The death of her father is a shock for Stella Bishop. Still reeling, she is cut loose from her moorings and sent to live with her grandmother, a woman with strange habits and even stranger friends. Stella must also choose between the affections of two very different men: Charlie, kind and generous; and Damian, dark and dangerous. When her mother, presumed dead, reappears, Stella must come to terms with her family’s terrible and twisted past—one intertwined with the Salem witches and some of the darkest days in American history.
In the beginning, he was good—a loyal servant, devoted to his calling; a fervent man of the cloth who lived soberly, conscientiously. But that morality didn’t come easily; being good was like a cloak he put on, a disguise to hide his truest, most terrible, self. He was hungry, starving for power and strength, greedy for love and fidelity; so empty with a need so great, he backslid, slowly, away from his faith and towards something altogether different: vanity and hatred. He hated his parishioners. When he looked at his flock, he saw disdain: old women rolled their eyes when he spoke, young ones giggled at his outdated clothing and somber way of speaking. He felt profoundly ill at ease with men, as if somehow they knew he wasn’t one of them, he was faking, an imposter in the human race. He didn’t understand the camaraderie, and he felt there was a secret he didn’t even understand—a secret that set him apart. So he made the deal, met the man at the crossroads, and paid the ultimate price—and he did change. Suddenly, he was attractive to the women who had scorned him, and men finally treated him like an equal. While this was his greatest heart’s desire, it was not enough. He was still empty, unfulfilled. It wasn’t enough that people loved and longed for him—he wanted to own them. He wanted to destroy them.