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The Inheritor

The Inheritor - Marion Zimmer Bradley Leslie Barnes, a psychologist, and her younger sister move into a lovely house in San Francisco. Leslie's looking forward to starting a new practice, and her sister to studying music. Soon, they both meet Simon Anstey, who seems to have a romantic interest in Leslie - and, coincidentally, is an acclaimed music teacher. But strange occurences and auras seem to surround the house, and the two women seem to be the focus of benevolent but intense interest from the local Pagan community.

I very much enjoyed reading this book as a fun haunted house/occult tale, and appreciated that between the previous book in this series (Dark Satanic) and this one, Bradley seemed to have read up on her modern paganism, and incorporated it nicely into the story. However, the ending of this book was extremely problematic, on not just an ethical but a practical level. There are things that both cannot and should not be forgiven - especially not just at the drop of a hat. Among these things I would count murder, rape, and using magical (or any other sort of) influence to induce people to do fairly dreadful things against their will. Being selfishly traumatized is not an excuse for these sort of crimes, and an "oh, sorry" does not atone for them. It's a quite befuddling ending, and I would really like to know if Bradley ever explained why she wrote it this way.