Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Book Review: Here I Stay by Barbara Michaels

Here I Stay
Author: Barbara Michaels
Publication: Harper (January 30, 2007)

Description: Andrea Torgesen is certain that hard work is exactly what her younger brother Jim needs to help him recover from the trauma of a serious car accident—and turning a decrepit old mansion into a beautiful country inn seems to be the perfect project. But unearthly voices and eerie visions haunt Jim from almost the first instant he sets foot in the dreary old house. And his strange obsession with a long-neglected graveyard is most troubling to his concerned sibling. There is evil in this place where the unthinkable is possible—a terrifying force that Andrea and Jim must confront . . . or forfeit their lives.

My Thoughts: This spooky story is about a woman who will do anything to care for her younger brother. Andrea has been in charge of her younger brother Jim since their parents' deaths when Andrea was 19 and Jim was 7. The parents left nothing and it has been a major struggle for Andrea. She became hyper-focused on creating a good life for them. When Jim is in a car accident and almost dies, Andrea pulls him back. Then she throws herself into turning an old house that she inherited from a great aunt into a bed and breakfast.

Andrea is so focused and single-minded that she refuses to acknowledge that the house has a presence that may not be good for either of them. She finds the previous owner, Mary Fairfax, to be a sort of role model for her as she was a widowed woman with a child who was determined to have a business and succeed in a time when Victorian ladies didn't do that sort of thing. Jim becomes obsessed with Mary's daughter Alice.

Martin Greenspan becomes a long term boarder at the B & B. He's a reporter who is writing a book. He also holds completely opposite political views from Andrea. He successfully befriends Jim and falls in love with Andrea. Andrea keeps him at arm's length because of her own obsessions with success and keeping Jim happy.

The story was spooky and just a little dated. It was written in 1983 in a time before cell phones and the internet. My first real clue to the age of this story was the number of people who were smoking. I have to say that I didn't like Andrea very much. She was so rigid and focused and blind to anything that didn't fit into her worldview.

If you are looking for a story that is spooky but with out graphic violence, this is the one for you.

Favorite Quote:
"You're crazy. Jim doesn't need a psychiatrist. He's fine."

"He is miserable," Martin said flatly. "He is desperately unhappy. You have an enviable capacity for ignoring things you don't want to see, but even you must have realized that. There have been times when his eyes remind me...."

"Say it. You couldn't offend me more than you have already."

"I once saw a couple of louts push a dog out of their car and take off," Martin said. "I suppose it had become a nuisance to them. It wasn't a particularly attractive animal—a mutt, middle-sized, shaggy... It stood their watching the car drive away. Its eyes had the same look Jim's have now. Bewildered, lost, uncomprehending."
I bought this one on May 8, 2008. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite authors but this wasn't my favorite book so I haven't read it in ages. I do remember not liking Andrea but I remember very little else about the story. It sounds like I should give it a reread. Michaels is one of my favorite slump-busting authors.


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