After the untimely death of her aunt Laura, Cecilia Cross is forced to return to Sanctuary, a rambling, old French-Gothic mansion that crowns a remote island off the coast of Maine. Cecilia is both drawn to and repulsed by Sanctuary. The scent of the ocean intoxicates her, but she's also haunted by the ghosts of her past -- of her father who died at Sanctuary five years ago, and of her mother who was committed soon after. The memories leave Cecilia feeling shaken, desperate to run away and forget her terrible family history.
But then a mysterious guest arrives at Sanctuary: Eli Bauer, a professor sent to examine Sanctuary's library. Cecilia is intrigued by this strange young man who seems so interested in her -- even more interested in her than in the books he is meant to be studying. Who is he and what does he want? Can Cecilia possibly trust her growing feelings for him? And can he help her make peace with her haunted, tragic past?
Jenny McKissack is the author of Sanctuary
. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family.
- ! 'From SANCTUARY
We kept looking at one another for a few moments as we walked.
Suddenly, Eli grinned at me.
"What?" I asked, grinning too.
ears are red."
He laughed and took a breath. "What were we talking about?"
he asked, looking desperate to change the subject. "Oh, my parents and Germany."
nodded, happy to listen to him.
"When they talk about their childhood, and
their homes there, and their cousins, and the lush green of it, a longing creeps
into their voices. I can hear it and know how bereft they are they won’t see it
"Why did they leave?"
"The first world war. They didn''t
want to be a part of that."
"Maybe the longing for home is worse if you
have to leave, but don''t want to."
"Yes," he said. "I would think it would
A surge of panic went through me at the thought of that forced separation
from Sanctuary. Again. "Our souls seem rooted to the place where we''re born. We’ll
always feel that pull back."
"Perhaps," he said, then a quirky, gentle smile
crossed his face. "But can''t we put down new roots?"
"Perhaps," I agreed,
wanting that to be true.
But it was more complicated than that. I''d put
down new roots at the boarding school and felt that gentle pull back to Elizabeth
and our classmates and our school in the woods. But what I felt toward Sanctuary
was different. As if -- beyond my control -- Sanctuary was yanking me back.
wasn''t that on the island I felt a sense of belonging, but rather that I was a
possession: I belonged to it, or to something that remained here at least. I wasn''t
at all sure if I could handle it.'