July 9th, 2013


The Winter Ghosts: Kate Mosse

A mash-up of Great War misery memoir, pre-Raphaelite romance (our medieval heroine is described as looking like a painting by Waterhouse), colour-supplement Francophilia  and tweedy traditional ghost story, with stock characters, a faltering sense of period, cliches by the gross and a long-delayed climax you could spot coming about a third of the way through. I lost faith in Mosse when she told me she was a fan of the traditional English ghost story and then identified Le Fanu as an Edwardian. She left me feeling that if you want to write a run-away bestseller you must- at all costs- avoid doing anything to surprise the reader.

Before I read this- and thinking I was going to enjoy it- I made the mistake of investing (not very heavily) in a copy of Mosse's first novel- the huge, tomey Labyrinth (even her titles are secondhand.) It will now be going straight back to the charity shop.