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Marion Zimmer Bradley, one of the most beloved and praised fantasy storytellers of our time, has once again written a compelling and powerful novel with larger-than-life characters.
Winter Musgrave's past is largely blank, her memories missing or tissue-thin. She seem to be possessed--objects shatter when she passes, the corpses of animal appear on her doorstep. And she has the terrible feeling that something horrible happened in her empty past--results of which are now haunting her with unbridled fury.
Seeking help, Winter turns to Truth Jourdemayne and learns that the key to unlocking her lost memories lies within herself--and in the magickal circle of friends in college. But the circle was broken long ago. Winter must reconstruct it is she is to save her life.
Not just the story of a woman's search for her missing past, Witchlight is a powerful novel of contemporary fantasy that pulls readers in and hold them until the final page. Anyone who loves good contemporary fiction will devour Witchlight.
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Marion Zimmer Bradley was born in Albany, NY and lived for many years in Berkeley, CA. Best known as a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romantic occult fiction, Bradley was also the editor of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine and many anthologies. Her most famous works include the Darkover series of science fiction novels and the New York Times bestselling The Mists of Avalon. Bradley's romantic, magical, contemporary novels for Tor include The Inheritor, Heartlight, Ghostlight, and Witch Hill. Marion Zimmer Bradley died in 1999.
1A Winter's TaleA sad tale's best for winter. I have one of sprites and goblins.--WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
THE HOUSE was called Greyangels. It had been built in the last years of the old colony and added to in the first years of the new nation. Old orchards from its days as a farm still surrounded the house; their hundred-year-old trees long past fruiting but still able to bring forth a glory of apple blossoms each spring. But the house's days of ruling over acres of corn and squash and rows of neatly barbered apple trees were long past. Now, only the house remained. Its pegged, wide-planked floors, its lath-and-horsehair plastered walls, its low ceilings with their smoke-blackened beams, its tiny windows with their wavery, hand-rolled glass, had dwindled from luxurious to old-fangled to quaint to dowdy, before being forgotten entirely and abandoned to the mercy of time and the seasons.Years passed. The house was nearly dead when it came to the attention of the living once more, to be gently renovated to suit the tastes of a generation raised with indoor plumbing and furnace heat, a generation which summered outside the city. But tastes and fashions continued to change, and soon New Yorkers had less desire for an old summer house on the banks of the Hudson River.The house passed from hand to hand to hand, drifting farther even from the memory of its initial purpose, as cars got faster and roads improved and the suburbs moved north and north again, until Dutchess County was filled with New York commuters racing for their daily trains and it seemed that Amsterdam County, too, would soon fall to tract housing and the desire of the city's residents to reside in the peace of what once had been country.But for now the house was spared, sitting on its dozen acres between the railroad and the Hudson, its nearest neighbor a private college with a lurid reputation and an artists' colony that sought anonymity above all things. For a while longer the old farmhouse still sat quietly in the quiet countryside, and nothing disturbed its peace.
THAT MUST BE why I came here, Winter Musgrave told herself, although to be brutally accurate, she could not remember the precise details of her flight here, and prudence--or fear--kept her from reaching too forcefully into the ugly confusion where the memory might lie. There were things it was better not to be sure of--including the frightening knowledge that her memory had--sometime in the unrecorded past--ceased to be her willing servant and had become instead a sadistic jailer waiting to spring new and more horrible surprises on her. A day that did not bring some jarring revelation, however small, was a day Winter had learned to treasure.The quiet helped, and the slow pace of the countryside as it ripened into spring. She had a vague understanding that she had not been here long; old snow had still lingered in shadows and hollows when she had driven her white BMW up the curving graveled driveway, and now only the palest green of half-started leaves softened the outline of the surrounding trees: birch, maple, dogwood--and the apple trees in gnarled files marching down to the river.Winter did not like the apple trees. They worried her and made her feel vaguely ashamed, as if something had been done among the apple trees that must never be remembered, never spoken of. The orchard formed an effective barrier between Winter and the river that could be glimpsed only from the second-floor bedroom.But she could see the apple trees from there, too, and so Winterhad made her bedroom downstairs, in the tiny parlor-turned-spare-bedroom off the kitchen, which was both warmer and hidden from the sight of the flowering orchard.So long as no one knew where she was, she was safe.The notion was a familiar one by now; familiar enough that it might even be safe to think about.Why should no one know where I am?Winter picked up a heavy carnival-glass paperweight from the Shaker table and stared down at its oil-slick surface as if it were a witch's crystal and she could find answers there. Wordless reluctance and fear surged over her, making her hastily return the paperweight to the table and nervously pace the room.The front parlor of the farmhouse was sparsely furnished; there was the Shaker table with a lamp on it, a Windsor rocker made of steam-bent ash, and a long settle angled before the fieldstone hearth. A hand-braided rag rug softened the time-worn oak-planked floor, and on one whitewashed wall hung a mirror, its thick glass green with age, set in a curving cherry frame.Winter stopped automatically in front of the mirror and forced herself to look. It could not hurt more than coming upon her reflection by surprise, when the clash between what she saw and what she remembered fashioned another of the small humiliations and terrors by which she marked out her days.Hair: not wavy and chestnut any longer, but flat and lank and dark. The skin too pale, its texture somehow fragile, flesh drawn tight over prominent bones that said the border between slender and gaunt had been crossed long ago. Hazel eyes, sunken and shadowed and dull; a contrast to the days when more than one admirer had sworn he could see flecks of baltic amber in their sherry-colored depths. Her mouth, pinched and pale and old. She couldn't remember the last time she'd worn lipstick, or what color it had been. Did she even have a lipstick here? She couldn't remember--did it matter?Of course it does--Jack always said I should wear as much warpaint as I wanted; it made them nervous ... .The scrap of the past flashed to the surface like a bright fish and was gone; pushed away; sacrificed to the need to hide.From what? Frustration almost made Winter willing to risk thepain of trying to remember. Restlessly, she made the circuit of her world again: the front parlor, with its welcoming hearth; the kitchen, looking out on the remains of someone's garden and a windbreak of tall pines; the downstairs bedroom, bright and homelike with patchwork quilts on the white iron bed and a bright copper kettle atop the pot-bellied woodstove; the entryway with its door to the outside world and the staircase leading to the second floor--the place that held so many frightening possibilities. From the front hall she could see the woodshed that held half a rick of oak and pine split for burning, and that held her car as well. She'd need to bring in more wood soon, for the electric heat that provided the farmhouse's heat was feeble and unreliable, and she'd learned to keep fires burning both in the bedroom stove and the fireplace in the parlor to fend off the chill of early spring.But that would mean she'd have to leave the house; to walk outside in the open air.How long has it been since I've gone outside? Sheer stubbornness made her demand an answer of her memory, and at last the image surfaced: Winter, carrying suitcases--suitcases?--slipping on patches of rotting ice in her haste to get into the house, running away from ...The knowledge was so close she could nearly grasp it; she shied away, knowing that the balance between fear of knowing and fear of ignorance would soon shift, and she would reclaim at least that fragment of her past. Even though it must be something terrible, to drive her to hide here, crouching behind closed shutters and drawn curtains like a wounded animal in its burrow.I haven't been out of this house in ... weeks, her thought finished lamely. It was no good knowing that this was April--surely it was April; the new leaves and the masses of daffodils she could see from the window told her it must be April at least--if she did not know when she'd gotten here. March? Was there still snow on the ground in March? Maybe it had been February ...But whenever it had been, she had spent enough time since then indoors. More than enough. Spring was the season of rebirth; it was time for her to be born.There was a sudden copper taste in her mouth, but this time the fear seemed to spur her determination rather than hinder it. Before she could think what she was doing, Winter strode into the hall and flung open the door to the outside.The living air of the countryside spilled in, and the sunlight and the breeze on her skin were like messengers from another world. The spaded earth alongside the flagstone path was dark and fragrant with recent rain, and tiny sharp grass blades lanced up through the soil beside the darker, more established green of daffodil and iris, tulip and lily of the valley. The flagstones curved down and to the left, to meet the graveled drive that led from the garage to the outside world.There was no one anywhere in sight. Not even the road was visible, and no traffic noise disturbed the illusion that time had not gone forward since the farmhouse had first been built.It's okay. It really is. There's nothing out here that can hurt me, Winter told herself bracingly. With as much determination as courage, she stepped from the house to the flagstoned path.One step, two ... As she left the shadow of the house a wave of giddy disorientation broke over her; she felt the same faint lightheadedness that she imagined one would feel opening a tiger's cage. The rolling pastoral landscape around her seemed to rear up like an angry bear, threatening to crash down upon her and rend her to bits.It's just your imagination! That's what they always said ... . A sudden flash of memory swirled out of the vortex of sensation, striking sharklike without warning.Another vista of green, but this time tamed and tended. Bright autumn sunlight warming the terrace, where patients in discordantly cheery bathrobes stared mutinously ou...
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Book Description Tor Books, 1997. Paperback. Condition: New. New item. May have light shelf wear. Seller Inventory # 170925021
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