I finally read my first draft of The House — all 175 double-spaced pages. I think it has a bit of the page-turner quality to it, but, yep, it needs so much work! What I would like to do is periodically post parts of my novel on my blog and let you all have an opportunity to judge whether I have a viable novel or not. For a taste, let me start with the prologue and a brief summary.
This is a story about a house. Not just any kind of house, of course, but one that was built with so much love and so much happiness that it virtually took on a life of its own. Strange as it sounds, it is the only explanation for the wonderful and, later, horrific things that happened at that house until its final day of judgment. It is a sad tale, yes, but one that should be heard, for it warns of the excesses of jealousy, pride, and even love.
The novel roughly covers the time period from the early 1800s to the present and takes place predominantly in the Town of Constance, located somewhere in the northeast. The Town of Constance is a tightly woven community that has managed to seclude itself from the outside world.
The house was built in the early 1800s by the Kindfellows and inhabited by them for almost 16 years. The house has something of a symbiotic relationship with the Kindfellows and protects them to the extent that they care for it. All this ends when the Kindfellows are brutally murdered by Mr. Kindfellow’s best and dearest friend.
The house, distraught over the loss of the family and the happiness it once knew, in turn murders the best and dearest friend. Decades later, as the house has grown increasingly bitter and become an object of curiosity among the town’s young people, it frightens anyone who makes sport of it and eventually kills again.
The house finds salvation in Jonas Buckthorn, a community member who volunteers to renovate the house and find a family to buy it. All this after a young man is found murdered in the house, and the young man’s mother has pleaded to have the house destroyed. Buckthorn prevails but not without learning about the evil spirit inhabiting the house. In order to protect the community, he acquiesces to the house’s demands and eventually chooses to live in the house himself. He and his bride are descendants of the Kindfellows and bare such a resemblance to the original Mr. & Mrs. Kindfellow, that the house comes to believe it can relieve those long-ago halcyon days.
However, the Buckthorns’ happiness is threatened by a jealous and disturbed young girl, who is eventually “dispatched” by the house on the Buckthorn’s wedding day. They take in the young girl’s sister for her convalescence after the young girl’s body is found months later. While both of the Buckthorns have become increasingly uneasy living in the house–Jonas because he suspects the house is guilty of killing the young girl and Mariah because she senses Jonah’s unease– they are resolved to live there until the young girl’s sister has such a terrifying experience that she refuses to sleep alone or stay in the house another day.
Separately, without any discussion, both Jonas and Mariah determine that they should vacate the house. Of course, the house will not let them leave.