Today I would like to delve deep into the life of young Paul Stanley who is really the main character of my novel ‘The Lady in Red.’ So much of the action moves through him and he is the first one in the modern passages of the novel who becomes aware of the evil menace of one Jack Farley. This first comes through his dreams which is worrying enough for the boy as he can’t understand why he is dreaming of strange goings-on in an historical era. But this is only the start of his battle for survival. Before long his whole family will become fully aware of the dangers they face at the hands of an evil spirit who is hell bent on carrying on from where he left off in his mortal existence.
I’ve already touched on the demon possession aspect of the novel which affects Paul and his two good friends Stephen Carr and Alan Johns so I won’t touch on that here. That blog is entitled ‘Demon Possession in The Lady in Red’ and can be found via the My Books section of the site under the submenu My Thoughts on The Lady in Red. Check it out if you haven’t already done so: it’s well worth a read. These examples of Jack Farley’s power over unsuspecting children creates a rift between the friends at first, but once the true state of play is revealed they soon join forces and become once again The Three Musketeers. This is a name they call themselves and they often make jokes about it. There’s is very much a close-knit friendship, an unskakeable bond which carries them through the difficulties they face. Early in the novel this only amounts to dealing with two school bullies who try to make their life unbearable. but this soon seems trivial in the extreme when set against the horrors which lay in wait for them courtesy of Jack Farley.
The friendship Paul enjoys with Stephen and Alan is very important to him. He is, by nature, a quiet boy but is able to open up to his two friends like he can do with no one else. That is apart form his father who he always knows he can turn to in times of trial. Although he starts to doubt if even this is true after experiencing a bad incident at school which Jack Farley had been responsible for. His father acted as if he wanted to get to the bottom of what was troubling his son but in the end he loses patience with him and leaves him on his own again. He thinks this is what Paul wants but this is far from the case. He needs the support of his family as well as his friends as the world around him begins to look very bleak. But there is no help to be found at home, only coldness from his parents and harshness from his older sister.
Then, just when Paul reaches his lowest ebb, a beacon of hope shines upon him in the form of Charlotte Rothersby, The Lady in Red herself. He first hears her voice calling out to him when he is in church with his family and then she appears to him in the strangest of places. He is taking a walk with his family in the nearby woods where there has recently been a heavy rainfall. He looks down at a puddle and discovers a moving image lying there. Not quite believing his eyes, he investigates further and sees a beautiful woman in historical clothes looking up at him telling him an incredible story of an evil man who had killed her and many others like her. She tells him he has come back in spirit form and is intent on creating more suffering. But she will be there to help Paul and has many friends who will be doing likewise. She tells him not to fear. He is not alone. He will soon be surrounded by friends who will work to bring a halt to Jack Farley’s evil.
When examples of evil start affecting Paul he tries to tell his family about them, but they refuse to believe him. They think it is just a case of his imaginative mind taking control of him. However, it is not long before they are forced to think differently. They soon have their own experiences of Jack Farley’s sinister behaviour which unnerves them. They come to see that Paul had been right all along in what he had been telling them. They realise that something extraordinary is going on around them. After several haunting incidents they realise they have to come together as a family and show their love for one another. It is the only way they will have a chance to see off Jack Farley’s evil menace.
It is not only Paul’s family who are touched by Farley’s sinister intent. Young Stephen Carr and Alan Johns also have their problems with the ghost. Their very lives are placed in jeopardy as they do all they can to help Paul out in his hour of need. But there is only so much assistance they can provide. After all, they are only children. What can they do in the face of Farley’s raging venom? They seem to be nothing but pawns in his hand as he plays his own special brand of chess with his intended victims. He acts as if he is a grand master while his opponents are merely fledgling players who as still trying to work out the rules he plays by. However, there could still be a spanner left in the works to bring down Farley’s world. Charlotte Rothersby has one or two tricks of her own up her sleeve which she is ready to unleash on the evil ghost when the time is right.
Throughout the book Paul shows how inventive he can be as he tries to stand tall in the face of Farley’s infamy. He is encouraged during his disheartening times by the comfort The Lady in Red brings to him. She shows up on several occasions when Paul most needs her. She is a source of great strength to the boy. He knows that with her by his side all is not lost. His family could still be saved from oblivion at Farley’s hands. But he knows it will be a hard battle and that it will not be for the faint of heart. He will have to show courage beyond anything a nine year old boy has had to endure before if he and his family are to come out safely when the tale is finally told.