Caroline and Adrian Stone have purchased a brick mansion overlooking a small town by the Mississippi River and converted its five bedrooms and five baths into a profitable bed and breakfast. The grounds include extensive gardens and an old graveyard dating back to the Civil War. But Willow Wind has a dark history. The grotesque, half-human half-creature statues that stand among the gravestones testify to the evil of their creator, Lilith Roselle, who disappeared from Willow Wind over a century ago.
After a lengthy illness, Caroline’s father, Edward Winter, succumbs and dies. In preparation for his gravesite, a cave-in occurs in the cemetery and the past rises up from the tunnels below to wreak death and destruction in the present. The creature, a pale woman in a crimson gown, emerges to feed on the living with her insatiable appetite for blood. Her devoted purpose is to take back her home, Willow Wind, and her lost love, Jedidiah, whom she believes has returned as Adrian Stone. All that stands between life and total annihilation is a small band of humans including Adrian, Caroline, a tenant novelist, a neighboring farmer and a woman with some mystical abilities. Their combined efforts may not be enough to overcome the increasing powers of the woman in crimson.
Once again, Kathryn Meyer Griffith has scribed a story that works its suspense and intensity into the reader’s fearful imagining. Ms. Griffith creates a stark backdrop for The Woman in Crimson, incorporating a season in the dead of winter with white snow in contrast to the dark, bizarre statues among the gravestones and the brick mansion known as Willow Wind. It seems that even the shadowy woods beside the cemetery hides unimaginable evil. Every time one of the characters ventures outside the bed and breakfast, the reader begins to tense and fear that the woman in crimson will appear. Although the villain evokes unthinkable malevolence, there is an element of sadness and tragedy about her that causes the reader to feel some pity for her.
Such a character exemplifies the excellent writing abilities of the creator, Ms. Griffith. The Woman in Crimson is a well crafted story of scenery, plot, and character and I highly recommend it to even those who may not usually read horror.