Friday, January 3, 2014


Publisher:   Nan A. Talese
Date published:  January 28, 2014
Genre:   Speculative Fiction
Book format: Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher

Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina

Three Hearts

Three stories of three groups of people, separated by years and miles, come together in Valerie Martin’s THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE.  Ship’s Master Benjamin Briggs brings his beloved wife along on his most recent journey.  The crew, if they lived to tell the tale, would say the couple were so very much in love.  Sailing is smooth and easy until one night a storm descends upon them.  In a moment all is lost and Benjamin, his wife and all the crew are washed ashore.  When the ship is found there was no sign of any danger or damage.  With its cargo intact there is no explanation of where all the souls aboard went. 

In land their son, little Natie, has been left with the family.  While originally a hale and hearty child, bit by bit, day by day he grows weaker and weaker.  And one day, not long after his parents’ passing, he too dies.

At the time the Mary Celeste was lost the then modern world became enthralled with Spiritualism.  A famous spiritualist purports to know what happened aboard the ship—what happened to the Ship’s Master and his wife.  Yet at the same time there are those who which to expose her as a fraud.

The last thread of the story weaves in the then unknown, Sir Author Conan Doyle and a journey to Africa.  Events on the voyage spur his serious writing career to fruition. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Valerie Martin’s MARY REILLY, a story that at times made me laugh for the hope it gave and tears when a family is torn apart.  When I saw she had written THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE I had to read it.  It is not a happy story.  There is much sadness as one can expect from the tale of not only a lost ship, but no explanation of what happened to its crew.  Though the part that dealt with Natie was short in comparison, it was heart renting. 

The segments that told the story of the Spiritualist were fully fleshed out.  It was an interesting practice, often taking advantages of those grieving a lost loved one.  Ms. Martin tells both sides of the story leaving the reader to decide if the ability is real or not.

Ms. Martin ably weaves the three different stories into one enthralling and spell binding tale.

I recommend THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE to anyone  who enjoys speculative fiction.  The whole “what if” regarding the missing crew drew me in from the first word of the blurb and throughout the entire story.  Be prepared, however, because there is heartbreak in the story.  Be ready to do something kind for yourself as you read it. 

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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