Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Winter Ghosts - Kate Mosse

The Winter Ghosts
Kate Mosse
Life essentially ended for Freddie Watson when news of his brother’s death arrived during World War I.  It took him several years after that to completely fall apart at his 21st birthday celebration.  Perhaps it was the guilt of knowing that he had now lived longer than his cherished older brother.  In any case, his reserved English parents were of little support and no compassion for his breakdown. 
After several months in a sanitarium, Freddie’s doctors pronounced him fit enough to leave.  Travelling in France might be a way to change his perspective, through a change of place.  A snowstorm descends while he’s driving on small mountain roads, and the inevitable accident happens.  Freddie manages to walk to a village called Nulle in search of help.  The proprietress of the local inn tells him that there’s a festival that evening, and invites him to attend if he feels up to it.  It’s a decision that makes all the difference in the world.
This novel is a beautifully-written ghost story; or a finely-crafted mystery, depending on your point of view.  In either case, this is exactly the type of book that reminds me of why I love to read.  The prose is almost spare, but it’s wonderfully evocative, setting the scene and the time.  It’s a story of love and loss; of this world and another; of chances lost and chances gained.  It’s a small gem of a novel, and one that I’ll be re-visiting.

Rating: 9
February 2012
ISBN# 978-0-425-24529-3 (trade paperback)


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