Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review: Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch by Lara Parker

This novel, written by the actress who originated the role of Angelique on the popular supernatural soap opera, is really well-written and well-thought-out. In the book, we see Barnabas Collins, cured of his vampirism, in a relationship with the lady who cured him, Dr. Julia Hoffman, in the year 1971. He is living at Collinwood because the Old House where he once lived was sold to a young lady named Antoinette Harpignies, who Barnabas initially thinks is his old nemesis Angelique, but Barnabas discovers to his horror that a monster is frequenting the forests close to Collinwood and the Old House, another vampire. David Collins grows quite close to a tribe of hippies who live in the forests, particularly Antoinette's daughter, Jacqueline, who had been held in Windcliff Sanitarium until fairly recently. We also see flashbacks to the year 1692 to Salem, Massachusetts, where "witches" were regularly put on trial and tested, and if found to be witches, were summarily executed, often by hanging. Miranda Du Val, a young lady of that time, practices witchcraft, and also has a child, but is often tormented by a teacher at the local school, Judah Zachery, who puts on airs of piety, but turns out to be a very evil man. We see in the story how events of the past work their way into the present, and there are many twists and turns in the story which lead to a twist-climax and a very satisfying ending. Time travel, witchcraft, vampirism, ghosts and other elements all combine to provide a really terrific and horrifying story. I give this story 5 out of 5 stars. Well-done, Lara!!!!!!!

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