The Haunted Garden: Secret of the Memento Mori

The Haunted Garden: Secret of the Memento Mori
Genres: Gothic Horror, Gothic Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: House of Winterspells
Publication Year: 2014
What if you were not who you thought you were, and in another place and time? 1666: The Black Death stalks a tiny village in Middle England, laying waste the population 1966: Love lorn art student, Simon Beaumont, goes on walkabout in the Pennine Mountains to die. Instead, he discovers a ruined garden in a remote villlage haunted by ghosts, especially that of a beautiful girl in a long white dress who seems know him. Simon meets an enigmatic woman, Lara, who lives in a ruined castle at the edge of the village. She initiates Simon into the history of the village and the story of the ghost, Suzanne de Montmorency. Together they unravel the mystery of a macabre wedding portrait, and learn why Suzanne's soul has not been able to rest for three hundred years.
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About the Book

“A girl, wearing a long gown of mottled light, sat on a little seat cut into a high rock, gazing intently into the distance as if she expected someone.
Her soft, dark eyes settled on Simon. She rose to her feet.
Simon blinked and saw only a brush of moonlit lilies casting shadows on the rock….”

Revised and expanded edition out in 2014!

Memento Mori is an old story written in 2003 as a short story inspired by the legend of the Eyam Plague. In 1666, a bolt of fabric infested with bubonic plague made its way to the a tiny village in the Pennine Mountains in middle England, killing almost all of the inhabitants.

Having a background in art history, I had learned about the tradition of the Memento Mori, a painting of death to remind the living of the brevity of life. In medeival times, these were sometimes given as wedding gifts to remind the couple to love each other and bring children into the world, for who knew when the Grim Reaper would arrive? I have found none of these images on the web, but remember distinctly the ones I saw in my college classes long ago: the couple in their wedding clothes, faced by their deaths heads on the opposite panels, all in lurid, Flemish detail.

This is rich story telling stuff!

Also in the mix is the fascinating¬† Maxine Sanders, a famous English witch and 1960’s icon. My character, Lara, is based on Maxine.

In this story a young art student, the ardently romantic and ungrounded Simon Beaumont, goes to the mountains to get over the heartbreak of being dumped by his girlfriend. His plan is to die, but of course thinsg don’g go according to plan. He ends up in the ruined garden of a mansion where a girl in white dress paces the balcony as if she is waiting for someone. He wanders further into the village of Whynnesmere, where the ghosts of the plague victims still walk. There the witch, Lara, takes him under her wing, and the story of the house and the ghostly girl on the balcony and the Black Death is slowly revealed. Simon finds him involved in a web of past and present, love and death, finding who he really is—and was.

This Novel is now live on Amazon Kindle!  Its has much more depth and development than the novella.

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