Luce is a young woman living alone away from the town, across the lake as caretaker in an old, empty Lodge. It is a lonely life, but it is safe and peaceful which is exactly what she needs after she fled town. Her peace is disrupted though when the two stranger children are brought to her house. Dolores and Frank are twins, the children of Luce’s sister Lily who was murdered by her husband, Bud. A murder Bud was not convicted for. The twins are troublesome; they don’t talk, don’t show emotions and have a scary fondness for fire.
Bud follows the children to Luce’s Lodge, convinced that they have something that belongs to him, and determined to find it, no matter what he has to do to get it.
Stubblefield is the grandson of the man Luce has been caretaking for and has inherited his granddad’s properties as well as his debts. He has very fond memories of Luce from years ago and very carefully sets about getting closer to her. Determined not to scare her, Stubblefield turns out to be exactly what Luce and the children need in their lives.
When the children see Bud in the Lodge they panic and run of, with Bud hot on their heels, determined to silence the twins forever, because if they decide to start talking he could yet be convicted for murder.
I wasn’t crazy about this book. While the story is interesting, the way in which it was told didn’t quite work for me. The whole story read as description after description, and while that works wonderfully well when it comes to painting a picture of the area the story is set in, it doesn’t achieve a lot when it comes to getting emotions and feelings across.
I never got a real feel for any of the characters in this book. I got from the descriptions that the children were traumatised, Bud thoroughly bad, Luce a good person but a victim of circumstances and Stubblefield a generous and big-hearted man, but they never actually came off the page as such.
I can’t help feeling that a whole lot more could have been done with this story and these characters if only the story had been told in a different voice, and that made this a somewhat disappointing read which I ended up rating 3.5 stars.