I enjoy Ms. Beecroft's stories so much, and I had just a little bitty bit left in the budget for February, and this looked good. Different. I'm not into paranormals (really, you want to have sex with a dead man?) (YKINMK.) but I do like ghost stories sometimes.
Charles is a second son, not a bad young man but rather aimless, not much to show for himself so far. Jasper is a priest living with the family for the time being. George is the older son, changeable as a chameleon. His wife is dying of TB. A grass-widowed sister waits the birth of her baby. There are a few servants, Cook, her helpers. Outdoor servants. That's about it. There's the cry of a baby that comes from everywhere and nowhere, and once you've heard it, you hear it continuously. There's … something … in the shadows.
The deaths have a fairly high ick factor, I'd say a 6 or so, but they are only briefly and factually described, no rolling in it. There's a little violence, not bad, but there are gunshot wounds and such.
ETA: Honest to goodness, I don't know why I'm practically nerveless IRL, and can gobble up the worst things that humankind has ever done to itself or the worst disease ever (horrific acts of war, rabies) in non-fiction, but rape or violence or ghosts in fiction make me cry for my mama. But there it is.
ETA further 3/2/13: I can't leave this alone. I'm still thinking about this book, and how much more I wanted to tell you. One of the things I liked is the way Charles starts to grow up over the course of the book, the sense of purpose that he finds. We see him begin to square his shoulders, point his chin up, and become a grownup - so satisfying. The other thing is the relationship between Charles and George. Clearly they're not very close - George is a bit of an enigma, wish I knew more - partly perhaps because of the great age difference, but at the end, when it counts, they draw courage from one another, the blood of brother calls to brother, sharing purpose and direction with no more than a look, and it actually made my eyes misty for a second.