Nore Robbins is a 17 year old girl who buried her mother a year ago and went to boarding school soon after, but now that her father has remarried and she has two step-siblings she visits for the summer and is horrified to realize her new family members are immortal. Nore Robbins has lived through more than most 17 year olds and finding that her father, Chuck, has remarried barely a year after her mom's death s very hard for her. It's worsened when she visits and meets her step-siblings, Gabe who is about her age and Josie, who is 13. Her new step-mother, Lisette is shockingly young and beautiful, but seems kind...at first.
Soon, there are a series of problems that do not make sense. For instance, she overhears a conversation between Lisette and her children referencing an event that occurred years before they should have been born and yet they talk as if they were there. In addition, Lisette has a disturbing racism against Cajun and casually disregards all Cajun females as sluts, while mentioning the benefits of slavery like it is no big deal.
The very day that Nore arrives at the southern plantation that has belonged to her family for generations, Nore has a dream from with her mother. Her mother is telling her to get her and her father away because they are in danger and they will not make it through the summer. Nore does not believe in ghosts and believes her dream was from meeting her new family, the heat and the stress.
For a brief period of time, Nore and Gabe have some chemistry between them, but that passes fairly quickly. Nore finds herself doubting what she knows and wondering if it is possible that they are more than they seem. She at first considers that they might be vampires, but there is no evidence of blood or any sources of blood. She is disturbed to learn that for many years, about every 20 years or so, a widow with two teenagers returns to the family property for a few years and then leaves.
She wonders why it is that the children are the same age, the woman is consistently beautiful and why the women in Lisette's family seem to lose their husbands so soon. She briefly wonders if the women in her family could be serial killers and is concerned that they targeted her father because he is a successful, wealthy playwright.
She does some research at the library and just as she finds some information that is helpful, Gabe and Josie show up. Later, after complaining of the heat, she is talked into going to the river with them, although she cannot swim. She does not know that Lisette is concerned about her questions and ordered Gabe to kill her. When she falls in the water, he leaves her to drown, but she somehow manages to get out.
Even with that, when she returns home, her father sides with his wife and her children against his daughter. He wonders if she is either lying or having mental health issues and disregards everything she says.
Nore manages to find some more information that tells her what she needs to know. More than 150 years ago, Lisette was married and had three children, living a well-off life in Louisiana. Her husband fell in love with a young Cajun girl and convinced that it was the girls' youth that attracted him; she tried everything she could to save her marriage. At the time, the only real security women had were marriage and in her case, her beauty. Despite her best efforts, he still planned to leave and she found a voodoo practitioner who shared with her a formula to quit aging. Knowing she wouldn't want her children to die, she forced them to take the same formula. Effectively, that trapped Josie as an angsty, child of 13 who would never grow up and Gabe would always be almost a man, but never independent.
Horrified, Nore obtains the formula and taints it, and Lisette and Gabe both die. Josie survives and will be taken care of my future generations of Nore's family as the girl who never ages. Having seen some of it, Chuck finally believes Nore and they plan to return to New York and put the horrifying experience with them.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that Nore was smart enough to recognize a problem and stubborn enough not just to give in when she was told to. I wish there was a better ending, because a 13 year old being taken care of for generations of family members will eventually catch the attention of someone, so I wish there was some options for her besides staying 13 forever or dying.
Best scene in story:
At the very beginning of the novel, Nore steps off the plane into New Orleans for the first time. She effectively described how thick the air in that area feels, especially during the summer. The humidity is so thick that you feel as if you can swim through it and she mentions immediately sweating, with her shirt sticking to her within seconds and that is so accurate.
Opinion about the main character:
I felt like Nore Roberts was a little one dimensional and oddly accepting. I wished she advocated more for herself with her dad and asked why she went to boarding school if he could marry someone with two kids close to her age at home or why he couldn't wait to remarry until she at least met the woman or could be at the wedding. With that being said, she was likable and a strong character who believed in herself and is likely to make a good role model for young, female readers.