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Four women whose photographs Susan has found in an old scrapbook stolen from an an~tique store "pop out of pictures . . . talk to me . . . send me postcards." "Do you think I'm crazy to believe in ghosts?" she asks her friend Catherine, a photographer and historian. She sets out upon a cross-country quest tracing, from early in the century, the lives of the four: Sarah, an economic historian and labor organizer; Lucy, a novelist and English teacher; Harriet, an actress; and the mysterious Elinor--a journey leading to an eventual meeting with the one of the four who is still alive. But the haunting continues against the backdrop of Susan's relationship with Catherine, which is strained by Susan's affair
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Lesbian ghosts have been haunting Susan ever since she felt compelled to make off with a 1920s photo album from a New York City antiques store. The ghosts--the women featured in the album--whisper in Susan's ear, titillate her with gossip about their love lives and literally seduce her. A confused 30-year-old with a bunch of advanced degrees and little desire to use them, Susan becomes swept up in the lives of her spiritual predecessors and sets out to understand their history. Her quest is complicated by a rocky relationship with her lover, Catherine, who is bothered by Susan's obsession with the ghosts. Martinac, whose writing appeared in Voyages Out 1: Lesbian Short Fiction , has a passion for the remnants of yesteryear; she excels at descriptions of antiques stores, 1920s nostalgia and the experiences of maverick women of those times. Less successful is her depiction of contemporary romance, which is weighed down by the kind of solemn analysis that engages only the people in the relationship. Susan's romance with the past, however, and the lessons she learns from her ghosts, ought to satisfy readers interested in lesbian social history. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved