I just loved Kate Mosse’s “Labyrinth” and also “Sepulchre”, so I was thrilled to find “The Winter Ghosts” on the new release shelf at the library. “The Winter Ghosts” centers on Freddie, a young man still suffering from the loss of his beloved brother in WWI. He is driving in the French countryside and crashes his car during a storm. The villagers assist him and he stays with them for a few days, attending the old-fashioned St. Stephen’s festival and then falling ill with a high fever. While at the festival he meets a young girl, Fabrissa, whom he instantly falls in love with. She shares the tragic story of the history of the area, where a whole town of villagers hid in caves in the hillside to escape religious persecution, but were found and walled in, leading to their deaths. That’s about all I can say without giving it all away!
After LOVING her first two books, I was so excited to read this one. In a word, I was really disappointed. The beginning of the book (which is very short – under 300 pages) moved so slowly. I almost put it down and didn’t pick it up again. But then I just sat down and read the whole rest of it. I could see what was happening well before the main character did – he wandered around in a bit of a fog and didn’t ever use his deductive reasoning or analytical skills to assess the weird goings on that he was part of. To be honest, I would have adored this novel when I was in middle school. It was creepy in a way, and a love story, and not too long. In fact, some internet digging has shown me that Ms. Mosse has previously published a very similar short story entitled “The Cave” that appears to be geared towards young people.
All in all, a disappointment for me as my expectations were different. I found Ms. Mosse’s earlier books well-plotted and thrilling, even though they were long.
Have you read this book? If so, let me know your thoughts!