Reading The Family Plot felt like watching a home renovation show on HGTV. It gave me the same sense of vicarious satisfaction to imagine the old house that is the focus of the story being dismantled piece by piece, with Dahlia Dutton and her crew deciding what can be salvaged and what isn’t worth saving from the wrecking ball. It made me wish I could show up to work in cruddy jeans and boots and root around in a century-old carriage house. I wouldn’t mind switching places with Dahlia for a little while and trying out her very interesting career.
If it weren’t for the ghosts, that is.
Because yeah, I neglected to mention that the old Withrow house Dahlia is sorting through comes with some serious ghostly baggage. They’re not the creepiest ghosts I’ve ever encountered—not all of them are out for blood—but you definitely don’t want to take a shower in this house. Better to go unwashed than…well, I’ll let you read and find out for yourself.
I’m a little surprised I was so enamored with the salvage business, because I’m typically the “throw it away and ask questions later” type. I also don’t have much patience for shopping, and I get overwhelmed in stores that are disorganized or have too much stock. If I somehow came into possession of a house like the Withrows’, I’d probably take one look and say, “Burn it to the ground.” Although with the whole ghost thing, maybe that wouldn’t be the worst idea? Still, it’s a testament to Cherie Priest’s talents that she was able to convince me that old things can be cool, and it’s worth the effort to fix and clean them up.
I first heard of Cherie Priest a million years ago (aka 2009) when her steampunk Clockwork Century series exploded in popularity, but this is the first time I’ve read her. I’m hooked now for sure. The hard part will be deciding which one to dive into first. Will it be the alternate history about the clairvoyant Floridian, or the epistolary urban fantasy story based on the life of Lizzie Borden? (Seriously, what kind of delightfully twisted mind comes up with stuff like this?) Decisions, decisions!