They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But for photographer Jonathan Brewster, their worth can’t be measured in words, only in how much closer they bring him to love. Because it is his very trade that has brought him into the good graces of Sara Coleridge, the opera harpist who stole his heart… and may even steal his only daughter.
As a widower and father of a precocious and spunky four-year-old, Jonathan can find it hard to make it through a city day without the comfort of another like-minded soul and the tender touch of a warm-blooded body. When he finally meets Sara, he falls so head over heels in love that nothing can stand in his way. Not his friends, not conventional wisdom, not the strange spirits inhabiting Sara’s photos, and not even his daughter whose adoration for the woman can sometimes rival his own. That is, until he realizes the secret behind Sara’s aura. Then he must make the toughest decision of his life: sacrifice love or make the ultimate sacrifice.
For all its ominous window dressing, Childgrave can be summed up as psychological case study that will make you question what you know or think you know about love, both romantic and platonic. People think and act with logic and reason as their North Star. But when Cupid strikes a bullseye on an unsuspecting victim, all that rationale can be thrown out the door. The only logic that remains is the idea to chase that high for as long as one can stay alive.
However, Childgrave is also a novel that plunges headfirst into the ramifications that one lowly love connection can create, impacting friends, family, and even one’s own religion. This is where Greenhall goes beyond standard religious inquiry. He calls it out for its duplicity, for it can be as guilty as any other entity or institution. It can even pose as a refuge or a community for many — innocent or not — to hide behind, so long as they serve that higher power.
By the end, you may be left asking yourself: does love conquer all? Well, that just depends on your definition of love…and conquer.
This edition of Childgrave includes a new introduction by Grady Hendrix and cover, frontispiece, and spot artwork by Bo Myles.