The Invited by Jennifer McMahon
Helen and Nate decide to leave their cushy city life and head for the quiet of the countryside. They plan to build the house of their dreams themselves, board by board. After finding the exactly perfect piece of land in Vermont and buying it for a rock bottom price they feel like things just couldn’t be better. Until they’re not.
As soon as they move onto their property and begin building the town starts to talk. Helen is told about the woman, Hattie Breckenridge, who lived on the land over a hundred years ago and met a violent end. Things begin appearing and disappearing, money, phones, food, talismans.
Helen taught history and is very conscious of the life force she feels in found objects. She is determined to find old things to incorporate into their home and if she can find objects that came from their area all the better. She finds a beam from a school, bricks from an old mill for their hearth, and in an antique shop, a mantel. And with these objects the life forces Helen is conscious of begin to appear to her and she is even more determined to learn about Hattie and her descendants. She is living on their land and the beam and bricks and mantel are telling their story, Hattie’s story, sometimes desperate, sometimes mysterious, sometimes scary, sometimes hopeful.
As I read this I often looked around the room at the things I’ve acquired at antique shops with new eyes. You never know who you are inviting in.