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The Winter Ghosts

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  6,603 ratings  ·  1,021 reviews
By the author of the "New York Times"-bestselling "Labyrinth," a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.
In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution to the horrors of World War I, Freddie is traveling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Dazed, he stumbles thro
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Hardcover, 253 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Orion
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Hannah
Rating Clarification: 4.5 Stars


Beautifully rendered ghost story that encapsulates grief better then any I have read in a long time. This tale of separation, loss and redemption is bittersweet to the very end. Author Kate Mosse's descriptive prose is lovely, and the story is haunting without being cliched. While I wasn't too impressed with her longer novel, Labyrinth, Mosse delivers an emotional knockout with this shorter work. Of added bonus is the ink drawings preceeding each chapter by Brian G
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Meg
I have created a new shelf in honor of this book, ie 'too painful to finish'. I tried for another 20 pages or so, but it is too awful for me to waste my time on. This is my review when about one-third through.

This story is so tediously over-written, that I am not sure I can finish it. The plot moves at a glacial pace with childish elaboration. As I finish reading several pages when almost nothing happens, I can't help but think of the few sentences that Elmore Leonard would have wrapped it up w
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JackieB
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Graham
An exquisite ghost story, well told, highly emotive, short and to the point. This one has a beautiful backdrop to it in southern France, a land of snow-clad mountains and icy forests. I'm not ashamed to admit it had me bawling at the end.

The various plot strands are neatly woven: the great sense of loss following the Great War; psychological grief; 14th century history; an atmospheric and subtle ghostly presence worthy of the best Victorian authors and even a little mystery here and there.

I've
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Sarah
Jan 29, 2011 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
Freddie is haunted by the memory of his brother George, who lost his life during World War I. After years of sadness and a brief stint in a sanitarium Freddie journey's around France. When a snow storm leaves him with a broken car and lost in the mountains he winds up in the village of Nulle, Freddie finds a girl with a similar past who leads him to a monumental historical discovery.

The Winter Ghosts is a quick read, which is good because it will distract you from the lack of story it has. Mosse
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Blair
This was a thoroughly enjoyable little story with plenty of atmosphere and intrigue. I've only read one other book by Kate Mosse - the readable but somewhat heavy-handed Sepulchre - and The Winter Ghosts was far better. Like Sepulchre, it reads rather like a YA novel, and I wasn't at all surprised to learn it's an expanded version of a previously published short story. But the characters are likeable, the plot grips, and Freddie's meeting with the mysterious Fabrissa and his subsequent discoveri ...more
Felice
It's 288 pages? What is this a short story? The Winter Ghosts is a stand alone novel, not part of the series that ties Labyrinth and Sepulchre.Is Kate Mosse mad at me?

The Winter Ghosts starts like a classic spook tale with the arrival of a stranger. In 1928 Freddie Watson enters a bookshop in Toulouse clutching a letter written in a dead language. He then tells the shocked bookseller his story. Watson had not been able to get past his adored brother's death during WWI. After ten years of grievi
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Damian Dubois
The ideal setting to read a book concerning ghosts would be during the dead of winter, tucked up comfortably in an armchair in front of a warm cosy fire, while the wind outside howls through the eaves and the snow blankets the land outside.

For some reason I always manage to time my reading of ghost stories when the weather is unseasonably warm (for goodness sake, we're only a third of the way into spring and it's already stinking hot!) so the ideal mentioned above unfortunately fell by the waysi
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Elizabeth Sulzby
I found this brief novel about the Cathars' persecution in the 14th Century of France to be much more elegant and rewarding than The Labyrinth. I think Mosse uses the time shifting from the early 20th Century to the 14th century much more skillful and convincing. As with the Labyrinth, the caves allowed whole communities to hide from persecution and death--to a point. The main character has to resolve issues in his modern life with his grief for his brother who was killed in WWI, with his relati ...more
Angie
Winter Ghosts is a ghost story, but is also a story on grief and its effects on the human mind and spirit. It's one of the best depictions of grief that I've ever read. It was hauntingly beautiful, and Kate Mosse's literary style of writing engaged me. Having worked as a mental health professional, I feel a special empathy when reading about those who have or who are experiencing mental illness symptoms. This book definitely stirred those feelings. I also loved the illustrations that accompanied ...more
Susan
2 1/2 stars. Ten years after his brother, George, is killed in WWI, Freddie is still obsessing over him and his death. Entertaining thoughts of suicide, he travels alone to the Pyrenees, crashes his car, and ends up in a sad, isolated village. He meets a woman whom he instantly loves, and listens to her very disturbing story.

Yes, this ghost story has ghosts, a definite plus in my book. I don't understand Freddie's obsession with his brother, an obsession that causes him to be institutionalized.
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Kirsty
Freddie's older brother died in action in WW1. Years later, Freddie is still mourning his loss whilst travelling through France. When he crashes his car in the middle of nowhere and happens upon a small village, he meets Fabrissa, a young woman also in mourning. They share their stories and Freddie finds out there is more to this woman than he originally thought...

This was an absorbing read. I was pulled in from the beginning and found myself captivated throughout. I'm new to Mosse's work and wi
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Kalika
I love ghost stories so I picked up this book with great expectations. Its a story about a man who has lost his brother in the first world war and is still trying to cope with the loss and the subsequent nervous breakdown. As he travels through the south-west of France, trying to overcome his grief, a car break down forces him to take shelter in a small silent village nearby. His promise to attend the annual festivities at the village square later that evening lead to mysteries, romance and adve ...more
Lindsay
Ugh.

I picked up this book against my better judgement, because I really didn't enjoy "Labyrinth" by Mosse, but I figured that this was short, so why not?

It was not very good. There was a good idea buried in here somewhere, but the execution was flawed. The main character drove me crazy. I mean, I get he was mourning, and I have no problem with that aspect of his personality, but he just really irked me. He turned into a babbling idiot for no discernible reason, and the actions he took made no r
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Nikki
The Winter Ghosts felt more like a novella than a full novel: it was a very quick read. Mind you, I found Kate Mosse's other books to be very quick reads, too. It's funny, though, with her books -- I don't remember much of the plots, only the scenery therein, and the devices she used to tell the story (thankfully not in operation here, though it still feels a bit clumsy, of which more in a moment). I have a vague recollection of feeling comfortable, of curling up with the books with rain outside ...more
Sarah Turner
A difficult one to judge, especially as I inadvisably read this over a long period of time - I always feel it's much more conducive to keeping the atmosphere in a book of this genre if read over a shorter period of time. My first impressions were good; I have never read any Kate Mosse before but I found that she writes in a literary style, which I like. There were many literary devices, especially in the first part of the book that made me enjoy reading them. That's one of the best things about ...more
LitAddictedBrit
On the face of it, this is a great ghost story - were it not sent in rural France, I would have said it had a rather gothic feel to it. A lone man roaming through the wilderness after a car crash in a blizzard, stumbles upon an eerily quiet village before finding a guest house and realising that everything is not as it seems...Had it been nothing more, it would be great. As it happens, it was even better!

At less than 250 pages, I expected either a quick-fire story or a character study. I was ple
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Kat
''The dead leave their shadows, an echo of the space within which once they lived. They haunt us, never fading or growing older as we do. The loss we grieve is not just their futures, but our own''

I brought The Winter Ghosts as one of my first ever e-books nearly two years ago, so I’ve no idea why I even choose it – I think because it sounded like a sad and intense story, set in France, which has always held a fascination for me.

The Winter Ghosts is a slow story, but it is the type of story tha
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Amy
Meh. Absolutely and utterly meh. Despite this being a mere slither of a book compared to her two whacking great tomes, Labyrinth and Sepulchre, this seemed to drag on and on. While I liked both those books well enough and paced through them pretty fast, it took me longer to read The Winter Ghosts than it should have just because it was a bit rubbish. And predictable. And saccharine.

Anyone with half a brain - a quarter of a brain, even! - will realise exactly what it is that is happening with ou
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Hayley Bezorudko-chyrykalov
Being that I'm a huge fan of gothic literature, I was excited to find "The Winter Ghosts" in my neighborhood bookstore. Although I usually am a bit jaded when it comes to reading contemporary authors (dedicating my undergraduate degree to English Literature has most assuredly made me a snob), I figured that the USA Today quote stamped on the cover: "This classically haunting novel...will chill the blood of the most jaded mystery fan" deemed it worth a shot. Ok, I tried. Although Mosse is a skill ...more
Paul Cheney
The story starts in an antique bookshop, with a parchment letter than a man wants translating. When the bookseller asks where he found it the man recounts his story.

Ten years after the end of World War I, Freddie is travelling through France to rest and recover after a bout of illness. He travels to the foot of the Pyrenees and suffers a car accident almost going over the edge of the road. He manages to make his way to a village, where he secures a room. The patron tells him about a local festiv
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Furqan
1.5 rating, since there were one or two things I actually liked about this book. It is suffice to say that it was a load of sentimental bollocks. I would have given up on this book, only if I hadn't read and enjoyed Mosse's previous novels (see Labyrinth and Sepulchre). Also, it was a short read, so I thought I might as well finish it because I absolutely hate abandoning books half-way through.

Just like Hosseini in The Kite Runner, Mosse tries to over-sentimentalize the suffering and grief of h
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Sam
A beautiful re-working of Mosse's short story The Cave, this work is both poignant and relevant as we continue to see wars fought the world over. Set in 1933 in the aftermath of the Second World War we follow Freddie Watson as he struggles to come to terms with the lose of his brother during the battle that pre-empted the Battle of the Somme. As he struggles with his grief, his doctor recommends a trip around the south of France, away from all the memories, memorials and general feelings of war. ...more
Tara Chevrestt
The first quarter of this novel...zzzzzzz. What a bad start. We meet Freddie. He has spent time in the looney bin and it's not surprising. When he was a young boy, his older brother went off to fight in the Great War and died. For some reason, ten years later, TEN YEARS.. Freddie can't get over it. He still sees George. He thinks about George constantly. Every other page has a George thought, witticism, or memory. Are you sick of hearing about George yet? I got sick of reading George this, Georg ...more
Nancy
This was on the new book shelf at the library and, since I had read Labyrinth, and found it readable (although I wanted to smack Alice periodically), I picked this one up.

A little over-written (my definition: when the descriptions and location names distract you from the story and interrupt the prose) but the hardcover graphic is really nice :-)
A very quick read, although I have to say that if I had been M. Saurat, I would have been trying to hurry the story along to find out the ending before m
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Heather
Seeking resolution to the horrors of World War One, where he lost his brother, Freddie is traveling through the Pyrenees, when his car spins off the road. He finds a nearby village, is put up, and in turn meets Fabrissa, who seems to mourn a lost generation just like him.

They share their stories with one another, but as morning comes, things related to his being in the town will unravel far beyond what he could have expected.

Someone loaned me this book out of kindness since I'd recently read Lab
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Julie
I quite enjoyed this book. A bit slow from the beginning, but then it started to get better. The second part of the book was quite spooky ((view spoiler)
C.W.
Kate Mosse's ghostly tale of a young man haunted by the loss of his brother in WWII and his search for meaning in a world ravaged by the Great War is a slim, beautiful evocation of how the past can touch the present. Readers used to her epic novels set in the south of France - "Sepulchre" is my favorite - will enjoy this novel, as we follow her hero from his arrival with a mysterious ancient parchment backwards in time to his embarking from his house of mourning on a peripatetic voyage that even ...more
Kazimiera pendrey
this was a truely remarkable read that i would recommend to anyone who enjoys gothic fiction this was a christmas present from my wonderful daughter Georgina
Vivienne
I found this a beautifully written ghost story which utilises Kate Mosse's on-going theme of the importance of landscape and 'place' in history and human consciousness. Her works all have this quality of a spirituality that is both numinous and rooted in Nature. Landscape also serves as a time bridge, something that is very evident when one works closely with the land and are open to the history encoded there.

My only issue with the novel was the short story that was included in my paperback edi
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Kate Mosse is an international bestselling author with sales of more than five million copies in 42 languages. Her fiction includes the novels Labyrinth (2005), Sepulchre (2007), The Winter Ghosts (2009), and Citadel (2012), as well as an acclaimed collection of short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales (2013). Kate’s new novel, The Taxidermist’s Daughter is out now.
Kate is the
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More about Kate Mosse...
Labyrinth (Languedoc, #1) Sepulchre (Languedoc, #2) Citadel (Languedoc, #3) The Taxidermist's Daughter The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales

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“We are who we are, be­cause of those we choose to love and be­cause of those who love us.” 65 likes
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