It's the first Friday Book Blog of the New Year, (Happy New Year!!) and because I was too lazy after a big Christmas Eve dinner last week to do a Christmas one, I have a bucketload of books to choose from. Too many to count. (Actually, a flying trip to the library on the 26th to return the old and grab some new without paying attention to how many I returned is the reason I don't have a count.)
My favorite was an unusual re-imagining of the traditional Gothic novel. Somewhere between Mrs. Rochester and Rebecca is John Harwood's The Ghost Writer. We follow the life of Gerard Freeman whose mama's-boy existence is nurtured by the unvoiced fears of his English mother and her mysterious past.
The unknown proves inescapable as Gerard discovers, in bits and pieces, his maternal great-grandmother's Gothic short stories and hears tantalizing snippets of his mother's childhood. Through the years, Gerard shares his secrets with no one but the unknown and unknowable Alice, a crippled pen pal on the other side of the world.
The climax is suitably ghostly and Gothic with creepy twists and horrific turns. Harwood honors the genre by telling a spooky Gothic story without undue melodrama.