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The Ghost Orchid: A Novel Paperback – April 10, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An isolated Victorian mansion in upstate New York is the backdrop for Goodman's latest literary mystery (after The Drowning Tree), which stars a debut novelist and her fellow residents at the artists' retreat Bosco. Ellis Brooks has been accepted to Bosco primarily because her first novel is to be a fictional account of the mansion's mysterious past; while there will be no deaths during her stay, there's spookiness aplenty, as well as several 1893 murders still begging resolution. Goodman's narrative alternates between Ellis's first-person present and 1893. Coincidentally—or not—two of Bosco's other guests are also working on projects related to the mansion. But they turn out to be little more than convenient accessories as Ellis, the daughter of a psychic (and possessor of certain powers of her own), unlocks clue after mystical clue to secrets long buried by the mansion's original owners. As great a player as any is the mansion itself and its creepy (and possibly haunted) gardens. Is this an updated Victorian drawing room mystery or a romance novel/crime fiction–cum–ghost story? Never mind. Enjoy the atmosphere. And enjoy the ride; its twists and turns mesmerize, even if they don't surprise.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Nestled deep in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains lies the Bosco estate, a nineteenth-century mansion that was once the home of lumber magnate Milo Latham and his wife, Aurora. A rambling property nearly buried under the ruins of once--opulent statuary gardens and mazes, Bosco now serves as an exclusive creative retreat, where artists and writers live and work under almost oppressive seclusion. Inspired by a timeworn pamphlet describing the scandalous events that took place there in 1893, first-time novelist Ellis Brooks comes to Bosco to write about the tragedies that befell the Latham family and the role Corinth Blackwell, a spiritual medium, played in the family's downfall. When Ellis uncovers the family's secrets, she and her fellow writers find themselves imperiled by the house's sinister history. Goodman's mastery of eerily atmospheric and richly intricate plots is nowhere more evident than in this deliciously menacing and harrowing tale of greed and avarice, where perception is reality, and where past and present collide with disastrous results. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (April 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345462149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345462145
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #642,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carol Goodman graduated from Vassar College, where she majored in Latin. After teaching Latin for several years, she studied for an MFA in Fiction. Her writing has been published in a number of literary magazines. She currently teaches writing and works as a writer-in-residence. She lives in Long Island, USA.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Stanclift on August 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a huge fan of Carol Goodman's books, ever since I inhaled "The Lake of Dead Languages". Her writing style, her storytelling ability and her sense of "place" when telling a story are unsurpassed.

Her newest book did not disappoint me. It was filled with intrigue, questions, and a deep connection to the upstate New York region she has so captured. The characters were multi-dimensional, and I felt as if I had gotten to each of them.

My only disappointment was not wanting the book to end ! It is an excellent read, and I am certain fans of her earlier works will find it engrossing.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Haugh VINE VOICE on July 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Admittedly, Carol Goodman is not an author to whom I would naturally gravitate; however, life's encounters sometimes change things. I happened to be working with Ms. Goodman's brother the year her first novel came out. I had the opportunity to meet her and read her first novel. In the years since, I have continued to read her novels and, though I might not put them in the pantheon of greatness, I have always enjoyed them. Her latest novel, The Ghost Orchid, is no exception.

In fact, I would say that this novel is best she has written. Her skill with prose has certainly improved with each novel and her deft handling of two time periods which she weaves together to tell a single story is impressive. I would say that it was this technique that really drew me into her tale which would otherwise have held much less interest for me.

In this novel Ellis Brooks goes to a writers' retreat at an estate called Bosco in upstate New York. As she researches and writes her first novel based on the original owners of the estate, strange things begin to happen and she, as well as the other writers living at the estate, become caught up in the mystery of the summer of 1893. In the wake of the deaths of her children, Aurora Latham invites a medium, Corinth Blackwell, to conduct seances to help her contact her children. This leads to a series of tragic events whose twisted connections stretch all the way to the present day. It is a solid, albeit light, thriller with its suspense and surprises.

On the other hand, though Ms.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By lisatheratgirl VINE VOICE on August 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good night! Ms. Goodman has a triumph here. A real good old-fashioned leave-the-bathroom-light-on all nighter of a ghost story. The author's vivid description fits the late-19th century setting and provides the atmosphere without distracting the reader. The two simultaneous plots, one running in 1893 and one in the present, intertwine perfectly. Fans of Jodi Picoult's Second Glance and Sarah Blake's Grange House and Beth Gutcheon's More than You Know are going to love this one. And the action keeps right on rolling. Carol Goodman must have had an out-of-body experience, because the ones that she describes Corinth Blackwell having are one hundred percent accurate. This is going to be one of my top books of the year. Ms. Goodman's husband, who wrote the poetry for the character of Zalman, did a great job as well. As a minor point, the cover is one of the most beautiful I've seen, I may look for the photo to purchase. If you liked The Lake of Dead Languages, you've seen nothing at all until you've seen this story!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on February 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It is not all that easy to write a modern gothic novel. In fact in my opinion only Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels have really excelled in this genre. Over the past few years, however, Carol Goodman has been successfully writing a more literary kind of gothic novel. Some have been more successful than others -- "The Lake of Dead Languages," for example made for very riveting reading than "The Seduction of Water" and "The Drowning Tree." Her latest offering, "The Ghost Orchid" lies somewhere in-between -- the novel is divided into two subplots, a modern day one, which (unfortunately) takes a while to unfold, and one that takes place in 1893, which is really taut and suspenseful. The trouble (for me) lay in my desire to skim through the modern day subplot in order to get to the meatier chapters dealing with more interesting historical subplot!

For budding writer, Ellis Brooks, the invitation to work at the Bosco estate (a retreat for artists created by the late Aurora Latham in the later part of the 19th century) is a much desired one. Especially since the book she's working on is based on the tragic events that took place at the estate when medium, Corinth Blackwell, was invited by the Lathams to conduct a series of seances. The Lathams had lost three of their children to sickness, and Aurora Latham (the lady of the house) is obsessed with the thought of "contacting" her dead children. What led up to the sad course of events has always been conjecture, but the end result was that Corinth and her lover, Thomas Quinn, abruptly left the estate one night, taking with them Aurora Latham's sole surviving daughter, 10 year old Alice. What happened to the three after that, no one knows, and Ellis has decided to base her first novel on the incident.
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