Libby Grandy

Lydia, Book Two of the Haverford Trilogy/Available on Amazon

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Synopsis/First Chapter



Book Two of the Haverford Trilogy




   Some people make a difference by simply being who they are.  They help others open their minds and hearts.  Lydia Nelson is such a person.  When people are with her, they have a clearer sense of themselves and are better able to work through their own problems.

   Lydia is the second book in a trilogy, a sequel to the ghost story, Promises to Keep.  The story begins one morning during a winter storm when Lydia has an unexplainable experience involving another resident of the town of Haverford.  Awakened by the ferocity of the blizzard, Lydia is sitting in her kitchen having breakfast when there is a loud knock on the door.  However, there is no one at either her front or back door, nor are there footprints on the snow-covered porches.  Having had other paranormal experiences throughout her life, she trusts her instincts and takes action to save her neighbor.

   Lydia’s family is in the midst of their own personal crises.  Her son, Jim, is separated from his wife of twenty-four years, and her youngest daughter, Ellie, a writer and free spirit who lives in New York City, has chosen to become a single mother through artificial insemination.  A few months into her pregnancy, a new man enters her life, complicating the situation.  Lydia’s oldest daughter, Susan, is struggling to help her husband, who has had a debilitating stroke, deal with teenage daughters and continue to run the family business.

   While family issues swirl around Lydia, it is her ordeal with a deranged neighbor and aggressive developers who want her valuable farmland that drives the story.


                                                         Chapter One


The broken windshield was a mosaic of ice and snow.

He needed help but who would listen?

Whose heart and mind would be open?


The car shook from a burst of wind and sleet.

     “Please, God,” he prayed. “Please, let someone find me.”

     He couldn't move. He couldn't get his arms free to reach the horn or turn the key to start the motor again to heat the car. In a hurry to finish his dinner meeting and get home, he had left his cell phone in the restaurant in the city.     

     It had been a long, cold, frightening night. He remembered his surprise when he turned the steering wheel to follow the curve of the road only to have the car continue straight ahead and drop into the snow-filled field.

     It would have been a soft landing except for the large oak tree. Only the side airbag deployed, and the impact had driven a tree limb through the windshield into his chest. At first the pain had been excruciating, but now he felt numb from his chest down and that frightened him even more.

     Blood ran down his face, but he couldn’t wipe it away, as he was immobilized. At least he didn’t smell smoke, although that could change at any moment.

     He was drifting in and out of consciousness.

     “I have to stay awake. I have to stay awake.” It had become his mantra.

     He stared at the broken windshield covered with ice and snow that now seemed to glitter and shine like crystal. The sun, he thought. The sun must be coming up.

     His tired mind contradicted him. Darkness surrounded the rest of the car. The icy image shifted into strange shapes and designs that looked like shimmering clouds or maybe . . . wings.


     “No,” he cried into the darkness. “My family needs me. I can't die. I won't die! I have work to do. I have to live!”

     The windshield seemed to glow brighter.

     His fearful thoughts receded, and a sense of peace filled his mind. Maybe it was going to be all right. Maybe someone was helping him.


She was in a soft darkness, a dreaming place, in a group of some sort, a council of loving entities. She wanted to stay, listen to what they had to say, but an intruding sound grew louder, pulling her back.

     Lydia opened her eyes. Sleet tapped against the windows. The old farmhouse groaned and shuddered from the onslaught of icy snow and wind. She reached out, turned up the electric blanket and tried to go back to sleep.

     However, the storm was too loud and the room too cold. Lydia turned on the light to check the clock—five a.m. Turning on her side and shifting back, she bumped into Calico, his furry body stretched lengthwise. He pushed against her and began purring.

     Lulled by the soothing sound, Lydia relaxed and thought about her husband who had been a part of the dream that was now fading away. John had died almost ten years ago, but he still appeared in her dreams—especially lately.

     Calico rolled into a ball. “Too chilly even for you, old friend?” she asked, reaching out to stroke the cold fur. The purring became louder. Lydia threw back the covers. “Come on, you lazy cat, we've got to get up!” She pulled on her robe and slippers and hurried across the room to turn up the thermostat. The sound of the old furnace reassured her. Hopefully, it would last one more winter.

     In the bathroom, she stood at the sink, brushing her teeth, splashing water on her face and running a brush through short, white hair, avoiding the mirror in front of her. Her image didn’t reflect who she was anymore. Who is that old woman? she often wondered. Of course, if John were still here, he would only see the lingering vestiges of her former beauty through the eyes of his love. But he was gone. Except in my dreams, Lydia thought, as she and Calico made their way down the steps and into the kitchen.

     Here the wind was even louder, whistling around the corners of the farmhouse. She opened the door of the wrought iron stove and struck a match to the kindling. Thanks to the old stove, the kitchen was the warmest room in the house. Starting the coffee, she placed a blueberry muffin on a tray.

     Soon the smell of freshly perked coffee filled the room. Lydia added fruit to the tray and carried it to her comfortable overstuffed chair in the sitting area of the kitchen. Tucking a soft afghan around her, she propped her legs on the hassock, took a bite of muffin, sipped the hot coffee and opened her daily devotions.

     After she had finished breakfast and her reading, Lydia sat, collecting her thoughts. Each morning she prayed for everyone, but today she needed guidance for herself. She couldn't avoid facing her problems any longer.

     Closing her eyes, Lydia prayed, “I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart. Dear God, please fill me with the light of your love. I release all negative thoughts and feelings to you, that I may be a clear channel for your love into the world . . . .”

     The ringing of the phone startled her. Who . . . ? It was only five-thirty. Then she knew. Susan.

     “Hello, Susan.”

     “Mother, I wish you wouldn't do that. What if it isn't me? I’m going to get you Caller ID. You could embarrass yourself.”

     “When it isn’t you, dear, I don’t say it. Is anything wrong? It’s awfully early.”

     “The whole town of Haverford lost electricity last night, and I woke up worried about you in that drafty old house.”

     Her children, who agreed on so little, had combined forces to convince her that she should move into town and away from the only home she’d known for sixty years.

     “Well,” she said, “I'm happy to say that the electricity is still on out here in the country. Calico and I are having our breakfast, toasty warm by the stove.”

     Susan rambled on for a while about cozy apartments in town. Her oldest daughter did get on her nerves sometimes. In her mid-forties, Susan could be quite opinionated. Finally, Susan’s monologue ended. Lydia agreed to check in with her later and said goodbye.

     The phone rang again. “Mom, do you have electricity?” her son, Jim, asked.

     “Sure do, darling. But I know you don’t. Susan just called and said it was off in town.”

     “Yeah, it is. I’m glad you’re okay out there. Is the house warm enough?”

     “It’s fine. The wood stove is a godsend on days like this.” There was a long silence.

     “Mom, I might drop by and see you today, if the roads are plowed.”

     “Wonderful. Bring the boys with you. They won’t have school today, and if it clears off, they can go skating on the pond.”

     “We'll see how it goes. You know teenagers. I seldom see them anymore. Talk to you later.”

     Hanging up, Lydia thought about her only son. Jim had been unusually withdrawn lately. He was the most self-contained of her three children, a first child, overly responsible and most like his father in personality, although his hair and eyes were dark brown whereas John had been blond and blue-eyed like Susan.

     Well, Lydia thought. Two down. Ellie should be next. Her youngest daughter, the extrovert and free spirit in the family, lived alone in New York City. I’ll tell her about my dream last night, Lydia thought. Maybe she and I can figure out what . . . .

     There was a knock on the kitchen door.

     Lydia was too shocked to move for a moment. Who could be out in this storm? She unwrapped the afghan from around her legs and struggled to her feet. Hurrying across the room, she unlocked and opened the door.

     A blast of cold air took her breath away. Pulling her robe around her, she peered into the dark morning.

     No one was there.

     She flipped on the porch light.

     No one.

     Snow covered the porch, steps and path leading to the garage, but no footprints were visible.

     Confused and shivering, Lydia closed the door. Could it have been the front door? She hurried through the house and turned on the porch light before opening it.

     The front porch was protected from the wind, but no footprints marred the thin layer of snow there either.

     She closed the door and stood in the dark vestibule.

     There had been urgent knocking but no footprints on the snow covered porches. What did it mean?


The grandfather clock in the downstairs hall struck six times. The old Victorian house was freezing. Jenny cradled the sleeping baby closer. Waking around midnight to find the furnace off, she had brought her eight-month-old daughter, Katie, into bed to keep her warm and covered up.

     Her husband, Michael, had gone into New York City yesterday and expecting him home during the night, Jenny hadn’t worried about the house getting too cold, knowing he would stoke the fire in the bedroom fireplace when he arrived.

     But he hadn’t arrived. Where was he?

     Needing to build a fire before Katie woke up, she grabbed her robe from a nearby chair, pulled on slippers, captured her long, blonde hair with a ribbon and hurried to the fireplace. It took a few minutes to get the fire going again, but soon flames licked at the logs. Jenny stayed close to the fire, warming herself, listening to the sleet tapping on the window.

     Why hadn't Michael called? She had tried his cell phone, but it had gone into voice mail. Even if the battery of his cell had died, he would have . . . .

     The phone lines—of course—they must be down. That often happened during an ice storm. Feeling warmer and calmer now, Jenny got back in bed with the baby. She picked up the phone and was dismayed to hear a dial tone.

     Fear, colder than the room, filled her. Michael would never worry her like this if he could help it. Something was wrong.

     What should she do?

     Jim. Maybe Michael’s law partner had heard from him.


The morning's strange happening had convinced Lydia that someone was in trouble, but who would believe her? Jim, she would call her son back. Maybe someone was lost in the storm. He was a member of the Rescue Squad.

     The line was busy. She waited five minutes and tried again.

     “Hello.” Jim sounded tense.

     “It’s me.”

     “Oh, Mom. I hoped it might be Michael. I just left a message on his cell.”

     “Jenny’s Michael?”

     Jim explained the problem. “He went into the city yesterday on business for the firm, but he never came home last night, nor did he call. Jenny’s beginning to panic. I’m worried, too. This isn’t like him.”

     And Lydia knew.

     “Jim,” she said, “If Michael was on the way home, maybe you should have the rescue squad check the road between the train station and his house.”


His head throbbed, and it was an effort to keep his eyes open, but he was afraid to sleep. If he fell asleep, he might never . . . .

  This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. He and Jenny had worked out their problems and started a family. He’d bought into the local law firm and begun a new career as a small town lawyer. Everything was falling into place. He couldn't die, not now, not like this.

     He squinted at the broken, ice-covered windshield and realized that this time it was the sun shining through.

     He had survived the night. Morning had come. Surely, someone would pass by and see his car in the field. Unless the car was hidden by the drifting snow.

     Then he heard it—shouting, first far away then closer. 

     “There he is! Bring the shovels. Hurry!!”