The Specter (Waxwood Series: Book 1)

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When Vivian’s grandmother dies, she leaves behind a trail of family secrets and half-truths.

In 1892 San Francisco, Nob Hill’s finest are gathered to mourn the death of society leader Penelope Alderdice. Then the uninvited Bertha Ross upsets the solemn occasion by insisting she knew “Grace” in the small coastal town of Waxwood in the 1850s, hinting at a love affair, exile, and unexplained illness.

All of San Francisco’s elite attend the funeral, including a woman claiming to be an old friend of Penelope’s. She’s eager to tell Vivian about the woman she knew: Not Penelope Alderdice, the shipping tycoon’s wife and Nob Hill socialite, but Grace Carlyle, a spunky artist searching for adventure. Is the intruder a crank? Is she confused? Or is she telling the truth?

Haunted by the specter of Penelope Alderdice, Vivian embarks on a journey to discover who her grandmother really was and mysteries the Alderdice family has kept hidden for over forty years. 

Will Penelope Alderdice’s past reveal Vivian’s future as well?

Follow Vivian’s path to truth and self-discovery in the first book of this family saga set during one of America’s most turbulent era.

Get The Specter today and experience the life of a Gilded Age belle who can’t let go of a family ghost.

Now revised and updated!

What reviewers are saying:

May’s historical fiction picks apart the delicate facade of American gentility in upper-class, well-heeled families on the wild West Coast at the end of the nineteenth century. – Lisa Lickel, author and blogger, Living our Faith Out Loud


Gently told, and forms a good basis for the series to build upon. – Discovering Diamonds: Historical Fiction Reviews


Part gothic fiction, part psychological drama, “The Specter” was a deeply moving & introspective book about one of San Francisco’s powerful families set in 1892 – Amazon Vine Voice reader


An intriguing and beguiling story. – Amazon reader


A fantastic story that will definitely intrigue the reader and pull you into to the last page. – Amazon reader

Check out the entire series on Amazon here!

Other Books in the Series

Photo Credit: Portrait of Sonya Knips, Gustav Klimt, 1898, oil on canvas, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria: Aavindraa/Wikimedia Commons/PD Old 100

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