In Craig Sodaro's The Beating Heart, Ivy McEwin, a college history major, is so intrigued by a photograph of a young woman who lived during the Civil War that she travels to the woman's home, Ravensgate, an old Southern plantation. Ivy hopes to unlock the secrets of the woman's life, but instead meets the woman in death. The current owners, who are trying to restore the house into a bed and breakfast, have already noticed a number of strange things going on: the mournful sounds of a woman weeping at night; the frequent, unrelenting beating of a heart, and the rocking of an empty chair. As ghosts appear and horrific events frighten off the last of the guests, Ivy is more determined than ever to stay, even when the housekeeper tries to make her leave. Gradually, a story of murder and revenge unfolds, reaching a climax when a teenage girl possessing "the gift" enters the spirit world and lays bare secrets held for 150 years.