I was sucked into this gripping, funny novel from the moment I opened it, and I had that "Where has this author been all my life?" feeling as I read. I knew right away that I'd just discovered a new favorite author, and isn't that just the best feeling?
Amy Goodnight has agreed to take care of her aunt's ranch in Texas while her aunt takes her first vacation in years. Amy's sister Phin is there to "help" her, but Phin is always absorbed in her various esoteric experiments, so Amy ends up doing most of the practical chores around the place. She tries to act as though everything is perfectly normal, but the fact is that her family is anything but. They are a family of witches, each with their own specific skill set, but Amy tries to present a normal front to the rest of the world.
Keeping up appearances isn't easy, though, when a powerful ghost shows up, determined to communicate with Amy. She is terrified, beset by disturbing childhood memories that made her turn away from her supernatural abilities in the first place. But as the situation escalates, involving outsiders (including a handsome, highly annoying cowboy from the neighboring ranch, an archaeological dig, and a team of ghost-hunting grad students), it becomes clear that the situation is not only dangerous, but risks exposing all the secrets Amy has been striving for so long to keep hidden.
What a fun, quirky, creepy novel this is. I loved Amy and her bizarre family, particularly the interplay between her and her sister Phin. The supernatural aspects are skillfully woven into a story with engaging characters, a solid mystery, romance, and plenty of humor interspersed with spine-tingling moments. This is my first book by Rosemary Clement-Moore, and I'm delighted that she has several others out there, which I've already added to my list. Fans of Nina Kiriki Hoffman will be sure to enjoy this one - it has that same character-driven, contemporary/fantastical feel to it, and it really hit the spot as my second read for this year's R.I.P. Challenge.
Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore (Delacorte Press, 2011
Also reviewed at:
Bibliophile Support Group: "It's sexier, deeper, ghostier Nancy Drew-like fun! It's
crackling with tension - both the sexual and the paranormal - and I was
glued and totally invested in both the characters and the plot!"
The Ya Ya Yas: "Overall, I liked Texas Gothic but didn’t love it. Mostly
because I was lot more interested in the Phin-Mark romance than Amy-Ben,
which I never completely bought into."