But one important word of caution: Do not read this book after dark. And most especially, do not read this book just before falling asleep or you will have nightmares.
Masterfully written by Chris Bohjalian, this is the story of Chip Linton, a competent and confident regional airline pilot whose plane one August day collides with a flock of geese. The plane loses both engines. With 48 people on board, Captain Linton ditches the crippled jet in Lake Champlain in Vermont, all the while remembering the “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger did the same thing in the Hudson River with no loss of life. Linton isn’t as fortunate. While he survives along with eight others, he is never the same man, haunted with memories of what might have been and forever grieving the loss of those 39 lives. His loving wife, Emily, decides it’s time for a change, so the couple, along with their twin 10-year-old daughters, Hallie and Garnet, move from tony West Chester, Pennsylvania to a century-old house in an isolated part of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. But the house is haunted and seems to be harboring strange secrets and horrors. For one thing, there is a mysterious door in the basement that is sealed shut with 39 bolts—the same number as those who died on Chip’s plane. What is behind that door? Meanwhile, the local women who befriend Emily call themselves “herbalists,” but they are more like a coven of witches with their bizarre names and odd potions, teas, and tinctures. Most alarming of all, these women seem to have a nefarious aspiration regarding the Linton family. There is evil inherent in this quaint New England village, and it is terrifying.
And the ending? It’s a sucker-punch to the gut that left me almost breathless, screaming “Noooooooooooo!”
With three distinct plotlines that merge into one petrifying tale, this is an ideal book for those who enjoy a good, scary read, especially on a chilly autumn day. (Not night…no, no, no. Do not read this at night! You have been warned.)