Mary McAllister has always been a mystery to the town of Mill River. Few people have come into contact with Mary in the sixty years she has lived in the marble mansion overlooking the town and rumour says she is some sort of witch.
But priest Father O'Brien knows differently. He has been close friends with Mary since she was widowed as a young woman and locked herself away from view. Father O'Brien knows why Mary has shut herself away from the town, why the mere thought of coming face to face with a stranger fills her with debilitating fear. He also knows how warm, funny and kind Mary is and, though she doesn't know them personally, how she keeps up to date with the residents of Mill River and helps in what little way she can when they are having troubles.
The residents of Mill River don't know Mary but she knows them.
Kyle Hansen has been raising his nine year old daughter alone since his wife passed away.
Schoolteacher Claudia Simon is a recent addition to the town after relocating to start a new life away from those who shared her past.
Kind hearted Ruth lives across the hall from Kyle. As well as running the town's bakery, Ruth takes care of Kyle's daughter whenever he needs to work.
None of them know Mary but soon all her secrets will be revealed and their lives will be changed forever.
From the start of The Mill River Recluse, we know Mary McAllister hasn't led a very happy life and through flashbacks we learn the events that made Mary into the reclusive woman she is. I couldn't help feeling for Mary as the events unfolded beyond her control and she withdrew deeper inside herself. Luckily she had a couple of supportive people in her life - grandfather in law Conor, who was so generous, both in wealth and love, and the constant presence of Father O'Brien. I'm not sure what would have become of Mary without her patient, loyal friend.
Beyond the marble mansion, I enjoyed the stories from the town of Mill River, from Kyle finding love again to Leroy's sinister infatuation with Claudia.
Although there are sad and darker aspects to The Mill River Recluse I found the overall tale to be uplifting and thought it was an enjoyable and mysterious read.
Thank you to Sphere for sending me a copy to review. I'll be chatting to Darcie Chan on Friday.
The Mill River Recluse is available as an ebook now and will be released as a paperback on 6th December 2012.