From the Garden of Memory

Suffused with a ”heightened atmosphere of decay,” Williams’ smartly stylized gothic novel explores the shadow lands of family legacy. In local Illinois lore, the wealthy Willoughby clan is cursed: Behind the gloomy columns of their stone mansion, generations of suicides and untimely deaths have left wry, beautiful 19-year-old Kate as the family’s sole survivor. Her loneliness is relieved when distant, sunnier Willoughby relatives come to visit — including hearty Southerner Uncle Charlie and his handsome, secretive son, Gilbert. True to genre, Kate’s dangerous affair with Gilbert goes slightly over-the-top. But her resulting rebellion against the family’s tragic destiny is fraught with real-life resonance. B+

From the Garden of Memory
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