A chilling and atmospheric ghost story by the Orange Prize winning Helen Dunmore. In the winter of 1952, Isabel Carey moves to Yorkshire with her husband Philip, a GP. With Philip spending long hours on call, Isabel finds herself isolated and lonely. Woken by intense cold one night, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under it for warmth, she starts to dream. And not long afterwards, she is startled by a knock at her window...
©2012 Helen Dunmore (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
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I enjoyed this book but I was not as gripped by the story as much as I had hoped I would be. I am left with a few unanswered questions, I'm not sure if I drifted off during the story or if there are indeed some holes in the plot.
Even so, I don't regret listening to the story; the author brings post war Britain to life in an amazing way and my historical knowledge feels very much enriched. Isabel's daily life highlights the struggles of coping with postwar shortages and rationing while illustrating the role of woman as mothers and home-makers of the time. Through Isabel's childhood memories we are offered the view of war time Britain from a child’s perspective and through her 'dreams' or 'possessions' from an adult viewpoint.
Although the story was well written and I like the easy flow of the narrator I feel that I spend most of the book waiting for it to start. Instead of being classified as a Horror I think it's true description would be that of a historical romance, if that was the case I suspect my expectations would have been met as I wouldn't have been left anticipating something scary to happen.
"More a supernatural romance than a ghost story"
I read the blurb on this download, and gave it a try with the expectation of something more sinister, a wartime ghost story along the same lines as some of Susan Hill's work, or MR James maybe. Unfortunately for me, this is more of a romance novel with a ghost in it, and not really my thing.
However, if you like romance with a historical or supernatural element, this may be for you.
I had high hopes for this 'ghost' story as I love Helen Dunmore's early novels and have recently listened to Susan Hill's brilliant 'Woman in Black'. This novella starts off well and conjures up a real feeling of isolation of the new GPs wife in a Yorkshire town in the 1950s. This creates a spooky, anticipatory, dreamlike atmosphere. However by halfway through I had tired of the story and found nothing original or vaguely spooky in it. I did persevere to the end as it was well written and narrated and I wanted to find out what happened! Disappointing.
"Great story by a masterful author."
This left me feeling a bit unsettled. A bit of other-wordlyness haunts the characters who seem to exist in a different place where things work in a different way, but they make sense there. The narrator increases the tension imperceptibly, and believably too, to end the book with a satisfying but inexplicable solution. One to read again.
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