Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Review: Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island

Paul’s wife, Allison, dies after a short battle with brain cancer. Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Islandchronicles the week after Allison’s funeral, when Paul experiences dreams that are too real, sees ghostly apparitions, and gets drawn into a historical love story.
Along with waking up with scratches from a hairy demon he sees only in his nightmares, Paul is trying to care for his now motherless three children. He goes back to work as a real-estate agent and is asked by a friend to sell his parents’ ancestral home, Stillwell—a house known for ghosts all its own.
This is the second book for Michael Phillip Cash, who writes with a simple yet engaging style. He easily draws readers into the story by creating three-dimensional characters who are easy to care about. Readers want to help Paul get his twin teenage children to stop arguing and to eat, and to comfort the older-than-her-years baby of the family, Stella.
Cash also manages to capture different stages of grief through Paul and his children. Paul can’t let go because of his love for his wife; Jesse wants to know his mom is safe; little Stella Luna wants to hear real-life stories to remember her mother by; and Veronica says, “I’m glad Mom is gone. It was too hard to watch her…She didn’t even know us in the end. Is it wrong to feel relieved?” Readers will find the hard truths of suffering acutely portrayed.

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