Hellfire by John Saul
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Carolyn Rogers marries Phillip Sturgess -- rich, eligible, successful bachelor with a heart of gold despite his snobbish breeding. Phillip, along with Carolyn's ex-husband, plan on reopening a mill where a group of the town's children burned to death in the late 1800s and has recently become the site of many mysterious accidents. And that's about all the Carolyn and Phillip have to do with the story.
The main focus of the story is Beth Rogers, Carolyn's daughter from her first marriage, and Tracey Sturgess, Phillip's daughter from his first marriage. Tracey goes out of her way to make Beth feel unwanted through any means necessary, and Beth finds herself miserable and lonely. Beth befriends a girl-child who died in the fire at the mill (not unlike the girl in Saul's Comes the Blind Fury) who becomes something of a best friend to Beth. Finally, this all comes to head in a "grand finale".
This was a good read, typical early-Saul fare. It shared many similarities with Comes the Blind Fury (and countless other books he's written), but it was different enough to keep me reading. Saul has a way of really making you love and hate his characters. I sort of thought that the ending was a little rushed and the revealed "secret" a little weak, but an enjoyable read still.
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