Book: Hang My Head and CryHang My Head and Cry

By Elena Santangelo


An Email Newsletter for Booklovers

by Maria Y. Lima of Alexandria, VA

Pat Montella's life has settled down into a routine, having given up her horrid day job and moved in with Miss Maggie Shelby in a lovely Civil War-era home. Pat, who is Miss Maggie's heir, by being the last blood descendant of the original owners, can see visions of the past. When she first came to Bell Run, she uncovered a centuries-old mystery, having been contacted by one of the former owners. Now, a short time later, the visions begin again, only this time, Pat keeps seeing a small boy who turns out to be the young son of a former slave. Born just one week after Lincoln freed slaves, the boy, named Emancipation, seems to hover on the edges of Pat's consciousness. Soon, Pat finds a human jawbone in her garden, and realizes that the boy may be trying to communicate something much darker and more dangerous than before. The fabric of time keeps ripping open as Pat tries to find out the identity of the long-dead skeleton, involving her in much more than a historical puzzle. In fact, this puzzle could endanger Pat's own life.

As unforgettable as her debut mystery, HANG MY HEAD AND CRY, lives up to the implied promise of BY BLOOD POSSESSED. Sharing her modern-day narrative with a concurrent historical storyline, Santangelo skillfully meshes the two stories together, winding up to a startling conclusion that satisfies all around. Having created eminently believable characters that practically step out of the pages and knock on your front door, this author continues the relationships begun in her first book, developing the characters as naturally as if she'd just been hanging out with them

for the last few weeks. I found myself completely engrossed in this story (as with the first one), and unable to put the book down until finished. There are few authors who can write this compellingly and I rejoice that I discovered this one.

Santangelo's love of history, of the region and of a good ghost story is evident on all the pages, as is her talent for telling a tale. I can only hope that this is the beginning of a beautiful readership. The highest kudos to Elena Santangelo!


From Publisher's Weekly:

"Ghosts, murder, romance, Old South, New South, an aristocratic old lady, a gaggle of good ol' boys and an intrepid heroine add up to a fine and cozy entertainment."

The past continues to catch up with Pat Montella both literally and figuratively in this captivating sequel to Santangelo's well-received debut, By Blood Possessed, in 1999). Pat's gift for seeing and hearing ghosts continues to manifest itself with vivid snippets of the past, as if from old newsreels. Miss Maggie Shelby, scion of the Virginia Civil War estate owned by the Bell family, who discovered that Pat is the last descendant of the Bells, continues to preside over Pat's metamorphosis from office worker to heir to a Southern tradition. Pat's finding an unknown gravesite and the disturbing appearance of the ghost of a former slave boy named "Mance" (short for Emancipation) begins a story of old wrongs whose roots reach into the present. 

The discovery of the grave brings welcome help in the form of Emmv Brewster and her handsome assistant, Theo Clayborne. It also brings unwanted help in the form of police and politicians eager to make hay from the excitement. After Pat's visions of the past intensify, she discovers she's not the onlv one who has such visions. When Theo becomes the prime suspect in the death of his best friend, Pat is driven to solve both old deaths and new with surprising results. Ghosts, murder, romance, Old South, New South, an aristocratic old lady, a gaggle of good of boys and an intrepid heroine add up to fine and cozy entertainment.

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