19th Century ghost.
Eleanor Bly haunts Five Mile House, looking for someone to tell her story to. Jumping from a window to her death in 1889, Eleanor's soul is at unrest until the truth is told about her life and death. She finally finds Leslie, one hundred years later. Leslie bears an uncanny resemblance to Eleanor and is sympathetic if only because of the ghost she carries around herself...
In a moment of temporary insanity, Leslie shoots and kills the suspected perpetrator of a hideous child murder. When evidence is inconclusive, Leslie enters a severe depression and is temporarily institutionalized. When she is released from the hospital, her husband, in an effort to change their environment, takes his family to a small New England town to work on a mysterious restoration project of Five Mile House. It doesn't take long for them to hear about Eleanor, a 19th century madwoman who murdered her seven children in Five Mile House. Leslie becomes obsessed with Eleanor's story, suspecting that the truth may be different from the accepted myth. Wellington, locally known for its coven of wiccan followers, has many secrets of its own.
The stories of both women are told in parallel narratives until they converge at the very end. As frightening as it is suspenseful, Five Mile House is a classic page-turner, a haunted house story and also the story about the lengths a mother will go to in order to protect her children.
This is Karen Novak's first novel. She lives in Mason, Ohio.