Cover image for The girl in the green silk gown / Seanan McGuire.
Title:
The girl in the green silk gown / Seanan McGuire.
ISBN:
9780756413804
Publication Information:
New York, NY : DAW Books, Inc., [2018].
Physical Description:
336 pages ; 21 cm.
Abstract:
"For Rose Marshall, death has long since become the only life she really knows. She's been sweet sixteen for more than sixty years, hitchhiking her way along the highways and byways of America, sometimes seen as an avenging angel, sometimes seen as a killer in her own right, but always Rose, the Phantom Prom Date, the Girl in the Green Silk Gown. The man who killed her is still out there, thanks to a crossroads bargain that won't let him die, and he's looking for the one who got away. When Bobby Cross comes back into the picture, there's going to be hell to pay--possibly literally. Rose has worked for decades to make a place for herself in the twilight. Can she defend it, when Bobby Cross comes to take her down? Can she find a way to navigate the worlds of the living and the dead, and make it home before her hitchhiker's luck runs out? There's only one way to know for- sure"--Provided by publisher.
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1 Bob Harkins Branch MCG Book Adult Fantasy / Sci-Fi
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Summary

Summary

The second book in the Ghost Roads series returns to the highways of America, where hitchhiking ghost Rose Marshall continues her battle with her killer--the immortal Bobby Cross.

Once and twice and thrice around,
Put your heart into the ground.
Four and five and six tears shed,
Give your love unto the dead.
Seven shadows on the wall,
Eight have come to watch your fall:
One's for the gargoyle, one's for the grave,
And the last is for the one you'll never save.

For Rose Marshall, death has long since become the only life she really knows. She's been sweet sixteen for more than sixty years, hitchhiking her way along the highways and byways of America, sometimes seen as an avenging angel, sometimes seen as a killer in her own right, but always Rose, the Phantom Prom Date, the Girl in the Green Silk Gown.

The man who killed her is still out there, thanks to a crossroads bargain that won't let him die, and he's looking for the one who got away. When Bobby Cross comes back into the picture, there's going to be hell to pay--possibly literally.

Rose has worked for decades to make a place for herself in the twilight. Can she defend it, when Bobby Cross comes to take her down? Can she find a way to navigate the worlds of the living and the dead, and make it home before her hitchhiker's luck runs out?

There's only one way to know for sure.

Nine will let you count the cost:
All you had and all you lost.
Ten is more than time can tell,
Cut the cord and ring the bell.
Count eleven, twelve, and then,
Thirteen takes you home again.
One's for the shadow, one's for the tree,
And the last is for the blessing of Persephone.


Author Notes

Seanan McGuire lives and works in Washington State, where she shares her somewhat idiosyncratic home with her collection of books, creepy dolls, and enormous blue cats. When not writing--which is fairly rare--she enjoys travel, and can regularly be found any place where there are cornfields, haunted houses, or frogs. A Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula Award-winning author, Seanan's first book ( Rosemary and Rue , the beginning of the October Daye series) was released in 2009, with more than twenty books across various series following since. Seanan doesn't sleep much.

You can visit her at www.seananmcguire.com.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In McGuire's beautifully written second story featuring hitchhiking ghost Rose Marshall (after 2014's Sparrow Hill Road), set in the same world as the InCryptid series, Rose must confront her most dangerous foe: Bobby Cross, the immortal who ran her down when she was only 16. Bobby's car runs on the spirits of the restless dead, and for him, Rose is the girl that got away. Rose loves her unlife: her true love, Gary Daniels, is finally with her, 60 years after her death, and Rose enjoys ushering the newly dead into their next state of being. Rose has a tattoo that protects her from Bobby, but when he damages the tattoo, Rose must become flesh and blood again-to her horror-and enlist the help of her onetime nemesis, folklorist Laura Moorehead. McGuire gives the headstrong Rose a rich history and firmly anchors her in her present as she crisscrosses the country and spends time in her diner, the Last Dance, with those she loves. This stunning, richly imagined story of love and destiny features an irresistible heroine and is one of the accomplished McGuire's best yet. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

In this strong sequel to McGuire's gripping Sparrow Hill Road, ghost Rose Marshall, aka the girl in the green silk gown, is still being stalked by Bobby Cross. Not content with killing her 60 years ago, he wants to punish her even more in the afterlife. He may even have found a way to bring her back to life, which is definitely not something she wants. On the plus side, Rose has been reunited with lost love Gary and has gained valuable and unexpected allies to help her fight Cross. The author takes a deliberately lyrical tone with this series, making the story feel like a folk song. She has a gift for putting her heroines in danger and finding creative ways to return them to see them out of it. VERDICT McGuire's fans will relish this ghostly treat, as will those with a penchant for the supernatural, specifically works by Simon R. Green.-Laurel Bliss, San Diego State Univ. Lib. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1 A Girl and Her Car This is a ghost story. If you're not comfortable with that--if you like the lines between the living and the dead to be a little more cleanly drawn--this is your chance to bail. This is also a love story, in a sideways sort of way, and a story about second chances you never wanted and can't refuse. It's my story. My name is Rose.  The living are never as far from the dead as they want to be, or as they need to believe they are. Tell someone a murder's been committed in their house and the sale value goes through the floor. Tell them the field where they're standing was the site of some brutal massacre or terrible battle and suddenly they'll claim to have felt the bad vibes all along--and hell, for some of them, maybe that's true. There have always been people who are more sensitive to the desires of the dead than others. But I'll bet you most of them either wouldn't have entered that field in the first place, or actively enjoy the company of hostile spirits. Who am I to judge? I've been known to enjoy the company of a hostile spirit or two.  Regardless, since the world began, the living have walked on a shallow crust of mortality, balancing above the great chasms of the dead. We dig our own graves deeper and deeper, some of us out of a misplaced desire to give the living space, others because they hate what they don't have, heartbeats and breath and an understanding of mortality that doesn't take eternity into account. Dead folk like me, we occupy a level of the afterlife called the twilight, where the things the living love still are , just . . . twisted a little out of true, modified by the realization that physical reality isn't all that big a deal. Dead folk in the twilight, for lack of a better way to put it, mostly want to go about our lives in peace. We want to work and play and get what we pay for and own what we build. Twilight ghosts can be malicious, sure, but for the most part, we aren't out to cause trouble. For the most part. That makes it sound like some big, homogenous, weirdly sanitized version of a haunting, where all the ghosts are polite and all the rules are clearly posted at the city limits. The sort of place where the good stuff happens behind closed doors and the bad stuff happens in the town square under the guise of words like "morality" and "faith." And those levels of the twilight exist, because see, we're one little slice of what waits on the other side of living, but they're a long way from the only thing that's down there. The world of the dead is vast and deep and sprawling, and the only thing that matters is how far a body can dive before the pressure starts getting to them. So yeah, there are Elysian slices of the twilight. There are small towns that would make Ray Bradbury cream his chinos, places where it's always Halloween and it never rains. For all I know, he's the Mayor of one of those little places now, wiling away the endless hours as he lives out his own stories. If he is, that's fine with me, for all that you'd never catch me in one of those tar pits of nostalgic sentimentality. Been there, done that, didn't survive it the first time. Below the twilight you have the starlight, and under that you have the midnight, and if those seem like trite ways to label a place that isn't a place, one that predates our current ideas about the living and the dead, remember that the dead are still people. We get to be trite and simplistic and weird. There are sublevels, slices where the light varies, where the ghosts of stars shine a little brighter or disappear altogether, but those are the big ones.  And connecting them all, winding through them like a ribbon tangled in a dead girl's hair, are the ghostroads. No one built them; no one had to. As long as there's been life in this world, there have been roads, paths that were a sliver more convenient or easier to travel. Shortcuts became trails became highways, until they fell, for whatever reason, out of favor. But life isn't as easy to categorize as some folks would like, and anything that's used enough, loved enough, favored enough, will eventually find its own way of living. So when those trails stopped being used, when those roads were skipped over in order to build a new overpass, when the weeds grew through the concrete and erosion pulled the stones away, they came here. Only roads don't want to build bucolic little towns and call them "Heaven." Roads want to go . The ghostroads connect all the levels and lands of the dead, not only to each other, but to the lands of the living. That's where I come in. I was born in 1936, third of three and the only girl in a house that seemed to consist more of draft than timber. Daddy made it eight years before the pressure got to be too much and he split. He's got to be dead by now, one more phantom drifting somewhere out there in the void, and he must have heard that his darling girl went and made something of herself, me, Rosie Marshall, the Phantom Prom Date, the Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Me, Rosie Marshall, who broke every rule and somehow kept on going. If he's impressed by what I grew up to be, he's never cared enough to come and tell me about it. That's all right. I got here without him. I sure don't need him now. Me, I made it eight years further than my father. I stayed in Buckley Township until the day I died, sweet sixteen and dressed in a green silk gown I'd worked my fingers to the bone to afford. The man who ran me off the road should never have been there. I was an innocent, and he was a predator, and Bobby's always liked them sweet and virginal and so damn young . Like I was. He doesn't care much for me anymore. Not young enough, not innocent enough, not helpless enough by half. That's all right. I don't care much for him. Bobby Cross isn't dead, but he's going to wish he was when I finally catch up to him. He killed me once. I figure it's only right for me to return the favor. There's ways to put a spirit on the ghostroads, and one of the finest and fastest is dying behind the wheel. I was on the road when he ran me down, and I've been on the road ever since. I'm that girl you see walking down the highway median with my thumb cocked to the sun, inviting anyone who wants a little trouble to pick me up and find out where I'm going. I'm the runaway in the truck stop and the teenager playing on the rest stop swings with not a car in sight to get her wherever it is she might be going. I'm harmless, as long as you treat me kindly. I'm so long dead that I've got nothing left to fear. Folks can call me what they like. I've got my fans and my detractors, people who say I'm a menace and people who say I'm the ghost of a saint. It doesn't bother me. Call me the walking girl of Route 42; call me the girl in the diner or the phantom prom date. I'll still be Rose, just Rose, pretty Rose Marshall who died too young and refused to lie quiet in her grave. Like I've said and will keep on saying, I'm just one more girl who raced and lost in the hand of the forest, the shade of the hill, on the hairpin curves of that damned deadly road. People call me a lot of things these days. The ones who know me, though . . .  The ones who know me call me Rose. * * * * *  The neon sign in the window glows a steady green, painting the parking lot in shades of shamrock, glinting off the broken glass on the pavement and the intact windscreen of the lone car snuggled up to the curb. There's always broken glass on the pavement in a parking lot like this one, even as far down into the twilight as I am right now. Where it comes from is a mystery a little bit above my pay grade, and so I leave it alone. It can be somebody else's problem, if it's a problem at all. Even broken things are beautiful when the light hits them the right way. "Order up," calls Emma, and hits the press- top bell she keeps for just such occasions. She beams at me as she walks my white paper bag and insulated cup over, setting them down on the counter in front of me. "From my hands to yours, Rosie-my-girl, fresh and good as anything. How's your boy?" I cast a fond glance at the single car in the parking lot as I pick up my dinner. Unnecessary, yes: the dead don't need to eat, any more than the living are generally bound to the weird little metaphysical necessities that plague your average spirit. But some of us like eating, enjoy the reminder it represents of the days when we were human, and mortality was something that happened to other people. Also, I dare you to find anyone who wasn't lactose-intolerant in the 1950s and yet still somehow failed to pick up a solid appreciation for a good chocolate malt. "He's doing all right," I say, affection and exasperation in my tone. That's always struck me as the best mix. True love isn't all chocolate-dipped strawberries and perfect harmony. It's work, work you enjoy doing, but work all the same. As long as love can drive you crazy and bring you back for more at the same time, it's a good thing. "It's a big change for you, isn't it?" There's a delicacy in Emma's tone that I don't hear very often, and don't particularly care for. I've known her for almost as long as I've been dead, and while I love her milkshakes, I hate her mothering. "For both of you. You're used to making your way around the ghostroads alone, and he's used to--" "Having thumbs, yes." I gave Emma a challenging look. "Is this you warming up to asking about our sex life? Because I swear, I will demand so many milkshakes if the question 'how do you fuck a car' passes your lips." "And you won't answer it." "No, I won't." "That's good, because I don't actually want to know. I just want to know that the two of you are happy, and that you're treading easy with each other. It really is a big change, Rosie." "You think I didn't notice that part?" I set down my bag long enough to jam a straw into my malt and take a slurping sip. Chocolate cherry explodes in my mouth, and my irritation melts a few notches. Trust Emma to give me the goods before she starts asking inappropriate questions. "I think you noticed, I just also think the shock is going to wear off soon." She shakes her head. "Honeymoon periods are another way of saying 'the mind hasn't wrapped itself all the way around a change' yet. I don't want you to break that boy's heart." "Hold on a second here," I protest. "Aren't you afraid of him breaking my heart?" "Sweetie, you moved on sixty years ago. You've always been carrying a torch for the one who got you home--only time anybody ever took the time, and I know you haven't forgotten that--but he's been carrying a whole damn forest fire. He turned himself into a car to have half a prayer of being able to stay with you in whatever passed for an afterlife, and he did it all on faith , Rose. Faith. How often do we see the kind of faith that can do that?" "Not often," I admit. "Gary's special." "He is. But him having faith doesn't mean you owe him anything. You understand that, don't you?" I pause, blinking, and have to swallow a laugh. Emma's feelings will be hurt if I laugh at her. She's only trying to help me, and it's not her fault that she doesn't understand my relationship better. It's not like I've been exactly forthcoming up to this point, and really, how could I be? This is uncharted territory for the both of us. "You know Gary was my high school boyfriend," I say carefully. "You know he's the one who found me by the side of the road, after I'd died but before I understood what the rules were. He drove me home." A thousand rides over the course of sixty years, and only one driver had ever been able to get me all the way home.  Then again, only one of the people who's ever picked me up has loved me. Maybe that's what made the difference. "A ride is not a wedding ring." "And a keychain is not a promise, but here we are." I offer her my best smile. It's contentment in a Sunday dress, and I hope she can see it for what it represents. "We're good. We're figuring things out. Maybe in twenty years he'll decide to move on and go to an afterlife that lets him have hands again, or maybe we'll go there together, after we take down Bobby Cross. For right now, we're happy." "Well, then, you give him my best, and if you need me to figure out how to make a diesel milkshake, I guess I'll buy another blender." Emma's smile mirrors my own, and life--life after death, anyway--is good. Strange and impossible and difficult to describe as our existence is here on the other side of the sunlight, it's good. * * * * * Gary's engine roars to life when he sees me emerge from the diner, carrying the bag in one hand and my milkshake in the other. His headlights come on a second later, flashing a Morse code hello. I grin at him, still the besotted teenager who couldn't understand why one of the neatest boys in school would want anything to do with her. "Missed you too," I say. The driver's side door swings open while I'm still a few feet away. His control is getting better. He's learning his new body, its limitations and its possibilities. Not that long ago, he had trouble with anything bigger than his radio dial. By the time he finishes adjusting, I expect him to be able to do things no car should ever be able to do. Excerpted from The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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