Castle in the Air
By Jennifer Tressen
Release Date: July 23rd 2015
The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas has been called “America’s Most Haunted Hotel” largely because of the events of the 1930s when Dr. Norman Baker ran a “cancer treatment hospital” which he called his “Castle in the Air.”
Follow the fictionalized story of Clara, the young, unwed pregnant niece of Dr. Baker who comes to help at the cancer center in exchange for room and board and finds things aren’t quite what they appear to be. Caring for an ill young boy at the center she feels her maternal instincts kick in – something is definitely not right at her uncle’s hospital. But what? Will she be able to piece together the clues in time to save herself and the boy? Or will be forever be doomed to reside in the Castle in the Air, where once you check in…you never leave.
“Lies. Lies we tell ourselves to make things better. I’m never leaving this place. I’m bound by the walls that contain me. These castle walls…it’s a fortress, a castle of lies where promises drift up into the air never to be seen again.”
“A castle in the air,” Clara said slowly.
“Why don’t you leave then? Come away with me. I’m going. I’m going very soon.”
“You said that before.”
Theodora clicked her tongue in a tisking manner.
“You’ll meet the fence if you do.”
“What fence?” Clara thought about it as she spoke. There wasn’t a gate or fence of any sort that she could recall. Where was there one she missed?
“You can’t see it. But it holds you in. It rips you apart, slowly cutting into your flesh as you press forward.”
“Like barbed wire.”
“Precisely. Like barbed wire cutting into your flesh but leaving more than mortal wounds. This place…it binds you. You never really leave.”
Clara tried to process the conversation. How words so quickly leapt from Samuel’s intuition to family visiting to lies she tells herself to…To what?
“Now if you don’t mind leaving I’d like to take a nap. I’m terribly tired. I think I might be coming down with something. There’s a chill in this spring air, don’t you feel it? Amongst the blooming flowers and pollenating bees the air of a deathly winter looms.”
Without another word, Clara stood. But just as she was closing the door behind her Theodora shot her a look.
“My wise advice…”
Theodora got to her feet and walked to the window in the room, pushing back the curtains.
Clara stepped back inside the room and pulled the door partly shut.
“Don’t let it get you.”
Her pointer finger began drawing on the window, over and over again over the same sections as if spelling something.
“What are you writing?”
Theodora didn’t respond. Clara took a step closer trying to decipher the tracing on the dusty window.
“Theodora is that…”
“My name,” the willowy woman replied, her back still turned to Clara.
“It’s important to remember who we are. Otherwise things can be lost in translation.”
Clara’s feet felt like weights, chained to the floor. Theodora turned ever so slightly.
“2 Timothy 4:7,” Theodora’s fingers followed her words. Clara noticed how upon drawing her
“7” she drew an extra line through the center of it. “You can be going now.”
Clara nodded and pushed against gravity to remove her sticky feet. Closing the door behind her, she wanted to run away. She wanted to sink down to the ground in tears. She wanted to do so many things. But the faint sound of crying in the distance forced her to regain her composure. She was needed.
About the Author
After several years of writing and editing for producers and other screenwriters her curiosity led her into writing novels. As a huge fan of Young Adult and New Adult literature this is where her pen tends to lead her. However, shedoes have plans to release a few middle grade fiction and adult novels in the future.
Jennifer attributes her love of reading and writing to her mother who always reminded her of the power of literacy. Besides telling her and her siblings that they could do anything they wanted if they knew how to read and write, she said, “You can go anywhere in a book. You can be anyone.”
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Enjoyed the excerpt, the book sounds intriguing! Thanks!
This sounds so good and has such a unique sounding premise! Definitely adding to the TBR pile.
I enjoyed the excerpt.
Great excerpt! I’m definitely more curious now!