The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse
The Great War robbed a generation of friends, lovers and their gilded youth. In Freddie Watson’s case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Haunted by his loss and fearing for his sanity, he still seeks some sort of resolution.
In the winter of 1928, Freddie is travelling through southern France – which has also seen too much bloodshed over the years – when his car spins off the road during a storm. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods and takes refuge in an isolated village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful young woman also mourning a lost generation.
Over the course of a single night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. And by the time dawn breaks, he finds himself holding the key to a heartbreaking mystery.
The book started slow. No; really slow. In fact, the first 20 or so pages weren’t actually needed. You could skip them and it wouldn’t make much difference. Moreover, the plot can leave you frustrated if you’re not reading it quickly, as it only ties up right at the end, doesn’t give you many – and then there is another loose end, but I won’t go into that too much.
The main character is all right, and the other characters are also quite interesting – once you get to the main plot. Don’t put this book down. Skip parts, if you will, but once you get to the main bit, don’t stop reading.
The plot is great. Like, pretty interesting. It reflects on historical events (which are rather gruesome, so only read if you’re willing to discover some yucky stuff) and the descriptions illustrate it vividly.
All I can say is, don’t get the copy I did – ie, the one pictured. It contains pictures. I wasn’t aware I couldn’t paint my own locations in my mind, but check through it first to see if it has pictures. I did my best to ignore them, but it’s quite hard. Just a heads up!
In summary: this book is great if you like the long-winded ones. It’s also great if you like historical fiction, but if you’re expecting a WWI novel, this is not it. I repeat: this is not a WWI novel. If you want one from WWI, try Valentine Joe. However, if you just want a book that gets to the point and only tells you the stuff that’s necessary, this isn’t it. Also, if you don’t like gruesome stuff (I didn’t realise quite how grim this would be until I read it) I wouldn’t recommend reading this. My rating? 3/5. I liked the plot and the idea, but I didn’t like the style and the amount of unnecessary information.
However, the heartbreaking mystery is just that.