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The Ghost of Thornton Hall is the 28th installment of the Nancy Drew PC series. It was released in stores on May 14, 2013.
Thornton Hall was once a grand manor home to the Thornton family, but in recent years after a terrible tragedy, it and Blackrock Island itself have been abandoned and left to ruin. Bride-to-be Jessalyn Thornton took a friend and dared to return to the manor for her pre-wedding celebration, but she disappeared. Her friend is convinced that the family ghost, Charlotte, took her. Did something supernatural happen to Jessalyn, or is someone in Thornton Hall keeping something besides family secrets?
Late in the night, Nancy Drew gets a call from Savannah Woodham, a supernatural investigator. She begs Nancy to go to Blackrock Island and help find Jessalyn Thornton who has vanished under mysterious circumstances. Savannah herself is too frightened to take on this case, saying Thornton Hall is a dangerous place for people like her. Remembering how helpful Savannah was to her in Shadow at the Water's Edge, Nancy accepts the case.
Soon Nancy is on a ferry to Blackrock Island. The ferryman warns her to watch herself among the Thorntons, "they earned their bad reputation", particularly warning her against Wade and the "loony bin reject, Harper" and especially against Charlotte. As Nancy walks up to the Hall's door, she gets briefly mistaken for Jessalyn by Colton Birchfield, the missing girl's fiance. He welcomes Nancy to Thornton Hall and gives her Jessalyn's dead phone, remarking that the charger got mangled by something. He says that though his bride-to-be may have had second thoughts about the wedding, she never would have run away and let her family worry themselves like this.
Epilogue (Spoilers) Edit
Ghost of Thornton Hall is unique in the Nancy series in that there are three possible endings based on what Nancy chooses to do at the end game.
I was able to pull Clara out of the fire just in time. We rushed out the front door before the stairs collapsed. Imagine my relief when I saw that Jessalyn and Harper had made it out safely as well. Clara finally told Jessalyn the truth. And about how sure she was that she'd be pushed out of the family entirely when she discovered Charlotte had changed her will. How jealous and powerless she felt the night she lit the match, and how badly she wanted to scare Charlotte - how quickly the fire got out of control, and how heartbroken she was at Charlotte's death. She would have given anything to take that night back. Jessalyn later said that was the first time she saw the real Clara - who wasn't a cold-blooded killer, just a woman so dedicated to hiding from her past she lost herself. The fire department traced the source of the blaze back to the faulty furnace in the basement, and insisted we all visit the hospital for exposure to toxic fumes.
The doctor I saw explained the carbon monoxide from Harper's furnace may be the cause of some of the unexpected things I saw around the house. Apparently many of the ghosts in Victorian-era fiction may have been inspired by the effects of exposure to carbon monoxide from faulty heaters. In the weeks that passed, Jessalyn began to have control of the family company. She's offered Wade a position on the board, and trusted him with keeping an eye on the day operation of the company's labor force. I imagine he'll take her up on the offer...once he's back form a trip to visit a certain former ghost hunter. Savannah called to tell me she's invited Wade to come out for a visit. I was a bit annoyed when I found out what Savannah hadn't told me about this case, but I have to admit I'm really hoping things work out for those two.
Colton and Jessalyn seem like they're on the road to patching up their friendship. They both seemed mutually relieved to dissolve the engagement. Colton has a lot to iron out with his parents and his relationship with Lexie, but he seems determined to do things on his own terms. Harper disappeared shortly after the fire. After an exhaustive search, Wade and Jessalyn tracked Harper down, and convinced her to rejoin the family. Years of Clara's manipulation left her a bit suspicious of the offer at first, but she finally agreed provided she could completely raze Thornton Hall, and in its place, build a public park dedicated to the memory of the lives lost on Blackrock Island. Jessalyn loved the idea, and considered it the first meaningful step toward building a company and a family that would have made Charlotte proud. If you ever find yourself visiting Blackrock Island, the creepiest thing you're likely to encounter is Harper enjoying a good book next to the tombstone that bears her name...and maybe those trees. But it's not their fault they look like that.
As for me, I'm looking forward to good old, non-haunted River Heights.
Can't wait to see you!
- Clara Thornton: Clara is the CEO of the family business and Thornton family matriarch. She grew up in this house which holds many memories. Although clearly distraught over her missing daughter, is Clara hiding valuable information about Jessalyn's disappearance?
- Wade Thornton: Wade has a shady past and does not get along with Clara, but nonetheless he has returned to Thornton Hall to help track down Jessalyn. Wade reached out to Savannah Woodham for help since he believes in the supernatural. Could his knowledge and skills hint that has another motive for being here?
- Harper Thornton: Harper is known for being the crazy black sheep of the family and is kept a secret from outsiders. She believes that her older sister, Charlotte, was murdered long ago. When her sister died, Harper ran away for so long, her family thought she died too. When she finally returned she would not say where she had been or what she had been doing. Could Harper's theory be true about Charlotte being murdered? Or is she simply a dangerous distraction to your investigation?
- Colton Birchfield: Colton is Jessalyn's fiance and comes across as charming and suave, and seems genuinely concerned for her. Although the marriage appears to have Clara's blessing, there seems to be some behind-the-scenes tension with his own family. Can Colton be trusted? Or is he as adept as Clara at creating a perfect faćade?
- Jessalyn Thornton: Jessalyn and her best friend, Addison, visited Thornton Hall for a pre-wedding celebration and sleepover when Jessalyn suddenly went missing. Was she kidnapped or has something terrible happened to her in the haunted hall?
- Savannah Woodham: Your ghost hunter and phone friend, Savannah Woodham, calls you in to investigate Jessalyn's disappearance at the haunted Thornton Hall. She needs your help and believes that a logical-thinking, skeptical investigator would survive long enough to track down Clara's daughter.
- Addison Hammond: Addison Hammond (phone friend) is Jessalyn's best friend who spent the night with her at Thornton Hall. Not nearly as brave as Jessalyn, Addison has been really shaken up over the fun-turned-traumatizing night and might not be comfortable discussing the strange happenings with just anybody.
- Bess Marvin and Ned Nickerson: Your boyfriend Ned and friend Bess return as your helpful phone friends and voice of reason for this odd and creepy case. Give them a call for a tip when you get stuck or don't know where to turn.
- Charlotte Thornton: Charlotte tragically died the night of her 21st birthday in a suspicious fire. When she was alive she was a sweet, kind, and caring young girl who loved her family dearly and was loved by everyone in return. Although it appeared to be an accident, her haunting may indicate that there is more to the story. Could her ghost be back for revenge? Did she kidnap Jessalyn? How real is Charlotte to the visitors who meet her?