The Winter Ghosts
By Kate Mosse
I’ve wanted to read a Kate Mosse novel for a while now. Why I haven’t picked one up earlier is a mystery to me. Fortunately, I had this book with me on a business trip and found myself so entangled with the story that my flight being delayed over and over again didn’t have the slightest impact.
Freddie Watson is a troubled person. Still badly grieving the loss of his brother during WWII, he conjures up memories of his brother and talks to him for comfort when the pain gets too bad. A stay in a mental institution hasn’t done much except to convince him he’s damaged. In an attempt to find peace and quiet, and possibly a break from the ghosts that surround his life, Freddie takes a trip through the French Pyrenees and while driving through a blinding snow storm, he crashes his car. Not badly hurt, he finds his way to a small mountain town where an inn keeper is willing to take him in. She offers him a room, dry clothes, and the opportunity for a bit of socializing as the town will be hosting a celebration that night. In an uncharacteristic attempt at fun, Freddie decides to go to the event but gets lost on the way. He finally makes it and is seated next to a beautiful woman he falls instantly in love with. After speaking to her all night and releasing a few of his tightly held stories about his brother and how he’s obsessed with his death, a fight takes place at the dinner and he runs away to the hills with her. When Freddie is found the next morning, all he wants is to find the woman he met at the dinner but a fever soon makes his searching impossible and he’s forced back to the inn. In a daze, he struggles to understand what happened to him and whether or not the woman he met was even real as no one seems to believe him.
There’s a strange coldness to this story and it’s not that it takes place during winter in the Pyrenees. Freddie is hurting so much he turns himself off from life and when he finally finds something to make him happy, he finds out the woman he has fallen for is most likely a ghost or possibly even a figment of his imagination. Is he slipping back into the depths of his mental problems or has he found something no one else knew existed? I won’t say more because I don’t want to ruin it if you plan to read this one. I will say I enjoyed it immensely and not just because my flight was delayed. It was a thoroughly engrossing book.