Jenny McPartland, a divorcee and mother of 2 at 27 lives in a modest Manhattan apartment. She scrapes to make ends meet for her two daughters, Beth 3, and Tina, 2.
Her luck seems to change when she meets the charismatic Erich Krueger at an art gallery where she works. She is literally swept off her feet by Erich and subsequently marries him. They leave Manhattan for Erich's ancestral home in Granite Springs, Minnesota.
Once in Minnesota, alarming facets of Erich's personality appear. His relentless obsession with his dead mother, Caroline and his constant references to her are alarming. It is interesting that he applies no maternal name to her; she is always "Caroline." Caroline at the start of this story has been dead for over 25 years, having died in 1956 when Erich was then 10. (The story is set in 1981-83). Erich insists Jenny dress like Caroline; wear Caroline's aqua colored gown to bed; use the same pine scented soap Caroline used and in general, replace the mother he lost at 10.
More cracks appear in Erich's seemingly flawless armor. Mysterious deaths are part of the Granite Springs home. A young woman disappeared some 10 years earlier and is presumably dead; dogs also were presumably killed and Jenny and Erich's baby dies a mysterious death. Jenny's daughters say that Jenny killed their brother, that she "covered his face with a blanket."
But did she? Jenny doubts this. She also has doubts in Erich, who kidnaps the girls and hides even more terrifying secrets on and around the property. Life with Erich, as Jenny was to discover was a chilling portrait etched in terror.
Definitely worth 10 or more stars. This is my favorite book by Mary Higgins Clark.