Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: The Winter Ghosts

'The Winter Ghosts'
Author: Kate Mosse

Format: ARC
Published: Putnam Adult; Feb. 2011
Pages: 288
Genre: Historical fiction
Grade: D
Source: Publisher

Synopsis: In Mosse's wisp of a new novel (after Sepulchre), Freddie Watson is a stilted young man who has not gotten over older brother George's disappearance on the Western Front during WWI. It is now 10 years since the Armistice, and Freddie, after a stay in a mental institution, has come to the French Pyrenees to find peace. While motoring through a snowstorm, he crashes his car and ends up in the small village of Nulle, where he meets a beautiful young woman named Fabrissa. In the course of an evening, Fabrissa tells Freddie a story of persecution, resistance, and death, hinting at a long-buried secret. By the next morning, she is gone, leaving Freddie alone to unlock a ghostly mystery hidden for 600 years. 

My Take: I know when you look at that title and cover you'll say to yourself, well what the heck is she doing reading a book like that in the middle of the summer? Well sometimes I just grab! I wanted a book that was slim. This one has been sitting in my review pile for awhile and it is, well, tantalizingly small. Most of the books I read are 300+ pages and sometimes I just want to be able to zip through a book! Plus, I love historical fiction so the setting seemed great, regardless of the season. In action though, it didn't work for me.

Kate Mosse, while a new to me author, is a popular one. I feel I may be selling her short by having this be the only book of hers I've read. The narrative centers around Freddie who in the 1920s, cannot move on from the loss of his brother George who died fighting in WWI. His brother was the star of his little family. His parents idolized him and Freddie loved him; without George, Freddie is lost. Years later, he has had breakdowns, institutionalization, more familial deaths and is trying to move on. Bottom line, Freddie is your regular anti-hero. However, he never really does anything to make you want to root for him in the end.

He winds up in a small French town in the middle of a snow storm when they are having an annual festival and gets caught up in the action. He winds up meeting a girl and he thinks she might be the one but all might not be as it seems. The story is incredibly slow and you aren't really sure why it is so slow. The book is short, you would expect it to be action packed, for every word to count. Instead, I found myself falling asleep. I knew the twist halfway in, and then you don't really want to keep reading after that.

So my question to you is, if I was to give Mosse another try, which book is a must?

As always there are other opinions out there, so don't take my word for gospel! Here some other people who enjoyed this one much more:
Just Book Reading
Knitting and Sundries
Jenns Bookshelves

Cover Lust: I love this cover! It does set the scene perfectly for one dark and stormy night!


  1. I love the idea of an a-seasonal read. We like to save some snowballs in the freezer for a July snow fight :-) Sorry the book wasn't as good as you hoped, though the plot does sound intriguing!

  2. Oh darn - you are the second of my "go to" bloggers to really not like this book...and I have it in my review stack. Makes me want to just miss it. I haven't read a Mosse book before, so like you, this will be my first of hers.

  3. I am sorry you didn't enjoy this book. Actually I have read Kate Mosse's previous books and disliked both of them, so I wouldn't recommend them either. Seems like I will be avoiding The Winter Ghosts.

  4. I haven't read anything by this author. So sad to hear it was slow because the summary makes it sound so good.

  5. I did start this one but then I got that "I wanna stab myself in the eye" feeling and just gave up

  6. I immediately added this to my wish list when I first heard about it, but have since removed it. After reading mixed reviews, I'm leaning to the side that thinks this wouldn't work for me.

    I did enjoy your review.

  7. I'm afraid I've never even heard of this author. Which kinda makes me wonder where I've been.

  8. It's amazing to me how this author has such great ideas for stories, but the execution of it normally falls flat. I read Labyrinth and had the same reaction. The idea for the story was such a good one that I couldn't pass up reading it, but I ended up never finishing that it.


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