Amy's Reviews > The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer by John Harwood
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's review
Jan 19, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: bookcrossing, first-novel-or-book
Recommended to Amy by: MartiP
Read in July, 2005

Creepy, convoluted and compelling...not bad for a first novel! You think you see where it is going, then the author twists the plot. Interwoven with Victorian style tales-- some of which I really would have loved to read more of--is the story of a complex family, complete with all the passions of love, obsession betrayal. and revenge. At times I almost lost track of the various threads, but was able to pick them up again in time to race ahead to the end. The author took us there, but I danced between several possibilities of an outcome. Poor Gerard.

Don't read it on a dark and stormy night, if you're up in the tower room of an old house...

"Viola Hatherley was a writer of ghost stories in the 1890s. Yet the eerie presences in her tales of bohemian London, of aspiring young women and struggling artists, are not musty apparitions rattling chains. An anonymous portrait, a green velvet gown, a porcelain doll, even an entry in a library catalogue can open the way to nightmare." "But her work is forgotten until her great-grandson, as a young boy in Mawson, Australia, learns how to open the secret drawer in his mother's room. There he finds a manuscript, and from the moment his mother catches him in the act. Gerard Freeman's life is irrevocably changed. What is the invisible, ever-present threat from which his mother strives so obsessively to protect him? And why should stories written a century ago entwine themselves ever more closely around events in his own life?" More manuscripts come to light, hinting at his mother's role in a catastrophe whose outlines he can only glimpse. A mysterious benefactor, and the prospect of union with his elusive penfriend Alice, seem to promise fairy-tale rewards, even as the sense of a monstrous pattern completing itself around him grows stronger.
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