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An “Aetherial Tales” novel that can be read as a standalone, Freda Warrington’s Midsummer Night is a powerful contemporary fantasy, beginning with a prank that turns lethal when supernatural forces are unwittingly set loose. A century may not be enough to undo the terrible consequences of one fateful night’s mischief.
Decades ago, at the remote Cairndonan estate on a storm-lashed coastline where the veil between our world and the Aetherial realm is thin, Juliana Flagg’s uncle – a young man called Adam – vanished in mysterious circumstances. Now Dame Juliana, a visionary artist, has inherited Cairndonan where she sculpts and runs a summer art school. However, all is not well, as she is plagued by ghosts, money troubles and her sinister ex-husband.
A young athlete named Gill arrives to rent a cottage on the estate, in order to escape her own problems; a monstrous betrayal and an accident have destroyed her Olympic hopes. Now all Gill wants is solitude, but soon she’s entangled with the mischievous, flamboyant artist Peta, the creepy manservant Ned Badger and other residents of the great house – not least Juliana herself.
One day Gill wanders into a strange village called Boundry that appears on no map. There she meets the seductive Rufus and his equally attractive but silent, brooding companion, Leith. The encounter leaves her unsettled. Soon after, during a violent storm, Leith comes through the portal in a state of distress and begs shelter at Gill’s cottage. Though he can explain nothing of his past, his innocence and charm capture her heart. But Leith becomes the focus of increasingly vicious arguments among the estate’s residents. Who is he – and who is the charismatic, cruel Rufus who claims to be his brother? Are these two young men as innocent as they seem – or are they poised to visit vengeance, death and heartbreak upon the human world?
Gill, aided by Peta, stumbles into ever-greater danger as she tries to untangle the mysteries of Cairndonan’s past. But only when Dame Juliana finally dares to reveal Midsummer Night – the sinister, haunted sculpture to which she’s devoted years of her life – will the full storm break loose at last.