The blurb: The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson’s case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Unable to cope with his grief, Freddie has spent much of the time since in a sanatorium. In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees – another region that has seen too much bloodshed over the years.
During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods, emerging by a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful local woman, also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories of remembrance and loss. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries. By turns thrilling, poignant and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.
My review: I have wanted to read this book ever since I spied it at a Wh Smith’s travel in hardback, the cover is beautiful and as it was December and snowing at the time it seemed fated. However having lugged enough hardbacks around in my life I decided to wait for the paperback and it just so happened our book club chose it to read.
The Winter Ghosts is the first Kate Mosse book I have ever read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. What I felt was lacking in Susan Hill’s The Small Hand, was triple fold here, and that is old fashioned terror. Not the gory, ripping your innards out kind, but the more subtle, inferred terror, the kind that makes the hairs on your neck stand on end on a crowded tube on a Monday morning. Carefully crafted tension.
Freddie is the narrator of this wonderfully chilling ghost story, explaining to a French antiques dealer how he has come across a 600 year old letter. His emotional complexities are deeply moving and the tale, for this is definitely a tale, of the villagers of Nulle is handled beautifully. Never giving away too much about the horrors in the mountains until the last possible moment. A lovely book, well worth a read, but preferably somewhere warm and jolly!
8 out of 10 stars! ********
BUY ME! The Winter Ghosts