The Winter Ghosts is, unsurprisingly, a ghost story. It concerns Freddie Watson who in winter 1928 takes a trip to the south of France. For the last decade or so he’s been dealing with the guilt of surviving a brother who was killed in World War I. He crashes his car and is forced to take refuge in a remote village. Whilst there he goes to a village festival and meets Fabrissa, who has also suffered loss and grief. However all is not quite as it seems.
OK, I say “all is not quite as it seems”, because it’s one of those trip off the tongue cliches, but in fact if you’re expecting a ghost story (and the title gives that one away doesn’t it?) then you’ll probably see exactly where this is going.
Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy The Winter Ghosts, I did. The predictability is almost comforting in a way, like watching a familiar film on TV at Christmas. It has the feel of one of those classic Victorian ghost stories. Also the Kindle edition which I read had ‘wood-cut’ style drawings as illustrations interspersed with the text and this gave it a nostalgic feel reminding me of some of the books I read as a child e.g. the Narnia chronicles.
(I just found out how to do screenshots on my Kindle – cool huh?)
I’ve read that The Winter Ghosts started life as a shorter story called The Cave and I think it shows. There were times when it feel padded with description. However I did think there was a nice sense of atmosphere and I learnt something about the history of the Cathars in the Pyrenees.
7/10 – a wintry ghost story, perfect for Christmas reading.