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The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic: Beacon Hill Chronicles 1 Kindle Edition

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A beautiful and haunting tale of friendship, redemption and forgiveness across generations. Learn more


Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Call me Ishmael," my father used to say. At the time I didn't realize that was the opening line of Moby Dick.

I was pretty little when we drove down to New Bedford and he took me to the Seaman's Bethel on Johnny Cake Hill. We sat in the pew with the plaque that identified it as Herman Melville's.


That's one of the few memories I have of my father, that trip to New Bedford. I don't remember my mother being with us though she probably was. Both of them died a year later on a wet and dismal February night as they were driving back from Boston. They'd been to Daddy's thirtieth birthday party at my grandmother's house on Beacon Hill - the house I subsequently went to live in and grow up in. The house my husband and I have come back to now.


"It's huge," Stan says as we walk up Mount Vernon Street. "Five stories? You lived here alone with your grandmother?"

"And Nell," I tell him. "GrammyLou's housekeeper."

"Wow."

It is a beautiful spring day. All the cherry trees in Boston Common are in full bloom and the air is warm and filled with the scent of lilacs and salt water from the harbor. Wisteria drips from the vines twining over the bowed windows which look dark and grubby.

"Three people in a house that size? All twelve of us lived in a place about as big as one floor of it."

"Well," I laugh, "there was the crazy old lady in the attic."

Stan turns and grins at me. "What?"

"It was sort of a joke between GrammyLou and me." I stare up at the six arched windows along the mansard roof at the top of GrammyLou's house. "Actually, there's a ballroom on the top floor. I grew up in the country and when I came to live here I was terrified of all the noise in the city. GrammyLou always told me not to be scared. It was just the crazy old lady in the attic acting up."

"A ballroom?" Stan can't get past that. "You had a ballroom?"

I shrug. "I've only been in it a few times. GrammyLou closed it up after Daddy's accident. They had a birthday party for him up there the night he died. She didn't even take down the decorations. She just locked the door and refused to ever go upstairs again." I take Stan's big arm and snuggle against him. He's my bulwark against a confusing world. "GrammyLou adored Daddy. She never recovered from his death."

About the Author

Kathleen Valentine was born and grew up in the Allegheny highlands of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in The Arts and worked for over twenty years in the art/marketing departments of high-tech corporations. Since 2003 she has run her own design business, Valentine-Design.com. She is the author of  Fry Bacon. Add Onions, a cookbook/memoir of growing up Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as 3 novels, several novelettes and short story collections, and knitting instruction books.  Her blog at KathleenValentine.com has been read by thousands of readers since its beginning in July 2005. She currently lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America's oldest seaport, and is writing every day.

Product Details

  • File Size: 759 KB
  • Print Length: 59 pages
  • Publisher: Parlez-Moi Press (July 4, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 4, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005AJC0JA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,424 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kathleen Valentine is the award-winning author of four novels, many novellas & short stories, books of knitting patterns, & a cookbook/memoir about growing up Pennsylvania Dutch. She has been listed as an Amazon Top Selling Author in Horror and in Mystery/Suspense. As a writer her primary interest is delving into the psychology of her characters. Her stories are sometimes mysterious, sometimes funny, usually romantic, and frequently frightening. Her characters range from lost children and grumpy old folks, to mysterious men and women who are not to be trifled with.

She lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America's oldest seaport.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Page Turner on September 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was hooked from the very beginning: "Call me Ishmael," my father used to say. At the time I didn't realize it was the opening line of Moby Dick."

Kathleen Valentine has written an outstanding novella with surprises,twists and turns enough for a larger work. This author handles the descriptions of both her characters and the setting so artfully that the reader gets not a hint that what is being read is merely necessary description. You see the old Boston brownstone as if you were there and the dialogue between her characters is true to the ear.

I was sorry to see the story end and look forward to other works by this author now that I've discovered her.
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful By N. Blackburn on August 6, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
OK, I must confess to the reader of this review that I am a bit biased to Kathleen Valentine's writing. I fell in love with it in her book, The Old Mermaid's Tale and with almost every piece I have read of hers since. Her range of writing, from women's lit to this piece of work which she classifies as a psychological thriller, is spectacular. Her character development...always superb! This piece of work has a specific aura of sarcastic wit to it, which adds to the vibe of the story. I also tend to devour this "feeling" in books that I read. I always feel when I pick up a Kathleen Valentine work that I am picking up an authentic adult piece of literature...

Another thing I must confess to the reader of this review..I am your typical type A personality who loves to classify things...Kathleen Valentine is certainly on my list of top 10 contemporary authors
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By RASCJN on July 10, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story drew me in immediately. The characters are wonderfully drawn. Enough twists in the plot to keep you guessing and an ending you won't see coming.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Clare Higgins on November 1, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Before horror stories were about vampires and zombies, writers like Henry James created stories about ordinary people that you could identify with, but who found themselves in situations that made your blood run cold. This story reminded me of those. It is the story of Mattie, an orphan who was raised by a wealthy grandmother she calls GrammieLou in an elegant Boston townhouse. When GrammieLou dies, Mattie and her husband return to the house, but as they clean it out, discovery after discovery leads to a shocking revelation. Poor Mattie is horrified by what was going on in the very house in which she grew up. Some shocking twists and turns and an ending that will stay in your mind for a long time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By reyen on October 31, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I love a good short story, especially on a cool autumn evening. The Crazy Old Lady In The Attic was a pleasant surprise, full of vivid, descriptive writing that took me to the brownstones of Boston for a short while. The vivid descriptions are the strength of this story. The conclusion held an unexpected twist, tying together clues dropped into the earlier story. I'll read this one again and again!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Seldon on July 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the setting here. I thought the descriptions of the old brownstone, in particular, were very lovely, rich and vivid. It was the perfect kind of place for a heroine to come to the slow, creeping realisation that her family had some skeletons in the attic, as it were -- well-detailed and you could really imagine the history of the place.

That said, I didn't think the story lived up to the setting's potential. Mattie's discovery of her family's secrets felt rushed and kind of forced, to me, and I didn't think the writing gave nearly as immersive (really, Firefox spellchecker? You -really- think 'immersive' is not a word? ...but I digress) a picture of those secrets' effects on her as it did of the setting. Also, I found it predictable -- the gist of the story was very clear, well before the characters worked it out. As such, I didn't think the psychological horror was terribly effective.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason G. Anderson on November 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found out about The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic from a thread on a forum. The description really grabbed me, and I loved the fact that it was only 15k words long. At 99c, it was really a no-brainer purchase, and one I'm glad I made.

The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic is written in first person, present tense. Since most stories are usually written in past tense, this change was slightly disorientating for a few pages. But after the first few pages, it seemed perfectly natural and I found myself really getting into and enjoying the style.

(I know some people don't like first person stories, but I've never had a problem with them).

The writing was clear, and I didn't notice any errors as I was reading. The plot had a few nice twists and turns to it, some obvious, and some not-so-obvious. I managed to spot the main clues were actually clues, but I didn't quite manage to put it all together until the final reveal. The pacing was good, and Kathleen did a fantastic job of building the story to it's climax. I think most readers who like a more cerebral horror story (as opposed to a person/monster running around killing people) will really enjoy the final result.

I can't find any fault with the story, so I give it a well-deserved 5 stars.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sunshine on November 3, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I have been following Valentine's work for quite a while and look forward to each new offering. This tale is another winner. You won't find blood and gore in The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic, this is psychological horror in the vein of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." The descriptions of life on Boston's Beacon Hill are vivid and engaging and Mattie and her sexy husband Stan seem like people I would have as friends. The ending came as a complete shock which grew creepier the more I thought about it. The horror of what Mattie had unknowingly lived with didn't fully hit me until the story was over. An elegantly crafted story with a lingering after-shock. Highly recommended.

On another note, I admire Valentine's versatility. I am not a knitter but I have given her slender book, The Mermaid Shawl & other Beauties: Shawls, Cocoons & Wraps, to two of my knit-wit friends and they've made gorgeous lacy shawls that will be heirlooms for their daughters. I'll give the book to my mother for Christmas this year and hope she gives me a shawl next Christmas. (I dog-eared my favorite!)
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