I could not understand it, but nevertheless the suspicion took root and grew. It explained why Mama had loved Alma so much more than me, and why I was never any comfort to her, and even why, as I sometimes guiltily suspected, I did not love her as much as I ought to.It is one of those things the human mind does - try to find the sense of what happens to us, even when there is none. Harwood imagines Constance's isolation from a child's point of view. It is an essential part of the plot's set-up. One day, when Constance is in her teens, her father abruptly leaves and Constance must care for her mother. She fakes a trance in which she speaks to her mother in her long-dead sister's voice and this is the first thing in a decade to wake her mother from her catatonia. So Constance begins to research seances and visits a medium for advice.
"I know it was wrong to deceive her," I said, "but Mama has been so unhappy for so long, and if only she could be certain that Alma is safe in Heaven, I think she might recover."And that is, among other things, the question I expect this ghost story will explore. So far, Harwood has created a suitably sepia-toned atmosphere with the chill just beginning to creep in.
"You musn't reproach yourself, my dear. For all you know, it was your sister's spirit moving you to speak; you might have the true gift and not know it yet."