|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
MP3 CD, Audiobook
Phyllis Freeman, Gerard's mother, was happiest when speaking fondly of Staplefield, her childhood home, where there were things they "didn't have in Mawson [Australia]--chaffinches and mayflies and foxgloves and hawthorn, coopers and farriers and old Mr Bartholomew who delivered fresh milk and eggs to their house with his horse and cart." It's the sort of childhood idyll that the timid and lonely Gerard believes in and longs for. He strikes up a correspondence with an English penfriend, Alice Jessel, when he is 13 and a half, living in a desolate place with a frantic mother and a silent father. She is his age, her parents were killed in an accident and she has been crippled by it. She now lives in an institution, and her description of the grounds sounds much like his mother's description of Staplefield. They go through young adulthood together, in letters only, thousands of miles apart, eventually declaring their love for one another.
Interwoven with the narrative of Alice and Gerard's letters are real ghost stories, the creation of Gerard's great-grandmother, Viola. At first, they seem to be scary Victorian tales of the supernatural. Then we see that they have a spooky way of mirroring, or preceding, events in real life, off the page. Gerard comes upon them, one by one, in mysterious ways, but clearly something, or someone, is leading him. The stories seem to implicate his mother in some nefarious goings-on, but the truth is far worse than Gerard imagines.
Any more would be telling too much. Turn on all the lights in the house when you settle down with this one, and plan to spend a long time reading because you will be lost in the story immediately. --Valerie Ryan, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I found all the different stories in the chapters really confusing, but the end was good. Id have preferred less of all those smaller storiesPublished 6 months ago by wickedsarah
I really wanted to enjoy this book but ultimately was left rather frustrated. There are some very good sections. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Middleagedreader
There were a lot of story lines intertwined, the effect was more confusing than interesting. A few macabre touches, but these didn't really add to the plot and characters. Read morePublished 10 months ago by janbay
This strated off and it was interesting, but then it all got a bit silly. Towards the end I had lost interest in the story and I needed to put some effort in just to read the last... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Fraser
After reading this and The Séance, I am in no doubt that John Harwood is an accomplished author of the gothic genre. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Rossi
Gerrard Freeman is a young Librarian living in Australia with his secretive mother. As a child he found a mysterious photograph and a strange ghost story written by his... Read morePublished on 24 May 2012 by Michael Finn
I bought this book before finishing the author's follow-up novel, The Seance.
If I'd waited, I'd probably have opted to save my money - such was my disappointment with... Read more
Gerald Freeman has a stifling childhood in Mawson, Australia, with a nervous and controlling mother and a virtually invisible father. Read morePublished on 18 Oct 2011 by S Riaz
Unlike some of the other readers I loved the jump between Gerards story and the Ghost stories written by Viola, and to be honest a little scared of seeing the vieled woman! Read morePublished on 12 Feb 2010 by Ms. R. Moone