Any man might create a Palm Bride…It’s made of dreams.
I love me a good historically-influenced fantasy story, and Hurlburt’s story set in St. Augustine-of-the-past, -of-the-not-quite-here-and-now, delivers.
The setting of the story is post-war, when those who returned from the fight are still alive but now old and grey, and the war is near enough so that the uneasy tension between black and white remains, along with the uncomfortable matter of unchaperoned, unmarried young girls. Miss Randolph has traveled to St. Augustine from Seneca Falls to pursue a matter of ghosts, or spirits, but what she finds at Mrs. Cobb’s mansion, Villa Reina, is not at all what she expects. That which inhabits the Palm Bride is “a spirit now, and a bit livelier than most, but there was a time in which she was a goddess”. Miss Randolph is there both to study the spirit and exorcise it.
It’s a pretty standard ghost story; I kept waiting for some twist at the end, but I never quite got it.