Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Winter Ghosts, Kate Mosse

Freddie Watson is a man stuck in time.  World War I, The Great War, the War to End All Wars, may have ended 10 years ago, but he is still grieving the loss of his brother, George, on the battlefield in France.  After being hospitalized for severe depression, Freddie still sees and hears his brother all the time.  Thinking a change in location might help, he is driving through the Pyrenees one night when a freak snowstorm forces him off the road.  He finds a small village hidden in the hills, where he finds a small guest house to take him in.  That night, he travels to a village feast and meets Fabrissa, a beautiful young woman with whom Freddie is instantly entranced.  The next day, when he tries to find her again, everyone in the village acts as though the feast, and Fabrissa, are imaginary.  Who was this woman?  Where was she?  When was she? Freddie finds peace and redemption in this intriguing ghost story.

Mosse does an excellent job of setting the stage for the events in this book.  The sense of place is very strong.  I felt the wind and the snow, I could picture vividly the small village, the woods, the cave.  Freddie himself is a well-developed character, Fabrissa less so...but then, the story isn't really about Fabrissa.  It is about acknowledging what has been lost, recognizing the injustice of death, and then moving forward.  Fabrissa and the others couldn't move forward until someone knew what had happened to them, and by leading the world to discover the cave where she died, Freddie finds his own peace as well.  This slim volume is an easy, enjoyable read.

2 comments:

  1. I've just finished reading this too, and endorse everything you say. It was wonderfully atmospheric and gripping, and I rather liked the length. The edition I read had some lovely grainy pictures of the locations too.

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  2. Good to know it was as good as I'd imagined. I discovered this book last fall and I was excited for it.

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