by Nora Roberts
Berkley Pub Group
November 26, 2002
Available in: Paperback (reprint)
Declan Fitzgerald had always been the family maverick, but even he couldn't understand his impulse to buy a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans. All he knew was that ever since he first saw Manet Hall, he'd been enchanted—and obsessed—with it. So when the opportunity to buy the house comes up, Declan jumps at the chance to live out a dream.
Determined to restore Manet Hall to its former splendor, Declan begins the daunting renovation room by room, relying on his own labor and skills. But the days spent in total isolation in the empty house take a toll. He is seeing visions of days from a century past, and experiencing sensations of terror and nearly unbearable grief—sensations not his own, but those of a stranger. Local legend has it that the house is haunted, and with every passing day Declan's belief in the ghostly presence grows.
Only the companionship of alluring Angelina Simone can distract him from the mysterious happenings in the house, but Angelina too has her own surprising connection to Manet Hall—a connection that will help Declan uncover a secret that's been buried for a hundred years.
Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring Maryland, the youngest of five children. After a school career that included some time in Catholic school and the disciplines of nuns, she married young and settled in Keedysville, Maryland. She worked briefly as a legal secretary. "I could type fast but couldn't spell, I was the worst legal secretary ever," she says now. After her sons were born she stayed home and tried every craft that came along. A blizzard in February 1979 forced her hand to try another creative outlet. She was snowed in with a three and six year old with no kindergarten respite in sight and a dwindling supply of chocolate. Born into a family of readers, Nora had never known a time that she wasn't reading or making up stories. During the now famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write down one of those stories. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981. Nora met her second husband, Bruce Wilder, when she hired him to build bookshelves. They were married in July 1985. Since that time, they've expanded their home, traveled the world and opened a bookstore together. Through the years, Nora has always been surrounded by men. Not only was she the youngest in her family, but she was also the only girl. She has raised two sons. Having spent her life surrounded by men has given Ms. Roberts a fairly good view of the workings of the male mind, which is a constant delight to her readers. It was, she's been quoted as saying, a choice between figuring men out or running away screaming. Nora is a member of several writers groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist.”