The Tea House
During the summer of 1925, to entertain themselves and their friends, Michael and Emily Stewart, thirteen-year-old fraternal twins, dabble in spiritualism. These secret sessions take place in the tea house on the grounds of the Stewart’s estate. Using the ghost of an ancestor who drowned when she was a teenager, Emily convinces the neighborhood children that she can communicate with the dead. One friend tells her grandmother, who invites the twins to her house for a session. Then another asks Emily to visit his father, who has never recovered from the loss of a son in World War I. Emily’s conscience eventually prompts her to confess their hoax, with dire consequences.
Paul Elwork has written vivid descriptions in a lucid, literate style. As this ghost story unfolds, however, the plot wanders, and although filled with many interesting characters, it somehow loses focus. Another hundred pages filling in the gap between 1926 and the last chapter set in 1939 would further enrich the story.