I just finished reading Barbara Michaels Here I Stay, and I have to admit that I feel emotionally drained. The tracks of the tears that I shed over the last 30 pages are still moist on my cheeks. Here I Stay was about Andrea Torgeson, who inherited a huge house from her cousin Bertha. Andrea’s brother, Jim, was in a bad auto accident, that almost killed him and took his leg. Andrea thought that opening the house as a hotel might be just the thing that both she and Jim need to get them both on their feet. Of course, there was a sense of a presence in the house. It was warm and welcoming to some, like Martin Greenspan, who came to hotel for an extended stay while writing his book. Martin fell in love with Andrea, who was too closed off to live and emotion to see how she was short changing both herself and Jim. There was a presence. Andrea felt it as beating wings. Another house guest felt it too, but Reba, the local restaurant owner and friend to both Andrea and Martin, felt it the most. The presence was so strong that Reba became physically ill in the house.
This book was a slow mover at first. Michaels set the scene and got the reader interested in the characters hopes and fears. There wasn’t a strong woo-woo effect in this book, but it was slowly and strongly growing. As I said, I became engrossed in the final third of the book, unable to put it down. I could just feel the impending doom, and when it finally came, I admit that it hit me hard, hence the tears. I thought that the book was one of Michaels’ best. I don’t know if others might give it the time that it deserves since the tension slowly builds. The book meandered just as life does. Not much seems to happen, but when you look back, you realize that so much has passed unnoticed. If you read the book, give it a chance to pull you in. You won’t regret it.