ISBN-13: 9780156032322
Publisher: Harcourt Books
Published: June 2005
369 pgs

How could I turn down this book with a title like that? I am a sucker for gothic tales and ghost stories so when I first read about this book from Wendy of Musings of a Bookish Kitty, I knew I just have to have it!

Like any other boys his age, thirteen-year-old Gerard Freeman is always curious about things in general. So when he stumbled upon a photograph of a woman in his mother's locked drawer one day, he knew he would not let his questions go unanswered till he got to the bottom of it. His mother used to share with him some stories about her childhood days in Springfield, England, but after she had caught him rummaging through her drawers she never shared those tales with him anymore. Suddenly, it seems like there is a gap between them and Gerard could never understand what is in his mother's mind and it does not get any better even he has reached adulthood. However, he could not help thinking about the woman in the photograph.

One of the things that made him happy and his mind occupied is his friendship with Alice Jessel, a penpal he corresponded through emails when he was thirteen. Gerard confides most of the things with her and it is no surprise that they fell in love with each other as the time passes by.

Without Alice's letters, life at home would have been intolerable, but without Alice I wouldn't have been living there. (Pg 63)

Gerard wishes to meet her in person but Alice declines whenever he bring up the issue, stating reasons that she is bound to a wheelchair and any other inconveniences such as hospital trips and so forth. He also share with Alice about the manuscripts written by his great grandmother Viola Hatherley he found in his mother's dresser, and this made him wonder about Viola and his mother's past but Phyllis refused to delve into it, and she seems uneasy whenever Gerard asks about her past or Viola. But Gerard did not put a stop there, he decided to dig more as he find more ghost stories from Viola , for he is both intrigued by her and her stories as well. And this begins his journey to England where he hopes to seek some answers and to meet Alice along the way. Gerard soon discover an eerily connection between Viola's manuscript, a diary and a mystery of his family history and this leads him (as well as yours truly) wondering if fantasy has got into its way with reality or vice versa.

The Ghost Writer is a remarkable horror novel (or should I say thriller? I couldn't seem to differentiate these two in The Ghost Writer because it read as a horror and a thriller to me) about family secrets, obsession and revenge. I especially loved the ghost stories Viola written in between the story, they are all so creepy and I felt they deserve a full novel of its own. I loved John Harwood's prose besides the characterization and that it is a plot-driven story; and personally I feel this book leans more towards the literary due to his writing style. I wish I could elaborate more on the characters but I fear I might spoil the story without realizing so myself. This is one of those books which you will have to read it and it will make you stay till the night to finish the last few chapters (which I did!). And this goes without saying that this book will be one of my favourite reads this year. I cannot wait to read his next novel, The Seance.

Note: Have you read The Ghost Writer? What do you think of the ending? Drop me an email so we can discuss more about it without spoiling the story here.

Other reviews:
A Striped Armchair
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
S. Krishna's Books
So Many Books
(Let me know if I missed yours.)

I always enjoy reading Wendy's (Musings of a Bookish Kitty) "A Page in the Life of..." posts whereby she will feature fellow booklovers' blogs and ask some questions about life in general as well as books and reading. This is a great way of getting to know more about other bookbloggers and so when Wendy asked for some volunteers to do a guest post for her during her absence, I emailed her and told her I would be glad to be the interviewee for this feature. (Please click here if you wish to read her interview with me.)

22 Responses
  1. Amy Says:

    oh now this does sound fantastic!!! Great review Melody, I like horror/thrillers. ;)

  2. Not much of a horror for me but can pass as a suspense/thriller.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Ooohhh…love it. The cover is enough to entice me and you review makes it sound even more awesome. I'm going to get this .

  4. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    Oh I just LOVED this book! However, it has been years since I read it, so I'm not sure I'd be able to provide much dialogue on the ending. You know, this author just came out with The Seance, which I've heard is good also. It is very high on my list!

  5. Darlene Says:

    Great review Melody! Now more than ever I want to go pull it off my shelf and read it! I've got The Seance on my shelf as well. I wish I had more time to read...

  6. I am so glad you liked this one, Melody! I need to get my hands on a copy of Seance--that one sounds good too.

    Thank you so much for being a part of my Page in the Life feature! It means a lot to me that you are helping me out while I'm away. As you can see, I'm sneaking in a little internet time. I just can't stay away. :-)

  7. Anonymous Says:

    This one has been on my wish list for awhile. Thanks for reminding me I need to get my hands on a copy soon!

  8. Ana S. Says:

    This sounds so much like my kind of book it's not even funny. Ghost stories! Gothic! Family secrets! Say no more :P

  9. Unknown Says:

    I loved the Seance, but haven't read this one yet. I have a copy of Ghost Writer so hope to read it before the end of the year - maybe I'll be able to have a discussion with you then!

  10. Serena Says:

    this sounds like a book I need to get at the bookstore with my gc! Thanks for the recommendation

  11. Debi Says:

    Oooh, I'm so glad I already have this one, or I'd been heading out to buy it now! Definitely think I need to put this one in my RIP pile!

  12. S. Krishna Says:

    I enjoyed this book as well - it was so well done! Nice review!

  13. Oh Says:

    Your review has me all curious and interested. I'd love to read the book. Will probably scare me to pieces, but that's part of the fun. It sounds awfully worth it. Yes, I'll give it a whirl!

  14. Alice Says:

    I love the sound of this book, Melody! It's a great review!

    I've also read the interview at Wendy's. You're both my favourite bloggers!

  15. Beth F Says:

    I'm afraid this might be too spooky for me, but maybe I'd better take a look at it anyway.

  16. Andreea Says:

    I also love gothic stories and this book is on my reading list. Thanks for this great review!

  17. Melody Says:

    Hi, everyone! Thank you all for your comments! I'm sorry I've to reply this comment to all as I've tons of things to catch up on!!!

    First, I want to reitinerate that I loved this book! It's one of the best books I've read this year and I'm excited to say I bought The Seance over the weekend! I bought the HC even though it's out of my budget so this says something how much I wanted the book!

    For those who haven't read The Ghost Writer, I'd highly recommend it and I can't wait to hear your thoughts when you get to it! :D

  18. Julia Says:

    This book must be exciting since you gave it a high grade. I will have to see if this be book I want to read :)

    Great review!

  19. Melody Says:

    Julia - I loved it! I'm hoping you'd read it soon! ;)

  20. The Bookworm Says:

    wow, this sounds great!!! I love a good scary story.
    great review.

  21. Ceri Says:

    Ooh, I saw your BTT about this and knew I had to read the review. Now that I have I definitely need to read this. I love gothic tales and this sounds really good <3

  22. More than just a literary thriller, The Ghost Writer is also a tale of the intoxicating pleasures of reading and writing and the danger that comes from always trusting the narrator.

    Ford 7.3L Injectors

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