Publisher: The Berkeley Publishing Group (Penguin USA Group)
Date published: February 7, 2012
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via Publisher
Freddie Watson still misses the older brother, George, whom he greatly loved and lost to World War I. Later, unable to cope, he finds himself in a mental institute, since his parents barely acknowledged his existence following George’s death. After his release from the sanitarium, he seeks closure and peace of mind, traveling into the French Pyrenees, hoping for resolution.
While traveling through a blizzard, his car spins off a mountain road and brings his journey to an abrupt halt. Dazed but still functioning, he stumbles through the surrounding woods and comes upon a small village, Nulle, and an inn owned by Monsieur and Madame Galy, an elderly couple who kindly take him. Once settled, Madame Galy invites Freddie to a local festival that evening, La Fête de Sainte Étienne, and provides him directions to the event.
Freddie decides to attend and soon finds himself in a crowded room full of partygoers, despite his confusion in locating it. He soon meets the beautiful Fabrissa, a young woman who takes an interest in him. As they share sad stories of their pasts, Freddie soon finds himself falling for her. By dawn, a terrible event is revealed from Fabrissa’s past, and Freddie is shocked to discover the role he must play in order for Nulle to recover from its tragic history.
THE WINTER GHOSTS is the first book I have read by Kate Mosse. I find it intriguing, well-written, and suspenseful. Mosse’s writing skill is unquestionable, although I’ll admit I expected more from this story.
As a sucker for a happy ending, hoping for one between the two main characters of THE WINTER GHOSTS, I was a bit disappointed when that didn’t happen. However, I do understand that for the book to justify itself, the ending seemed apropos. It is what logically was expected, since most readers will probably figure a lot of things out before that happens.
I did like the two main characters, Freddie and Fabrissa. Mosse’s skill at characterization and description made me empathize with Freddie, right from the beginning. I was happy that he was going off into the unknown to find resolution and seek a better life for himself. When he met Fabrissa, I felt a triumph for Freddie because I believe Fabrissa to be the right woman for him. I just wished for a happy ending between them...and not what actually happened. There could have been a magical, more romantic ending, yet it was haunting and realistic. Nothing wrong with that, but I believe most readers might feel as I do about the end. THE WINTER GHOSTS left me wanting more. Freddie did find resolution. It just wasn’t what I was hoping for, I guess you could say.
On the other hand, THE WINTER GHOSTS, is a suspenseful read that will keep the reader turning pages. I kept reading, wanting to know what would happen next, and I enjoyed learning about the history of the Cathars. I have never heard of this group of people, and it piques my interest and makes me want to learn more about French history.
THE WINTER GHOSTS is indeed a haunting, poignant story that will linger long in one’s memory. Sad in some places, I was a bit startled at the abrupt ending to this tale, having hoped for a different resolution than the one presented. But, all in all, THE WINTER GHOSTS is a suspenseful, enjoyable story that will intrigue and mesmerize you, right up until the end.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.