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Rebecca Norman is condemned to die, and as she awaits her execution, she fashions two tallow dolls. A century later, one of the dolls falls into the hands of Cathy Slater, and Cathy begins to change. Only one person can help her - an old woman who has waited with dread for the evil to resurface.
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Jane Brindle is the pseudonym under which Josephine Cox writes novels of suspense. The story of Josephine Cox is as extraordinary as anything in her novels. Born in a cotton-mill house in Blackburn, she was one of ten children. Her parents, she says, brought out the worst in each other, and life was full of tragedy and hardship - but not without love and laughter. At the age of sixteen, Josephine met and married 'a caring and wonderful man', and had two sons. When the boys started school, she decided to go to college and eventually gained a place at Cambridge University, though was unable to take this up as it would have meant living away from home. However, she did go into teaching, while at the same time helping to renovate the derelict council house that was their home, coping with the problems caused by her mother's unhappy home life - and writing her first full-length novel. Not surprisingly, she then won the 'Superwoman of Great Britain' Award, for which her family had secretly entered her, and this coincided with the acceptance of her novel for publication. Josephine has now given up teaching in order to write full time. She says, 'I love writing, both recreating scenes and characters from my past, together with new storylines which mingle naturally with the old. I could never imagine a single day without writing, and it's been that way since as far back as I can remember.' Her previous novels of North Country life are all available from Headline and are immensely popular:From Publishers Weekly:
Gothic hysteria proves no substitute for atmosphere and plot in this supernatural potboiler. Rebecca Norman, transported in 1860 to an Australian penal colony for being a witch, takes a fancy to prison guard Ralph Ryan. Just before she's executed, Rebecca gives Ryan one of two dolls she has fashioned from candle wax; the apparently indestructible dolls carry a curse that plagues Ryan's family for the next century. Brindle (a pseudonym) never explains why Rebecca doesn't use her formidable occult powers to escape her fate, or why she bothers ruining the life of the least of her tormentors. Instead, from this setup the author constructs a contemporary soap opera that begins when Ryan's descendant Matt Slater travels Down Under in search of his roots with his new bride, Cathy, who miraculously finds the second wax doll secreted in Rebecca's former cell. Possessed by Rebecca's spirit, which sometimes talks to her in charged italicized passages, Cathy sets about bringing misery into the lives of Matt, his long-lost great-aunt and a cast of supporting characters who exist primarily to be killed off. The novel's coincidences are almost as rampant as its turgid prose, which features phrases like "unspeakable evil" and "in her heart she knew the darkest evil." Although it aspires to be a serious tale of the supernatural, this novel never rises above the level of a Dark Shadows teleplay.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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