A Special Ghost Story Around the Fire
Anna M. Taylor
All the women in Anora Madison's family have lived haunted by the curse of Poor Butterfly: women still longing for but deserted by the men they loved. Determined to be the first to escape a life of abandonment, Anora fled Harlem for Brooklyn, not only severing her ties with her mother Angela, but also ending her relationship with Winston Emerson, her lover and the father of her child.
Six years later, Anora comes home to make peace, but an unseen evil manifests itself during the homecoming and targets not only Anora, but her little girl Cammie.
With nowhere to run, Anora must confront the evil now trying to destroy her life. She vows to protect her daughter at all costs, but if that protection can only be found with Winston back in her life, how will Anora protect her heart?
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Inspiration for the Story
Haunted Serenade was inspired by the Duke Ellington classic, Solitude. Two lines in particular inspired my plot, “In my solitude you haunt me” and “With gloom everywhere I sit and I stare I know that I’ll soon go mad.” The image of a woman grieving a lost love put me in mind of how and why love is lost or thwarted or longed for. This lead me to the question each of the stories in my Haunted Harlem series seeks to answer, “What is a ghost except a longing that will not die or a love waiting to be born? I set Haunted Serenade in the early sixties, a time of full of events steeped in turmoil and hope for African-Americans here in the US and Africans abroad. Against this external backdrop, I wanted to tell a story of how the ghosts of the past for one family interfere with their opportunity of reunion in the present and the possibility of hope presented by the future. The issue of colorism and the role it played and still plays in the African-American community provided the seed for the internal conflict that enables the supernatural element in my story to thrive. When my heroine Anora Madison and my hero Winston Emerson confront this issue, the secret haunting Anora and her family is revealed, confronted and exorcised thus enabling, Anora, Winston and the Madison family to achieve the HEA they all deserve.
D. V.'s review
I love a ghost story. That said, this book is haunting and not because of the ghost.
Though based in the past, it’s certainly a book for these troubled times. It reminds me of a verse from Ecclesiastes, There’s nothing new under the sun.
It’s the early 1960s—a time of great upheaval in U.S. history. Mirror images of today’s civil strife against hate and racism are as appalling. And it’s at this time we’re plunged into a family torn apart by the issues of color and unforgiveness.
After a bombing, which took the lives of three children in the south, the main character, Anora, despite the family schism, takes her six-year-old daughter to see her grandmother for the first time. When Anora began a relationship with a dark-skinned man, both she and her mother shared horrid words, and the hurt to both goes deep and long. Anora left home.
Realizing time is short, and so much is at stake, Anora’s mother calls her home to the family house in Harlem. The bitterness between the people in the house feeds a spirit who has the ability to harm them.
The characters are relatable, the world-building grounding, and the ghost story enthralling. It is a poignant tale of the importance of choosing words carefully and seeking forgiveness before it’s too late. Some scenes can be disturbing though not graphic more the idea of what people are capable of—both to the good and the evil.
I highly recommend this book by Ms. Taylor.
About the Author
Anna Taylor Sweringen, a retired United Church of Christ and an active Presbyterian Church USA minister, writes contemporary gothic romance as Anna M Taylor. Haunted Serenade is book one of her Haunted Harlem series. She's been writing seriously since joining Romance Writers of America in 2003. She also write inspirational romance as Anna Taylor and erotic romance as Michal Scott. You can learn about Anna and her Anna M Taylor work at https://annamtaylor.webs.com, on her Anna M Taylor FB page where she shares music that inspires her and reviews of light paranormals she has enjoyed, and last but not least, you can be updated about the goings on in Haunted Harlem by signing up for her newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/7d60e5679ab4/anna-m-taylor-writes
Anna Taylor Sweringen
10/31/2022 03:46:03 pm
Thanks so much for hosting me. I really liked writing this story too. Past is prologue and definitely here in Haunted Serenade.
11/1/2022 10:11:21 am
I'm not a fan of horror but a good ghost story is always great around the fire.
Anna Taylor Sweringen
11/1/2022 10:55:45 am
Hi Pamela, I'm with you. Horror is not my cup of tea either, but I love the stories I can create around ghosts dealing with longing and love. Thanks for stopping by.
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Award winning multi-genre author and blogger. Fantasy, romance, mid-grade. Nothing better than a campfire, book, and glass of wine. Okay maybe there is.📚
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