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My Soul to Keep by Judith Hawkes
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My Soul to Keep (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Judith Hawkes

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351321,274 (3.75)12
Member:moonshineandrosefire
Title:My Soul to Keep
Authors:Judith Hawkes
Info:Signet (1997), Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:*****
Tags:horror, 1990-2009, bookmooch, 96-100

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My Soul to Keep by Judith Hawkes (1996)

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On a mountainside in Tennessee lies an abandoned quarry, flooded long ago by an underground river. There, in the gathering shadows of a winter twilight, something happened to nine-year-old Nan Lucas. Something that left her daredevil playmate, Tucker Wills, dead and young Nan's mind crippled, unable to recall the horror.

Now a trendy Manhattan fashion photographer, Nan Lucas returns to Tennessee twenty years later, seeking to recover from a collapsed marriage. In the old farmhouse inherited from her grandmother, she begins to reorder her priorities - among them, forming a more solid relationship with her young son, Stephen. Common sense tells her that the imaginary playmate who consumes so much of Stephen's time is only a normal invention for a little boy who has no companion his own age.

Yet Nan cannot ignore her mounting fears that the mysterious figure Stephen calls 'Woody' is both very real and very dangerous. Joining forces with an old mountain woman who is rumored to possess the gift of second sight, she struggles to save Stephen from the shadowy companion who seems to be compelling him toward destruction. Yet as hope and time runs out, Nan comes to realize that she must somehow pierce the veil of her forgotten past and reach into the dark recesses of her memory to rediscover what happened at the quarry, on the long-ago winter night that Tucker Wills died.

I must say that I absolutely loved this book. I thought that it was extremely scary - but it was the subtle, psychological type of horror that I really enjoy. Judith Hawkes is a new author to me, and My Soul to Keep is the first book of hers that I have read. I believe that Judith Hawkes has written at least two other books, and I have placed both of them on my Wish List. I give My Soul to Keep by Judith Hawkes an A+! ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Dec 4, 2012 |
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Epigraph
Now I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
- Child's prayer
Dedication
For Mom and Dad
First words
DECEMBER 1968

A white winter silence.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In rural Tennessee, tragedy blights the life of Nan Lucas. As a child, she and a friend played by an abandoned quarry, and something happened that left the boy dead and Nan's memory erased. Twenty years later, Nan returns to her grandmother's farmhouse with her young son to build a different life. Soon her son is enamored, then obsessed, with an imaginary playmate named Woody. Woody wants Stephen body and soul, and only if Nan pieces together her childhood memories in time, can she save her child.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451184149, Mass Market Paperback)

Start with a leisurely summer in a mountain valley in eastern Tennessee, where gnarled apple trees in the misty morning evoke thoughts of gnomes in sinister fairy tales, and where spirited horses beckon for long trail rides. Throw in a bunch of friendly country dwellers who host enthusiastic barn dances and hint darkly about stills hidden in the woods. Then imagine all of this as experienced through the eyes of a nervous New York City photographer, a divorced woman with her small boy. Sex with a handsome cousin and ample photographic opportunities seem to promise a restful summer for this woman, but when her son starts to hang out with an "imaginary" playmate, things go sour quickly. It's another ghost story from Judith Hawkes--not as brilliantly nuanced and tightly wound as Julian's House, yet just as richly descriptive, and satisfying in a lazy sort of way.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:11 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A ghost story featuring an eight-year-old boy. He is Stephen Lucas of New York whose parents are having marital problems. So his mother, a fashion photographer, takes him with her to a homestead in Tennessee which was left her by her grandmother. While his mother enjoys a romance with a local cousin, Stephen befriends a ghost. Impossible, say the adults, until Stephen begins recounting chilling events from his mother's childhood. By the author of Julian's House.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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