sweet-serenity-by-marje-porterstars-5-0._V192240867_ (1)After Allison Anders breaks off an unhealthy engagement with the wealthy, possessive, Robert Morrison, lll, she returns to her hometown, Pineridge, Colorado. The move is inspired by a dream that has become an obsession; she feels drawn to set up a B & B in the old Victorian style house on the Connors homestead. She expects to be met there by her old friend, Carrie, who is going to show her through the house and give her lease papers to sign.

When she arrives, she discovers that Carrie couldn’t make it, so she sent her brother, Cody Connors, in her place. Cody and Allison have a history. They had been high school sweethearts, and he was her first in love, passion, and heartache. She’d had dreams of a life together, but when it had become plain that he didn’t want commitment, she had left abruptly, without saying good-bye. She had gone to Denver and went to college, and she hadn’t seen him since.
It was inevitable that their paths would cross, but after all the heartache in the past, she had convinced herself that she was over him and she could deal with that. Meeting him unexpectedly on that first visit to the house reawakens her feelings—and he makes it clear that he has never gotten over her, and he wants them to try again.
She pushes him away, but there is more to the house and their relationship than they know. The beautiful old house has a story that is over 100 years old –love, death, and murder. It is believed to be haunted. As a child, Allison (Allie as she is known) heard the rumors, but she’d never seen evidence of the ghost and didn’t believe in them.

When Frank Dodd reveals himself to Ally, she is confused and annoyed at first. He looks so familiar she thinks her nemesis has come back, but this man is angry with her, demanding to know what she is doing in Rebecca Connor’s house and why she is moving things around. In the past, he has hassled occupants into leaving, but Allie stands up to him. When he realizes that he is not going to be able to scare her away, he communicates with her, expressing his frustration. He has been trapped in this house for over 100 years—trying to get out so he can find Becky.

 Frank’s spirit is often confused, and there are many things that he doesn’t know. He wants Allie to help him, but she doesn’t know how. She fights for him to remember—gradually things come to him; he knows that he was shot in the back of the head, he recalls a tree and a box where he and Becky used to leave messages.

In a frenzy, Ally runs to the tree and digs around the roots. She finds the box and the notes that Becky had written to him, pouring out her love. The Connors had believed that Becky was going to marry Harold Palmer, a wealthy lawyer, but once she met Frank, her heart belonged to him. Her family hated Frank, so the two of them met clandestinely. One day they slipped away and got married.

Then, Frank left to find wealth and prove himself worthy to her family. Becky didn’t want him to go, but she faithfully waited for his return. When the family discovered she was pregnant, she was disgraced. Harold wanted to marry her no matter what, but she refused and died giving birth to a baby boy in the old Connor home. That happened the same night that Frank was shot as he was on his way to the tree.

The connection with the other world pulls Allie until she begins to question her sanity, even her feelings for Cody. Does she love him, or is she in love with Frank? Is there a fine line between who she is and who Becky is? Can she trust herself to know?

I often enjoy paranormal stories, and this one was a big hit for me. The storyline is well done and held my attention to the last page. The characters captured me. I could feel Allie’s struggle. I loved that Cody cared so much. He tried to understand, tried to be patient, that he held back, wanting everything to be “right” this time. He didn’t want to lose Allie again, but there were times when it seemed he would.Marj Porter wove a love triangle that spanned multi-generations—and in the end, she tied all the threads together to create a result that was best for everyone. But it didn’t come easily!

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