The Tale of Halcyon Crane
By Wendy Webb
One morning, Hallie James finds her life forever changed by a simple letter. The letter states that she has been left everything by her mother — a woman Hallie thought was already dead.
She decides to confront her father, the man who raised her and a person she has great respect for but is suffering from dementia and now barely remembers her on good days. She knows she can’t ask anyone else and needs to know the truth — did her mother really die in the fire like her father told her? When Hallie tells him about the letter his response is simple and startling, “Madyln wrote to you?” Hallie had always thought her mother’s name was Annie.
When Hallie’s father passes away and she is left to not only deal with the death of the father who loved and raised her but the death of a mother she didn’t know and can’t remember. On a whim she calls the attorney, packs a bag, and travels to the island her mother called home.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s categorized as horror, which I was surprised by. I don’t read much horror and, while this one had a supernatural, creepy factor to it, wasn’t terrifying in the way I think of horror.
It moves fast and the whole time you’re wondering where it will lead. Hallie’s family stories told to her by an ancient housekeeper who seems otherworldly weave a good mystery. Webb doesn’t let too much slip and the twist at the end is a nice reward for the reader. On the downside, the story seemed to rush to the end for me but it may have simply been my reluctance to see it end. I do think it could have benefited from a few extra pages just to add more details though. Several things end up taking place way too fast without much explanation as to why. But it didn’t take anything a way from the story. The ghosts, supernatural events, and an old Victorian house full of secrets keep the story moving.
This is Webb’s first novel and I can’t wait to see what her next offering holds.
In addition to this blog, I also do reviews for The Book Reporter website. The above is a summary of my review, which can be read in full here. The book was provided to me by the publisher for The Book Reporter review.