Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

Title: The Winter Ghosts
Author: Kate Mosse
ISBN: 9780399157158
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2011
Hardcover, 288 pages
Genre: Paranormal, Historical Mystery
Rating: B
Source: LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program

First Line: He walked like a man recently returned to the world.

It is 1928, and Freddie is still mourning the death of his older brother in World War I. Traveling as a way to both learn and escape, he finds himself high in the French Pyrenees. He loses control of his car in a snowstorm and is forced to walk through the woods until he finds a small village where he can take refuge until his car is repaired.

Invited to a village celebration, Freddie meets the beautiful and ethereal Fabrissa who is also mourning the loss of loved ones. During the course of the night, Freddie and Fabrissa share their stories, and when dawn breaks, Freddie not only uncovers an ancient mystery, he also discovers his own role in the life of this remote village.

Having previously read Mosse's other two novels, Labyrinth and Sepulchre, I expected an engrossing tale densely layered with the atmosphere and history of the French Pyrenees. I was not disappointed. Almost from the moment Freddie stepped foot in the quiet, tiny village, the hairs on the back of my neck began to prickle. He was a young man so in need of being rescued-- and of being the rescuer-- that I couldn't help but keep my fingers crossed as he navigated the streets of an ancient place where nothing was really as it seemed to be.

The only quibble I have with this book is that, at one third the size of her previous two novels, I felt a bit cheated. The marvelous atmosphere had time to build only so far before the tale was finished, and my unease allowed to melt away like wisps of fog. If the book hadn't felt so rushed, I would now be waving it around in the air exclaiming, "You've gotta read this!"


  1. Hope to get a copy of this one. I really lied your review Cathy.

  2. Just before I read your last paragraph I was going to ask just how big this book was. I’ve read a lot of reviews of her other novels and most say the books could use some cut in size. It’s interesting you think the other way around on this one!

  3. My sister read this (her review will be up later this month) and just loved it!

  4. Cathy - Thanks so much for this review. I'm usually not much of a one for paranormal stuff, but I do like historical mysteries...I might give this one a go.

  5. I still have yet to read Sepulchre eventhough it's on my shelves right now and I loved Labyrinth. I really enjoy her writing style so hopefully I will be able to get ahold of this one as well. Thanks for the review.

  6. This sounds really good! I'll have to keep this and the other ones you've enjoyed by the author in mind.

  7. Oh I have this one on my nightstand so now I am excited to read it! Although I am a little nervous if it's kinda scary...

  8. I loved this book!

    As for the size, I believe Mosse wrote this originally as a story for adult learner readers to give them a gripping story that wasn't child orientated as the majority of literature for not so experienced readers is. Hence the adapted novel is a tad shorter than her other novels.

  9. Diane--Thanks!

    Alexandra-- The other two books could have used some judicious pruning, and although I would've liked more length to The Winter Ghosts, I'm not talking about adding hundreds of pages... perhaps only 50-100!

    Kathy-- I'm so glad!

    Margot-- The paranormal element is very subtly done.

    Ryan-- You're very welcome!

    Ann-- You're welcome!

    Kris-- If you can, start off with this one, and then if you really like it, go for Labyrinth.

    Leah-- Just pleasantly eerie of that makes sense!

    Vanda-- Thanks so much for the information!

  10. Even after reading your excellent review I am still undecided if I want to read this.

  11. Lindy-- I'd say if you're still undecided, the book can always wait. It's not as if you have nothing else to read!


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