Christabel, from the prolific Karin Kallmaker's Laura Adams persona, is a gothic romance, a tale of the supernatural and how an evil entity torments one woman's soul through generations. There are two stories told: first, how the evil found and took a young woman, Christabel, for his own in colonial New York. The second story is of the modern la Christabel, supermodel, spinning out yet another life to provide the suffering that the evil thrives on.
In Coleridge's version of this tale, even nature itself is evil (so green, so female), as is the witch Geraldine, who bewitches young Christabel with veiled references to lesbianism. Christabel is just a victim and the rescuer is Sir Leoline, who must fight both the witch and nature for Christabel's soul.
Laura Adams turns this story upside down. Geraldine represents the peaceful, natural world of the native Manhattans, and when the young Christabel meets the native woman, passion soon follows. Their joyous happiness is discovered and fouled by a demon Puritan preacher, who contrives Geraldine's downfall. Easy to do when Halley's Comet has appeared overhead -- blame it on the nearest nonconformist female and call her a witch. As the preacher takes possession of Christabel in the past, the modern day Christa has adopted desperate measures to try to break the cycle. An investment banker, Dina has renounced the part of her heritage that has passed down over time, but one touch of Christa's hand brings the power -- and the passion -- surging back. Defeated in the past, she arms herself for another battle in this lifetime.
The story weaves back and forth in time with perfect clarity. Minor characters from the past have their roles to play in the present. Even an ancient tree contributes -- significantly -- to the link between the two stories.
The plot makes for a good read, and the writing is pure Kallmaker/Adams -- prose matching time period and, of course, unbelievably erotic tension between her characters. The reality of life on the island of Manhattan in the late 1600s is well researched. The resolution is electric and quite, quite satisfactory. Once you start, you won't put it down until the last page.