In this first-person narrative, the absurd naivete of the orphan Esma, coupled with a cache of romance cliches (kidnapping, amnesia, ghosts, the adulterous wife and more), lends this tale a forced storytelling quality. Character motivations and personalities are blatant with no mystery or depth. Toombs never moves beyond stereotypical stock characters. The romance between
Esma and Stephen lacks intensity because there are too many problems competing for attention. However, the relationship between Esma and Alisette shines with genuine love.

Orphan Esma Drake has just arrived at Seacliff House as the new nurse for 5-year-old Alisette. Seacliff House isn't a happy place. Alisette's mother ignores her, her father, Stephen, is missing and presumed dead at sea and there are several uneasy accidents happening around the home that frighten Esma. Life becomes even more confusing when Stephen Nikolai returns, with no memory of his life at Seacliff House. Jealousies, hidden agendas and secrets of the past are revealed as Esma attempts to stay alive amidst a backdrop of treachery. (, dl $5.00)
Reviewed by: 
Sarah Wethern