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Charlotte Brantley, at the age of thirty-six, has given up all thoughts of men or romance — for herself. The characters she creates for her books keep her busy enough that she doesn't think she needs the real-life version to complicate her nice, quiet life.
But then she meets the man she hadn't realized she'd been longing for. Edouard de Lisle is a professor at the local university whose specialty is exactly the information Charley needs. In fact, he has the answers to questions Charley hasn't even thought up yet!
With a little help from their friends — and Charley's dog Friedl — they discover the joys of collaboration.
Tessa deGroot, a sculptor, falls in love at the first sight of Ardenwycke, a great stone house along the Hudson River in New York. Part of a divorce settlement from her former husband's family, the house was built by an early deGroot settler more than two hundred years earlier, but still carries a reputation of being cursed. Tessa discovers this for herself on that first visit as she faints in one upstairs hallway.
Maximillian MacDougall, a local housing inspector, rescues Tessa that day, but more strange events happen almost immediately after she moves in. Together, Tessa and Max try to find the meaning behind the curious things that happen in the house, but it will surely take drastic measures — and love — to succeed.