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The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
St. Martin's Press Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312385842
Date: 04 August 2009 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

Conrad Harrison has never had a steady job. After inheriting a large sum of money, he flees the stress of Los Angeles. On impulse, without consulting his workaholic wife Joanna, he buys an old Victorian house in the secluded, rural town of Black Earth, Wisconsin. Conrad learns that it served as a birthing house during the Civil War. Poor, unwed, pregnant women went there to give birth.

Joanna leaves for a training class in Detroit. Conrad is soon plunged into a nightmare while investigating the house's mysterious history. He hears a baby's crying. A faceless, grotesque doll menaces him. He sees fleeting images of an angry woman who could be his wife's twin. Conrad discovers that she is a malevolent, vindictive spirit intent on being the only mother inside the birthing house. All other pregnant women who enter must die. Unfortunately, Joanna is pregnant.

From official release/information:

Product Description: It was expecting them. Conrad and Joanna Harrison, a young couple from Los Angeles, attempt to save their marriage by leaving the pressures of the city to start anew in a quiet, rural setting.   They buy a Victorian mansion that once served as a haven for unwed mothers, called a birthing house. One day when Joanna is away, the previous owner visits Conrad to bequeath a vital piece of the house's historic heritage, a photo album that he claims "belongs to the house."  Thumbing through the old, sepia-colored photographs of midwives and fearful, unhappily pregnant girls in their starched, nineteenth-century dresses, Conrad is suddenly chilled to the bone:  staring back at him with a countenance of hatred and rage is the image of his own wife.

Thus begins a story of possession, sexual obsession, and, ultimately, murder, as a centuries-old crime is reenacted in the present, turning Conrad and Joanna's American dream into a relentless nightmare.

An extraordinary marriage of supernatural thrills and exquisite psychological suspense, The Birthing House marks the debut of a writer whose first novel is a terrifying tour de force.

(Source: St. Martin's Press)

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