The Winter Ghosts (Kate Mosse) - Knihy | Martinus.czLocation: 1847—our favourite veggie restaurant and a regular venue—the best halloumi in Birmingham as voted by us!

Chosen by: Every year, we seem to look for a wintry, ghosty book to suit the season (yes, I’m 5 months behind with this review, apologies). The Winter Ghosts had mentioned for a few years, so this year we bit the bullet.

Set in France in 1928, Freddie is unable to overcome his grief at the death of his older brother George, who died in the war. Freddie is battling his own demons—and having gone to France for a change of scenery, he loses control of his car on a snowy road in the Pyrenees. After staggering to the nearest village, he finds a place haunted by an overwhelming sadness. At a banquet in the town, he meets the enigmatic Fabrissa and they spend the night sharing their stories with each other.

Although the plot is somewhat predictable, I won’t spoil the story for you beyond the blurb. Plus, the plot isn’t really what’s important here. The book isn’t a simple scary ghost story, but an exploration of grief and how difficult it be to overcome. The story is extraordinarily sad, not least because it’s based on real history, a true story that isn’t well-known.

As anyone who has read Mosse will know, she’s renowned for her power of description. This novel, although shorter than her trilogy, is no exception. The snowy landscape is so evocative that you need an extra blanket to read this book. She paints an atmospheric picture of the landscape, transporting the reader to the south of France. If it wasn’t easy enough to imagine, there’s also a helpful map and illustrations. It’s perfect when the weather outside is frightful.

That said, Mosse is a marmite author. Some of us loved her descriptive style, while others found it over-laboured, feeling that the book was longer than it needed to be. Most agreed that this is a quick and easy read, with pleasingly short chapters. It’s undoubtedly well-written and evocative—the question is whether Mosse is your cup of tea.

Score: 8

If you’ve read The Winter Ghosts, you can score it out of 5 using the star rating above.