Seventeen-year-old Anie Freemont never believed the stories her papa told about their ancestral home, Moonhill. Mystical rings which eat souls, genies in jars . . . she figured the frightening tales were simply another of her antique-dealing Papa’s eccentricities. That is, until Papa’s diagnosed with dementia and she’s forced to take him back to Moonhill and the estranged family they fled when she was three-years-old.
All Anie wants is to help Papa get better so they can leave as fast as possible. But from the moment they arrive, she’s isolated from him by their family. She notices disturbing things too, including human-shaped shadows in Moonhill’s gallery and a pentagram under her bed. When Papa turns violent and Anie discovers he’s not seeing a doctor like she was told, the deceit leads her to a decade-old mystery surrounding her mother’s death in Moonhill’s graveyard. A mystery she must unravel if she wants to find the root of Papa’s illness.
But to separate truth from tale, Anie will have to use every trick she learned while dealing antiques with Papa to outwit a family who prefers to keep her in the dark—and an entity which is far different than the Christian demon she first suspects. If she fails, Papa will end up institutionalized for life--and she may never escape Moonhill, unless it’s in a body bag like her mother.
Complete at 70,000-words, MOONHILL is a YA gothic with an atmosphere reminiscent of classics by Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. It will appeal to readers who enjoyed the con artist main character in Holly Black’s WHITE CAT.
First 150 Words:
It began in an abandoned church.
I was kneeling on the dust-coated floor, rolling up an antique tapestry of a shepherd driving his flock toward a blood-red horizon. Papa was nearby, picking the lock on the sacristy door.
Given a stiff wire and a narrow screwdriver, Papa could unlock pretty much anything. This time, however, it shouldn’t have been necessary. We’d dickered with the priest for the church’s contents and paid him upfront in cash. Whatever lay in the room beyond the door rightly belonged to us.
A waft of mildew and stale incense puffed up from the tapestry. I stopped working to rub a sneeze from my nose and looked at Papa.
The sunlight, rippling through the stained-glass windows behind me, smeared the back of his old leather flight jacket with purple and blue. He glanced over his shoulder at me, the colored light now bruising his face.