Find your local bookshop About the Book A haunting ghost story from the French mountains. The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. Unable to cope with his grief, Freddie has spent much of the time since in a sanatorium. In the winter of , still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees - another region that has seen too much bloodshed over the years.
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Every step was careful, deliberate. Every step to be relished. He was tall and clean-shaven, a little thin perhaps. Dressed by Savile Row. A light woollen suit of herringbone weave, the jacket wide on the shoulders and narrow at the waist. His fawn gloves matched his trilby. He looked like an Englishman, secure in his right to be on such a street on such a pleasant afternoon in spring. But nothing is as it seems. For every step was a little too careful, a little too deliberate, as if he was unwilling to take even the ground beneath his feet entirely for granted.
And as he walked, his clever, quick eyes darted from side to side, as if he were determined to record every tiny detail. Toulouse was considered one of the most beautiful cities in the south of France. Certainly, Freddie admired it. The elegance of its nineteenth-century buildings, the medieval past that slept beneath the pavements and colonnades, the bell towers and cloisters of Saint-Etienne, the bold river dividing the city in two.
The pink brick facades, blushing in the April sunshine, gave Toulouse its affectionate nickname, la ville rose. Little had changed since Freddie had last visited, at the tail end of the s. He had been another man then, a tattered man, worn threadbare by grief. Things were different now. In his left-hand breast pocket was a letter patterned with antiquity and dust, secure in a pasteboard wallet.
It was this - and the fact that, at last, he had the opportunity to return - which brought him back to Toulouse today. Freddie crossed the Place du Capitole, heading towards the cathedral of Saint-Sernin. He walked through a network of small streets, obtuse little alleyways filled with jazz bars and poetry cellars and gloomy restaurants. He sidestepped couples on the pavements, lovers and families and friends out enjoying the warm afternoon. He passed through tiny squares and hidden ruelles, and along the rue du Taur, until he reached the street he was looking for.
Freddie hesitated at the corner, as if having second thoughts. Then he continued on, walking briskly now, dragging his shadow behind him. His destination. He stopped dead to read the name of the proprietor painted in black lettering above the door. Momentarily, his silhouette was imprinted on the building.
Then he shifted position and the window was once more flooded with gentle sunlight, causing the metal grille to glint. Freddie stared at the display for a moment, at the antique volumes embossed with gold leaf, and the highly polished leather slip casings of black and red, at the ridged spines of works by Montaigne and Anatole France and Maupassant. The old-fashioned handle was stiff and the door dug in its heels as Freddie pushed it open. A brass bell rattled somewhere distant at the back of the shop.
The coarse rush matting sighed beneath the soles of his shoes as he stepped in. But there was a pleasing smell of dust and afternoons, glue and paper and polished wooden shelves. Particles of dust danced in and out of the beams of slatted sunlight. He was sure now that he had come to the right place and he felt something unwind inside him. Freddie took off his hat and gloves and placed them on the long wooden counter. Then he reached into the pocket of his suit jacket and brought out the small pasteboard wallet.
The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse: review
The only question is: is it a good or a bad cheese sandwich? The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse Mosse is still working on the third book in that trilogy and while she takes a break she has produced this extra novel to tide fans over. Although The Winter Ghosts is a slimmer affair than those last two offerings, it is thoughtfully constructed, and contains all the classic ingredients of a spectral yarn. It begins when young Frederick Watson steps out of the bright April sunshine of Toulouse, , and into an antiquarian bookshop clutching a letter written in medieval Occitan. Mosse gives us graveyards, castles, ruins, mysterious locked towers, dark cobbled streets and a lonely road in the whistling pines.
The Winter Ghosts, by Kate Mosse – review
Start your review of The Winter Ghosts Write a review Shelves: favorites , mystery , historical-fiction , british-literature , crossover , paranormal , france , magical-realism , european-history , gothic-fiction Bones and shadows and dust. I am the last. The others have slipped away into darkness. Around me now, at the end of my days, only an echo in the still air of the memory of those who once I loved. Solitude, silence. Kate Mosse is one those writers that I trust completely.