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Ghostwritten [Paperback]

Isabel Wolff
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
Price: £5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

27 Mar 2014

She listens to everyone else’s story, but can she find her own?

Perfect for fans of Tenko, The Railway Man and The Narrow Road to the Deep North

A childhood mistake. A lifetime of regrets.

Jenni is a ‘ghost’: she writes the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own.

Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell.

But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara’s help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?

Gripping, poignant and beautifully researched, Ghostwritten is a story of survival and love, of memory and hope.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (27 Mar 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007455062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007455065
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘A brilliant, tender and thought-provoking read’ The Lady

‘An emotional read and well worth burning the midnight oil over.’ Western Morning News

‘A poignant story that portrays the suffering of women and children with vivid horror’ Sunday Mirror

‘Wonderful, tender and compelling’ Rachel Hore, author of The Silent Tide

‘A deeply moving read – I loved it’ Dinah Jeffries, author of The Separation

‘Haunting reading’ My Weekly

‘'Breathtakingly beautiful and sensitive … a gripping and extraordinarily poignant story which captures both heart and mind.' Lancashire Evening Post

‘Beautifully written, extraordinarily moving – a story that grips from start to finish’ Lesley Downer, author of Across a Bridge of Dreams

About the Author

Isabel Wolff was born in Warwickshire and read English at Cambridge. She is the author of ten other bestselling novels, which are published in 29 languages. She lives in London with her family.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and harrowing, but an excellent read 16 Mar 2014
By Penny Waugh TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have not read this author before, as romantic fiction is not often to my taste, but I found this book remarkable in the way it moved me. I have read many first hand accounts of Japanese prison camps, especially those for women and children, and though this is fiction I found it completely believable, horrifying and both saddening and uplifting. The detail is brilliantly researched and this reader found it hard to read as fiction.
That I give it four stars is mainly due to the opening chapters. Jenni failed to move me then and quite honestly she failed to move me later on in the story. Her own past contained a childhood tragedy and she is a withdrawn person who finds it very hard to talk about herself. Instead she has become a ghostwriter, taking on not celebrities but self-help books and the memoirs of people who have the stories but feel they lack the ability to write them themselves. The latest of these is Klara, a Dutch-born woman just about to reach her eightieth birthday but still vigorous, who lives in Cornwall and has told her English family little of her sufferings but who spent most of her childhood in Java in what was then the Dutch East Indies where her father, before the war, was a rubber planter. War comes; her father first is taken away by the Japanese and later she, her mother and young brother are also taken to overcrowded camps where starvation is a fact of life, survival is hard and the treatment brutal. Klara and her mother are strong people but the years of captivity take a terrible toll.
Klara is a splendid character and comes vividly to life. Jenni is always more shadowy and quite hard to like.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect read.. 6 April 2014
By Petra "I love to read" TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff for me was a brilliant read for one main reason the author has a wonderful gift of storytelling that can open up the lives of two separate characters and show us readers their lives in a brilliant and fascinating way.
For me the subject of the Second World War is one I am always wanting to know more about especially with this book we got an inside view into the lives of those children who were imprisoned by the Japanese.
The main characters of the book was Jenni a ghost-writer who is dealing with a terrible tragedy of her own past which has scarred her to such a degree the thought of having her own child terrifies her. We then meet Klara who is also dealing with a history which has affected her whole life but in a different way. As we hear Klara's story as she tells Jenni her story her time in the internment camp through the Second World War was very harrowing and heart-breaking. For Jenni hearing the hardship which Klara was forced to live through plus the deep losses she endured, really spoke to Jenni and this was also her own story as she deals with her own past which really made this book an extra special read which was filled with ghosts of memories throughout.
Ghostwritten written by Isabel Wolff is a book which I am happy to recommend to other readers of historical fiction especially those who like books which are also based in the present time.

25 April 2014.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a ghostwriter, Jenni’s job involves writing books for people who are unable or unwilling to do the writing themselves. Many of her projects include celebrity biographies and self-help guides, but some of her clients are ordinary people with extraordinary tales to tell. At a friend’s wedding she is introduced to a man who tells her about his mother, Klara, a Dutch woman who survived the Japanese internment camps in Java during World War II. Klara has said very little to her family about her wartime experiences, but as she approaches her eightieth birthday she has decided that the time has come for her story to be told. Intrigued, Jenni agrees to visit Klara at her home in Cornwall and help to put her memories down on paper.

The only problem with this new project is that the little Cornish town of Polvarth where Klara lives is a place that holds traumatic memories for Jenni, but although she is not very happy about returning to Polvarth, the temptation of hearing Klara’s story is impossible to resist. After meeting Klara and listening to her talk about her childhood, her family’s rubber plantation in Java, and the unimaginable horrors of the internment camps, Jenni is both moved and inspired. She has been going through a difficult time with her boyfriend, Rick (he wants children and she doesn’t), and she is still haunted by her own tragic past – but being with Klara gives her the strength to start facing up to her problems.

I enjoyed Ghostwritten and while I was initially drawn to it because of the Java storyline, I thought the balance of the contemporary and the historical was just right. I did prefer Klara's storyline to Jenni's, but ghostwriting sounds like an interesting career and I loved reading about Jenni’s work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting in every sense of the world: a fabulous read
Every now and then you get a book that you just want to keep reading and reading. Three nights on the trot now I've stayed up far later than I should just to find out what happened... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Littlepig Littlepig
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly beautiful.
I loved this book, I was drawn into it from the first page and whilst I quickly guessed the reasons behind Jenni's dilemma, Klara's story intermingled beautifully with Jenni's... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved it, a real insight into a horrible time in history
Published 20 days ago by Julie Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Isabel Wolff's expertly crafted historic novel – Ghostwritten - does not take the reader back in time as much as bring the brutality and suffering of the WW2 Japanese internment... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Roger McKinlay
4.0 out of 5 stars JAVA comes to life in this beautiful story
Jenni, in modern day is ghost writing the memoirs of Klara, who looks back at her time of childhood on Java and subsequent internment in a Japanese POW camp. Read more
Published 1 month ago by TripFiction
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Isabel Wolff surpassed herself with this novel. It was a bit emotionally tough in places, but excellent none the less.
Published 1 month ago by Elaine C
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommendable
Great read, great story, probably a woman's book, for me, a keeper.
Published 1 month ago by Pamela
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An unusual book with lots of detail. Keep a tissue handy!
Published 2 months ago by Dee Coleman
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommened
I really enjoyed this book it had me drawn in from the very beginning. I liked Jenni and found her characters very good and the way she came across in the book was very good. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Karen Gooderham
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story
An excellent, well crafted story with very moving historical content from WW11 detailing events from the war with Japan.
Published 2 months ago by L. M. Bott
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