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1. Heart of the Sea (Irish Trilogy)
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2. Daniel's Veil
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3. Second Glance : A Novel
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4. The Haunting of Hill House
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5. Bag of Bones
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6. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
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7. Best Ghost Stories of J.S. Lefanu
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8. Fall Guy (Detective Inspector
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9. Lost: A Novel
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10. Innocents Aboard : New Fantasy
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11. Pharos: A Ghost Story
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12. The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost
13. Uncanny, The
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14. A Face at the Window
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15. The Bell Witch : An American Haunting
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16. The Spirit Ring
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17. Ghost Riders (Ballad)
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18. The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost
19. Phantom Ghost of Harriet Lou,
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20. Walter's Purple Heart

1. Heart of the Sea (Irish Trilogy)
by Nora Roberts
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0515128554
Catlog: Book (2000-12-01)
Publisher: Jove Books
Sales Rank: 8372
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Bestselling author Nora Roberts has another classic on her hands withHeart of the Sea. This final installment in Roberts's faerie tale trilogyreturns readers to Ardmore, Ireland, where the Gallagher family's pub is theheart of the community. Passionate and beautiful, Darcy Gallagher works as awaitress in the family pub while looking for a way to achieve the glamorouslifestyle to which she would like to become accustomed. Enter wealthy Americanbuilder Trevor Magee, whose Irish roots have drawn him back to the childhoodhome of his grandfather to build a theater. As Darcy and Trevor revel in theheated sexual attraction that flares between them, neither believes that theyare the final key to end an ancient spell that separated Carrick the FaeriePrince and his human lady love, Gwen. But Ireland is a magic place, where thefaeries dance among mere mortals and love blossoms under starry skies. Letveteran storyteller Nora Roberts transport you to the Emerald Isle, home of thelittle people and overwhelming passion. --Alison Trinkle ... Read more

Reviews (73)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful conclusion to trilogy..
"Heart of the Sea", the conclusion to Nora Roberts' Irish Trilogy, is a great read. I have to admit, I didn't like it as much as the first two ("Jewels of the Sun" and "Tears of the Moon"), but I still enjoyed it and read it in one sitting. As with the first two, the story revolves around the Gallagher family, particularly Darcy, the youngest of the three. The first two siblings, Aidan and Shawn, have been married off respectively and have started families of their own. That leaves the vivacious and flirtacious Darcy. What Darcy doesn't know is that she is the third and final key to the tragic story of Lady Gwen and her faerie prince Carrick. Gwen and Carrick must wait 300 years for 3 loves to blossom before they are reunited in love. The two eldest Gallagher's have fulfilled the first two, will headstrong Darcy allow herself to be the third?

The story also introduces us to Trevor Magee, a wealthy businessman from America who comes to Ardmore, Ireland to build a theater next to Gallagher's Pub. He has moved into the cottage on Fairy Hill, once occupied by Jude and Shawn. When he sets his sights on Darcy, he falls head over heals. Darcy herself, is also attracted to Trevor, but also to his money and power. She isn't searching for a love at first, just sex and money. But along the way she begins to feel things for Trevor that she never felt for another. Can she find it in herself to let go of material items and value the heart of a man more? Of course, you can expect Carrick and Gwen to lend their matchmaking skills on these two lovebirds.

I suggest this book for those who've already read the first two. It's a wonderful conclusion to the trilogy. If you're a first time reader of Nora Roberts, I don't suggest you read this one first. Work on the other two first.

Gennie Bailey-Rogers

5-0 out of 5 stars Fitting End to a Terrific Trilogy
In this, the third installment, of Nora Roberts' latest trilogy set in the Emerald Isle, the last of the Gallagher Clan meets her match!

If you like your heroines strong, independent, and feisty, you're going to love Darcy Gallagher! Determined she'd marry a man of wealth who can give her the world on a silver platter, Darcy has her hands full taming American, Trevor. For, while the sparks of attraction are definitely there, these two equally matched, strong willed individuals have determined there's to be no form of permanence between them. No demands.

Trouble is, Darcy and Trev each lose their heart to the other and don't want to be the first to admit it. But without that admission and acceptance, a 300 year old curse can never be reversed and true love that has been waiting centuries can never be realized.

This, as with the first two novels in this series, are pure Irish magic. Smooth as Irish whiskey, Roberts' words are a dream to read. Her characters come alive and you can just lose yourself in the magic!

Don't miss this marvelously crafted novel!

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing To Say The Least.... (Sorry, Mrs R.)
The first two books in this series were absolutely fantastic, but this one was boring, and didn't show Darcy in a very good light. Darcy was pretentious, superficial, and was obsessed with greed; fine clothes, nice house, that sort of thing, which had to be the best. She completely overshadowed Trevor, who should have shined here. There's no one better than Nora Roberts, this one just didn't measure up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book, but. . .
Heart of the Sea, is, don't get me wrong a good book, and be quite enjoyable. But it lacks the charm the first two in the trilogy had. I feel like I enjoyed Darcy, the main female character in this one, better in the other two. I'd defiantly read it if you hadn't, but it isn't one I've re-read like I did with the other two. So all in all, it's an enjoyable book, and is worth the time to read, and even to buy.

4-0 out of 5 stars a nice conclusion
a beautifully written book.though,what with darcy being such a bloody compulsive buyer and money lover,its hard to feel exactly empathetic towards her character.apart from it all,it was nice reading again about ardmore,carrick the faerie prince,lady gwen,the pub,and all the gallaghers.aidan and shawn are such loves,aren't they? ... Read more

2. Daniel's Veil
by R.H. Stavis
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0974363960
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Medallion Press
Sales Rank: 597849
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Book Description


Daniel O'Brady is a burned out cop. When he sees a child blown away by her own father, he's seen one murder too many. Grief stricken and questioning the validity and purpose of his life, he takes off for a drive in the countryside. Daniel's bad day is only beginning.

Regaining consciousness after the single car accident, an injured Daniel sets out to find help. What he finds is a quaint little village full of people who are more than happy to help him. He's given medical aid, food, clothing and shelter ... and no one will take a dime from him. If that's not strange enough, after a few days in the tranquil town he discovers an odd house surrounded by streaks of an odd blue light. He decides to investigate.

Dr. Michael Hudson is a scientist bent on proving the existence of supernatural phenomena. His life is consumed with passion to prove his theory, to the exclusion of all else. When his research leads him to a house outside a small village in Northern California, he packs up his team and his equipment and sets out to document and prove his long-held belief in another dimension.

What both men discover will change their lives, and alter their souls, forever. ... Read more

3. Second Glance : A Novel
by Jodi Picoult
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0743454510
Catlog: Book (2004-03-02)
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Sales Rank: 19588
Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Do we love across time? Or in spite of it?

A developer has slated an ancient Abenaki Indian burial ground for a strip mall, and now strange happenings have the inhabitants of tiny Comtosook, Vermont, talking of supernatural forces at work. Ross Wakeman is a ghost hunter who's never seen a ghost -- all he's searching for is something to end the pain of losing his fiancée, Aimee, in a car accident. He tried suicide -- any number of times. Now Ross lives only for a way to connect with Aimee from beyond. Searching the site for signs of the paranormal, Ross meets the mysterious Lia, who sparks him to life for the first time in years. But the discoveries that await Ross are beyond anything he could dream of in this world -- or the next. ... Read more

Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars People Magazine Book Review.....APRIL 2, 2003 ISSUE
People Magazine Book Review
April 3, 2003
Second Glance
by Jodi Picoult

Reviewed by Amy Waldman

In the eight years since he saw his fiancée die in a car accident, Ross Wakeman has tried repeatedly to join her. But after a failed suicide attempt and several accidents that should have been fatal, Ross begins to take an interest in hunting ghosts instead of trying to become one. In rural Comtosook, Vt., he spends time with his sister and nephew and starts investigating a piece of land that may or may not have been an Indian burial ground. Rose petals rain down and a house in the process of being demolished rebuilds itself. Meanwhile, Ross meets Lia, a mysterious young woman who also tracks spirits.

Picoult ingeniously ties the ghost story to a true one about eugenics. In the 1920s and '30s, Vermont and other states sanctioned involuntary sterilization for supposedly "inferior" people such as the mentally and physically disabled, convicted criminals and New England's Abenaki Indians. The history lesson makes for chilling, even shocking, reading, and Picoult (Plain Truth) comes up with many unforgettable characters. This is a fast-paced, densely layered exploration of love, the pull of family and the power of both to transcend time.

BOTTOM LINE: Great ghost story

5-0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Second Glance is an amazing novel, which careens across genre boundaries so energetically that it's difficult to describe (or design a cover for, judging by the results). It is undeniably a ghost story, and a murder mystery with strong police procedural elements, as well as a romance or two, plus a fascinating slab of historical novel about one of the lesser-known real horrors of 1930s America. Even if you don't normally enjoy any of these types of book, you may want to read this just for Picoult's skill at creating fascinating characters.

Beginning with a great first line - "Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or third." - Second Glance introduces so many characters so quickly that you may find yourself having to take notes before the first chapter is done. Ross is an investigator of alleged hauntings, who has given up suicide because he suspects he's invincible. An ancient professor hears a baby crying in an old people's home. A cop rousts teenagers from a cemetery as it snows rose petals. Ghostly flies spell out a Native American word for 'baby'. A mother with a nine-year-old son fatally allergic to ultraviolet light has exchanged day for night, and has nightmares while she's awake.

Slowly, these threads and others begin to weave themselves into an intricate tapestry. As a supernatural thriller, Second Glance is on a par with The Sixth Sense or The Others, or one of Stephen King's novels without the more visceral elements. Running parallel to the ghost story is an equally well constructed scientific detective story, complete with coroner's reports and detailed DNA charts. The real strength, though, is the troubled but likeable characters - Ross, Ethan, Shelby, Eli, Cecilia, and others.

Second Glance is not without flaws. The plot occasionally hinges on coincidences which verge on the miraculous. Some of the clues might as well have neon signs attached, so some of the 'surprises' aren't particularly surprising. Picoult's children seem too mature for their age - much less convincing than those in Stephen King's It or The Body. There are inconsistencies in the timeline, such as a character in 2001 having newspaper clippings from 2002. And the romance subplots and writing become a little mawkish in places, especially near the end. On the whole, though, this is a thoroughly intriguing novel which should appeal to a wide variety of reading tastes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Keeps you on your toes
This is a great book. The story grabbed me from the beginning, and I really enjoyed the way the author fleshes out each character. I do not agree with some of the comments that the structure of the story is too confusing or that the author jumps around too much. Just the opposite, I found that the way the story jumps from character to character was one of the things that kept me on my toes, and helped to tie the characters together throughout the book. This is the first book by Jodi Picoult I have read, but I will definitely be getting more.

3-0 out of 5 stars Second Glance Review
Being a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, I give this book 3/5 stars. It took me about 200 pages into it until it got fairly exciting. This was probably one of my least favorite of her books - alot of her books I will go back and read a second time, however this will not be one of them. It was still entertaining enough to want to finish it to see how it ended.

3-0 out of 5 stars Love or unresolved grief?
Having read many of Jodi Picoult's books, I have to say that this book was a step outside the box for her. When I was in the first chapters of the book, I felt that I did not know if Ross was suffering from unresolved grief or undying love. I certainly felt for him and his loss of Aimee, but I do not know if he was mistaking grief for his love that crossed the boundaries between this world and the next. The final plot, twisting as it was, did not give the finale that I had hoped. I have to say that I have enjoyed Ms. Picoult's other novels much more than this one. ... Read more

4. The Haunting of Hill House
by Shirley Jackson
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140071083
Catlog: Book (1984-05-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 16538
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has unnerved readers since its original publication in 1959. A tale of subtle, psychological terror, it has earned its place as one of the significant haunted house stories of the ages.

Eleanor Vance has always been a loner--shy, vulnerable, and bitterly resentful of the 11 years she lost while nursing her dying mother. "She had spent so long alone, with no one to love, that it was difficult for her to talk, even casually, to another person without self-consciousness and an awkward inability to find words." Eleanor has always sensed that one day something big would happen, and one day it does. She receives an unusual invitation from Dr. John Montague, a man fascinated by "supernatural manifestations." He organizes a ghost watch, inviting people who have been touched by otherworldly events. A paranormal incident from Eleanor's childhood qualifies her to be a part of Montague's bizarre study--along with headstrong Theodora, his assistant, and Luke, a well-to-do aristocrat. They meet at Hill House--a notorious estate in New England.

Hill House is a foreboding structure of towers, buttresses, Gothic spires, gargoyles, strange angles, and rooms within rooms--a place "without kindness, never meant to be lived in...."

Although Eleanor's initial reaction is to flee, the house has a mesmerizing effect, and she begins to feel a strange kind of bliss that entices her to stay. Eleanor is a magnet for the supernatural--she hears deathly wails, feels terrible chills, and sees ghostly apparitions. Once again she feels isolated and alone--neither Theo nor Luke attract so much eerie company. But the physical horror of Hill House is always subtle; more disturbing is the emotional torment Eleanor endures. Intense, literary, and harrowing, The Haunting of Hill House belongs in the same dark league as Henry James's classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw. --Naomi Gesinger ... Read more

Reviews (263)

5-0 out of 5 stars Read the book -- no need to bother with the movie
Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" is one of the classic suspense novels of the twentieth century. Jackson's ability to make the domestic seem alien, dangerous, and insane gives this work in particular its chilling quality. Jackson is one of the few authors of this century who can stand up to the demanding standards set by E.A. Poe, H. P. Lovecraft et al. Don't bother with the 1998 movie unless you enjoy being smothered by special effects. The 1963 version comes much closer to capturing Jackson's subtle and psychologically intricate tale; it's scarier in the first ten minutes than the new film ever manages during its entire length. But Jackson's austere prose style and the ease with which she slips terror into the commonplace make her book the most rewarding experience of all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shirley Jackson's masterful haunted house novel
In one of her best works, Shirley Jackson introduces us to a haunted, evil house that brings out the worst in the four---later expanded to six--people who agree to gather there. In the interest of science, Professor Montague invites a group of people to participate in a study of the psychological effect of the house. His group is winnowed down to himself; Luke, the flippant young grandson of the present owner of Hill House; the enigmatic, beautiful Theodora; and Eleanor, the repressed, 32 year old spinster who has spent the last 11 years taking care of her mother. Later they are joined by Montague's wife, an ardent spiritualist and ouija board devotee, and her bluff, hearty friend.

With a set of characters like this, Jackson's compact novel cannot fail to intrigue and satisfy. Readers who have seen the 1962 movie will find inevitable differences in plot and emphasis in the book. Jackson's carefully crafted prose will hook you from the first page to the last. Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars thinker
though the book does leave you a little dissapointed from the lack of frightening scenarios it does make you think. From the beginning you have anticipation for something frightening then it leads you with an explanation that you have to think for.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not sure what all of the fuss is about...
I had heard for so long how intellectually scary this book was so I was really looking forward to reading it. However, I started and finished in in about 3 days and thought I had missed the point, was there another section to the book I skipped? This book was not scary at all, in fact, I kept waiting to be gripped by whatever it is that haunts the house, but nothing happened. First of all the plot was not well-developed, I wasn't sure exactly what was going on during the "scary" parts as Jackson never let on...sometimes this can be a good thing as you are forced to let your mind wander, but in this case, there were no details except for some writing on the wall and some whispers and knocks on the door. It was never explained what else was going on, why was Eleanor's name up there...was it supposed to be like the Jack Torrance situation in "The Shining"? If so, that point was completely missed. Also, if I had to read that thought that kept going through Eleanor's mind "journeys end in lovers meeting" without it being relevant at all to the situation she was in at the time, I was going to pull all of my hair out. I really have no idea what people are talking about when they say this was the "most thrilling" book they've ever was boring and confusing and left me yearning for a truly good intellectual horror story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Chilling and Disturbing
A powerful psychological thriller, "The Haunting of Hill House" affects the reader much as the fictional Hill House affects its intrepid explorers. Written with simple, lucid, and elegant prose, it is vaguely menacing and quietly disturbing, it is puzzling and disorienting, it is subtle and complex, and it works its dark magic by manipulating the fear, weakness, and despair we bring with us.

And the reviewer from Lubbock is spot on; My deepest sympathy to anyone who attempts chapter five, section four, alone, at night ... ... Read more

5. Bag of Bones
by Stephen King
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067102423X
Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
Publisher: Pocket
Sales Rank: 17488
Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Here is Stephen King's most gripping and unforgettable novel -- a tale of grief and lost love's enduring bonds, of haunting secrets of the past, and of an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire.

Four years after the sudden death of his wife, forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan is still grieving. Unable to write, and plagued by vivid nightmares set at the western Maine summerhouse he calls Sara Laughs, Mike reluctantly returns to the lakeside getaway. There, he finds his beloved Yankee town held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, whose vindictive purpose is to take his three-year-old granddaughter, Kyra, away from her widowed young mother, Mattie. As Mike is drawn into Mattie and Kyra's struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations and escalating terrors. What are the forces that have been unleashed here -- and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

It is no secret that King is one of our most mesmerizing storytellers. In Bag of Bones, he proves to be one of our most moving as well. ... Read more

Reviews (1066)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most incredible, clever book King has ever written.
Stephen King has been called the world's scariest novelist; however, many criticts agree that his work is too violent and his excessive use of adult language is not nesessary in his writing. However, while reading Bag of Bones, I ( having read most of his priveous novels) found that this one was different. The book is open for all readers: mystery, horror, suspence, and even romance. This book focuses on the events that happen to a widowed best selling novelist, Mike Noonan who is grieving from his wife's sudden and unexpected death. He suffers from writer's block; a case when writers fear their computers and are literally in pain when they try to write. He begins having a perpetual, repetative dream focusing on his dead wife appearing at the doorsteps of his Maine summer house he calls Sara Laughs. He packs up his belongings and moves into the old house in hope that he will ease up and begin writing again. Along the way, he meets a young woman, Mattie Devore and her daughter Kyra who are suffering from the death of Mattie's husband. Mike begins to notice supernatural occurrences that occasionally appear around Sara Laughs and realizes that they are there to help him (a) begin writing and get over the loss of his wife, and (b) help Mattie and Kyra escape from the clutches of her father in law, Max Devore who is trying to gain custody of his granddaughter. The book is incredible in that it begins a little unnearving, then towards the middle flattens itself out into a love story, and then wraps back up into King's typical scary ending. Where if you are reading in bed, late at night (as many King fans love to do) you will shutter at every noise you hear, and will be terrified of getting up, even to go the bathroom, because King has predicted this so he sets up his stories of normal people doing normal things like going to the bathroom. King also has experience describing Mike Noonan due to his own personal memoirs of his bestselling story life. This is one of the best books I have every read and you won't regret taking a few hours out of a few nights to read this.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bag of Bones? Bag of Tricks!
At the end of this book, Stephen says, "I hope "bag of Bones" gave you at least one sleepless night...It gave me one or two." I laughed when I read that, because not only had I read this book (all 732 pages) in one long sitting, I had to stay up and read another book to eradicate the incited fears before going to bed at 5:20 a.m. This book has obvoius flaws. First, Stephen is unable to quantify and accurately portray children of any age. Their portrayed mentalities are too unstable. The 9 year old in "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" (another fabulous tale) seems more like 13, sometimes 15, and the 4 year old in Bag is at times 2, 3, 5, 7. Second, there is quite a bit of emotional unrest, and no real catharsis. Another reveiwer mentioned a conflict with love and ..., and s/he was quite right. But beyond these superficial, literary flaws, there lies a great story. Stephen King is a master storyteller, and this is no exception. It goes on and on, the action pumelling the reader like the 10th, 11th, 12th mysterious shot from a 6 shot clip. I thoroughly enjoyed this very freaky tome, and I suggest you add it to your list if you love a good scare and are not too concerned with literary details.

4-0 out of 5 stars Moving, Gripping, Satisfying.
In true King fashion, Bag of Bones is a literary masterpiece and a tale to scare you out of your wits. The cover jacket gives this description in the opening paragraph: "Stephen King's most gripping and unforgettable novel, Bag of Bones, is a story of grief and a lost love's enduring bonds, of a new love haunted by the secrets of the past, of an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire." This book mixes the supernatural with reality and fate with coincidence, giving you a terrific ride and bringing you to a startling conclusion.

I am continually impressed with the way King's mind seems to work. Every page in each of his books is carefully and strategically planned out. It doesn't take much to write a book, but it takes a lot to write a good book. Without fail, King continually provides his audience with good books that are entertaining, moving, and fulfilling.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good old-fashioned ghost story
Stephen King proves he can still scare the socks off you with this one. I bought this one afternoon and was up till twelve midnight reading it. Then I stayed up till two because I was afraid to go to sleep afterwards. But there's much more here than just scares.

All good ghost stories have a mystery at the heart of them, and this one is no different. The revelation of what happened to the turn-of-the-century singing group Sara Tidwell and the Red Tops, woven in with the supernatural manifestations Mike Noonan is experiencing in his present-day cabin of Sara Laughs (named after the aforementioned singer), coupled with King's textured exploration of small-town life, are what give this book substance and make it more than just a superficial slasher fic.

King revisits many of his favorite themes, such as themes of insiders vs. outsiders in community life, the way a community's buried past reaches out to affect its present, and the idea that loving connections between human beings are necessary to stand in the face of evil. Interwoven with subthemes on sexism, racism, power, and social inequality, this is far from a melodramatic, soulless Hollywood-esque production and is instead a book with interesting commentary, richness, and some real heart (as well as being scary as all get out). I wish more authors were capable of writing with this kind of detailed, balanced richness.

3-0 out of 5 stars Strong plot in the beginning, but it falters in the end
Released in 1998, Bag of Bones is Stephen King's 28th novel.

After Stephen King's previous releases, "The Green Mile" and "Wizard and Glass", many "Constant Readers" were relishing in all the high-quality novels Stephen King was releasing, and they were expecting a lot from this release.In addition to "Bag of Bones", Stephen King was also at the same time working on his two novella collections, "Hearts in Atlantis" and "Everything's Eventual", so he was sort of bogged down with work, but he managed to finish writing this novel and release it to a frenzied response. As usual, "Bag of Bones" shot to #1 on the New York Times Book charts, and it was met with great reviews, and bad reviews, but none of the fans took notice of the bad ones. In my review, I will give you a basic overview of the story(With no spoilers), and tell you how Stephen King's writing was, and how they mix overall. So was "Bag of Bones" one of Stephen King's strongest or a mixed bag? Read on to find out!

Story: After Johanna Noonan dies in the middle of a Parking Lot of a brain tumor, Mike Noonan's wife, popular author Mike Noonan is thrusted into a world where lonliness is his only friend and he is unable to write without breaking down. Soon the realization that his career was quickly dwindling because of his inability to write dawned on him, so he saught solace and peace for a new place to write, his fabled summerhouse Sara Laughs, named after the 1920's musicians Sara and the Redtops. Upon getting to Sara Laughs, Mike begins to hear weeping and crying noises during the night, and most horrifying, he begins to hear people scream. As he learns more and more of what's happened since he was gone, he learns that his wife(Nicknamed) Jo was down here without him knowing, and that she was planning to write a story about the TR's (Where Sara Laughs is located) illustrous history, and Mike begins trying to piece together what she found out and why she didn't tell him. Then, as if to answer Mike's lonliness, he stumbles on a girl walking down the middle of the street named Kyra. He then meets her beautiful mother Mattie after picking up Kyra of the Street(Out of the way of danger), Mike Noonan is unknowingly thrusted into a world of hell that he wanted no part of. Soon after that incident, Mike is questioned by local billionare and elder Max Devore about the incident, and Mike immediately feels apprehensive at the situation and angrily hangs up on him. He then learns that Max Devore has been trying to get custody of Kyra from her perfectly capable mother Mattie just because he wants her. Mike begins to feel a bond between Mattie and Kyra, and he devotes himself to helping her and letting her keep custody of Kyra. After hiring a lawyer and personally helping her with his own money, many people in town think that he's just buying out Mattie Devore, and they begin to be cold and heartless towards him. All the while, as Mike begins to dig up more information about the TR's past, he also uncovers more Ghosts of the past on his way. What ensues is a bitter battle between Mike Noonan and Max Devore for custody of Kyra, and it even cascades into a legal battle that may be deadly. As Mike ventures furthur into the TR's past, he's plagued by ghosts that are trying to keep him from the truth and will even kill to do so.

Writing: After writing so beautifully and creating such memorable plots with "The Green Mile", Stephen King would undoubtedly create one of the most memorable stories ever, right? Well, yes.Yes, because it's most memorable for being one of his worst, because it's the most boring Stephen King book I've ever had to read. Although his writing is descriptive and professional enough, it seems to be lacking the inventiveness of such masterpieces as "Cujo", "Needful Things", and "The Shining". While the writing might be interesting enough, the plot sadly isn't. For over 700 pages, we learn all about the TR's history and how it connects with the ghosts Mike is experiencing, but the reason for them is disjointed and idiotic, almost verging on the point that I almost stopped reading because the plot was so laughable. The book is fine for the first 600 pages, good if not a little boring, hence the 3 star rating, but the last 130 pages are incredibly stupid. When Mike finally discovers what Jo found out, it isn't surprising and it seems a little childish for a plot twist from such a great author as Stephen King. I was really disappointed with what eventually happened with Mattie and Kyra, and also dissappointed with the "Ghost" story behind the TR's past, and how dum the last 50 pages are.

Overall: For once, this was the first Stephen King book that genuinely bored me. For most of his books, I would finish them in about 2-3 days because I was so entranced with the story, but with this book, it took me a MONTH. The reason it did so was because I would frequently put the novel down because it was so tedious. The plot is good in the beginning, but the overall ending and explanation of all the loose ends was childish and not reasonable. Although Stephen King writes horror/fiction and his novel's may be weird at times, his endings are never "Stupid" , which "Bag of Bones" unfortuneatly is.


6. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
by Jorge Amado
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380017962
Catlog: Book (1977-11-01)
Publisher: Avon
Sales Rank: 35911
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"In this second marriage there was no wooing, and this was as it should be, for it does not look right for a widow to be lovemaking in a corner or the doorway, cuddling, hugging, kissing, embracing, touching here, touching there, hand on breasts, slipping down to thigh."

"Poetic, comic, human" is how The Washington Post hailed Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, the international classic by Jorge Amado, Brazil's foremost novelist. This captivating fable celebrates heated passions, conjugal harmony, the rhythms of the samba, and the delectable joys of cooking.

Caught up in the pandemonium of carnival, the roguish and irresponsible Vadinho dos Guimaraes dies during a parade, leaving behind his long suffering wife, the irrepressible Dona Flor. As a widow, Flor devotes herself to her cooking school and an assortment of interfering but well-meaning friends who urge her to remarry. The lonely widow finds herself attracted to Dr. Teodoro Madureria, a kind, considerate pharmacist, who is everything the reckless Vadinho was not. Yet after their marriage, though content, Flor longs for her first husband's amorous, and exhausting, sensual pleasures. And Flor's desirous longing is so powerful that it brings the ghost of Vadinho back from the grave--right into her bed.

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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Brazilian Dickens?
If Charles Dickens had been Brazilian, then he may have written "Dona Flor." Of course, I mean the Dickens of "Pickwick" rather than "Bleak House." Amado's lovingly imagined tale of an extraordinary woman's unlikely path to happiness has been read and enjoyed by generations of readers, and with good reason. It is a vast panorama of life in the town of Salvador de Bahia, with dozens of classic characters and a circuitous plot, all delivered with humour and panache. A hedonist's delight, "Dona Flor" is a celebration of love, sex, food, music, gambling and everything else that can make a person happy. Check your disbelief and social concerns at the door, sit back and enjoy Jorge Amado's feast for the senses.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jorge Amado's best
I lived in Brazil for several years and fell in love with Brazilian author Jorge Amado. "Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon" received some notoriety in the U.S. in the 50s or 60s, although Amado hasn't made much of a splash here since then. But his books are wonderful and shouldn't be missed. Apparently Amado was the son of cacao plantation owners, but when he wrote his first works in the 20s exposing land owners for their cruelty to workers, he was more or less disowned. I've read about a dozen of his works. Although each is very different, they seem to have recurring themes. Most take place in Brazil's underdeveloped Northeast, in Bahia or Sergipe. Women are often the heroines. Perhaps in further rebellion against his family, most of his characters are on the seamy side of society ---drunks, prostitutes, street people, con artists. Much of his work includes themes of death although not morbidly so. All are spiced with the superstitions, spells, and magic typical of folk religions that have their roots in the pagan beliefs of Africa transported to Brazil by slaves. "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" attracted some attention when the movie version appeared in the U.S. The Brazilian film, starring Sonia Braga, is one of my all-time favorites. It is funny, melancholy, romantic, and erotic ---but the novel is all that and much more. The story takes place in the 1940s. Flor, who runs a small cooking school in her home in Salvador, is married to Vadinho, who gambles, whores around, takes Flor's money, slaps her around, and is a master con artist who can charm even the padre. His only redeeming quality is that he is great in bed, tapping into Flor's deepest desires. But during one riotous night of Carnaval frivolity, Vadinho drops dead. After a suitable period of mourning, Flor is pursued by Teodoro, a pharmacist who is everything Vadinho was not. Teodoro has a steady job, is responsible and respectable. Only on their wedding night does Flor discover one other way he differs from Vadinho ---he's a dud at making love. Flor, a passionate woman, appeals to the gods for help and eventually figures out how to enjoy both of her husbands. Although the film version does not play up the importance of the gods, the middle of the novel is almost like a Greek play with the gods using humans to resolve their own conflicts. A little background about Brazilian Spiritism will help one understand the gods and their significance. African slaves in Brazil were told they must become Christian or be killed. They, of course, agreed to become Christians, giving their African gods the names of Saints with similar powers or characteristics. Eventually the two religions became intertwined. Many Brazilians worship at Catholic mass and attend ceremonies of Spiritism, Macumba, and Condomble paying homage to African gods and goddesses relying on spirits to help them solve everyday problems. Amado's books are filled with colorful details that enhance the accurate picture he paints of the Brazilian culture. He is wordy, but beautifully so. He won't appeal to someone interested in a fast read, but for those who love a good story, spiced with exotic details, unusual characters, comedy, emotion, and raw passion, "Dona Flor" is a gem, in my opinion the best of Amado's many novels. Other good options are "Gabriela Clove and Cinnamon", "Tieta Home from the Wars", "Sea of Death", and "The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell".

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally, a 'bestseller' i'm not embarassed to read...
With this book, Jorge Amado left behind his more serious style of writing and adopted a lighter, 'bestseller' tone. What a great idea!...It works perfectly in this book. It's hard to go wrong with a book full of gambling, sex, music, and love.

It's obvious that Amado is a fantastic writer from page one. His sentences flow seamlessly, blending one description into the next; the reader is entranced for all 600 plus pages. Despite its daunting size, this was a really fast read, and with zero lag time. He can definitely tend towards the verbose side of things, but overall, I didn't find this to be a big detraction.

Besides being entertaining, this book also makes you think. Dona Flor is torn between the corporal desires of the flesh and the purity of the soul. I won't tell you who wins. While this book has enough bawdiness and vulgarity to keep the men reading, it is also very appealing to women; Amado taps in perfectly to the conflicting female desire for a tender, stable man on one hand, and a passionate "bad boy" on the other. I think Dona Flor is a character that every woman can empathize with.

My only complaint is that the conclusion seemed a long time coming but then wrapped up too quickly. It's like Amado was on a deadline for the last 50 pages. But really, this is a minor quarrel.

Take this book on your summer vacation...highly readable, engrossing, and smart to boot!

4-0 out of 5 stars Brazilian Journey
Never having read Brazilian literature previously, I approached "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" with some uncertainty. However, my apprehensions were quickly erased. This is a funny, entertaining and very readable novel (despite its length). "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" conveys the atmosphere and flavor of the Bahian culture, its love of people, land, and food. Religious principles and cultural norms have an important place in Bahian lifestyle, thus Dona Flor's struggle upon the return of the spirit of her first husband. Yet, this moral dilemma is treated light-heartedly and sympathetically, making all the characters approachable and likeable. My first Brazilian literary experience was like sampling a good "caruru". I will be back for more.

3-0 out of 5 stars Magical realism and senselessness
Tightly holding the sweaty palm of Senor Marques, the climate of South America, the humid nights, and drunken carnivals, transcend reality apparently and come back from the dead to haunt us, whoever has bothered to read the the book, the placenames abound "in Sao Miguel, on Via Campaneira, Asuncion Fernades, with her ample thighs facing the ceiling, could barely contain herself from tearing the sheets apart, as Miguel Silva, sweating in the humid night, penetrated her over and over and over" make sure to turn every s into sh for authenticity's sake, and dispose of the book in the all consuming fire ... Read more

7. Best Ghost Stories of J.S. Lefanu
by Joseph Sheridan Lefanu
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486204154
Catlog: Book (1964-06-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 207150
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Le Fanu is a Victorian writer who, along with Edgar A. Poe before him, invented the unity of mood and economy of means that characterizes the modern horror short story. Jack Sullivan, in Horror Literature, maintains that "Le Fanu was more revolutionary than Poe, for he began the process of dismantling the Gothic props and placing the supernatural tale in everyday settings." These quietly elegant tales include a female vampire who predates Dracula, a vicar troubled by a spectral monkey, a cruel hanging judge who gets his due and many other fine portents and hauntings. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not your standard ghostly fare
Probably the most distinguishing characteristic of LeFanu's writing to me is that he doesn't explain why something is happening in his stories. Ghosts search through drawers, skeletons are dug up, heroes disappear, and barons die of unseen causes, and we are never told what happened. LeFanu doesn't necessarily explain the motives and occurrences of his stories and loose ends are not all tied up. At first, I was unsure about what to think; what kind of ghost story doesn't explain all the events at the end? How am I supposed to be terrified if I don't know the ultimate cause of Baron X's demise? The method of storytelling began to grow on me, though, and I now feel that a lack of resolution on every issue creates a better story. Why should the supernatural be fully explained in 20 pages? When the reader is demoted from an omniscient viewpoint to that of only an eyewitness, the tale is more compelling.

My favorite stories are probably "Sir Dominick's Bargain" and "An Authentic Narrative of a Haunted House," the former for its mood and atmosphere, and the latter for its minimalist telling. "The Haunted Baronet" is another excellent story, with strong attention to detail and background that help in the story-telling; it was a very satisfactory read. "The Fortunes of Sir Robert Ardagh" is the same story told sans background and detail, and is clearly inferior. The other stories I enjoyed based on the setting, which is 19th century Ireland, which evokes a mood much like James'. Overall, it is the sort of book that makes you wish for a warm fireplace and a stormy night.


3-0 out of 5 stars stories from "the builder"
when it came to building a ghost story, through dialogues and occurences, noone matches Lefanu. At this, he is a master. he describes the situation before THE happening magnificently. however, when it does happen, the story is over. the horror itself seem to escape Lefanus writing style. his ghost stories are mostly not catching to a modern(living)reader. only 2 of his ghost stories are worth reading. I still recommend this book. the reason are the two stories who are not ghost stories. Carmilla, one of the very best vampire stories, built beautifully through subtle hints, psychology, and descriptions. my favourite gothic story. then it's Lefanu's masterpiece: green tea. in fact, one of the best horror stories ever written! too bad Lefanu insisted on writing so many ghost stories, instead of common horror, otherwise he might be a real master in the genre, as Carmilla and Green Tea proves

4-0 out of 5 stars This and M R James
I don't much like ghost stories, but these and the ones by M R James really stand out from the pack. Atmospheric, inventive, and original. In "Carmilla" LeFanu invented the vampire story, and with its subtle horrors and hints of lesbianism, it is at least as good as Dracula. Rich and intricate prose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic psychological chills.
Not only would I say that Lefanu is superior to the supposedly incomparable M.R. James, he actually rivals Poe in terms of psychological profundity and intellectual denseness. These tales are meticulously crafted and some of them are inexhaustible in their potential readings. M.R. James, on the other hand, is a pleasure to read, to be sure, but shallow when placed alongside the likes of Lefanu. I have nothing against James but he is strangely over-rated for some reason. Lefanu, Onions, Poe and Lovecraft I would have to rate ahead of him, with Lefanu and Poe at the top.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Powerful Collection of Ghost Stories Ever Published
I have probably read this book more often than any other book on my shelves. In the creation of mood, the elaboration of motifs and their own inexorable progression beyond the veil of reality into the numinous, these tales have never been excelled. As highly respected a practitioner of the ghost story as Montague Rhodes James wrote:

"He stands absolutely in the first rank as a writer of ghost stories. That is my deliberate verdict, after reading all the supernatural tales I have been able to get hold of. Nobody sets the scene better than he, nobody touches in the the effective detail more deftly."

I first read "Green Tea" in the mammoth Modern Library anthology GREAT TALES OF TERROR AND THE SUPERNATURAL at about the age of 11 after reading several tales by Poe. Poe I had found fascinating, feverish and disturbing, but this tale terrified me. Unlike Poe's often dream-like excursions, the settings in Le Fanu's works are quite concretely of this world. The characters are tied to this world by the same dull occupations and concerns with commerce or law that dog us to this day. However, a subtle intrusion is soon seen or otherwise makes itself felt, and from this point the conclusion, no matter how surprising, is inevitable. Nothing will save the seemingly upright man from "The Familiar." Nothing anyone does in their ineffectual way will keep the beloved of "Schalken the Painter" from her fate as a death-bride. A more lyrical version of the same motif appears in a less unified, but equally fine tale set in the aftermath of the Jacobite Rebellion in Ireland. "Squire Toby's Will" both as document and motive force will have its way no matter how what is done in an attempt to circumvent it. The implications of the haunting in "Green Tea," wherein a man falls subject to demonic harrassment by making his presence know to those from outside through the slightest of infractions - I am abusing caffeine by way of sipping an enormous glass of green tea as I write this - terrified me when I read it 30-odd years ago and continues to terrify me to this day. "An Authentic Narrative of a Haunted House," with its seemingly inexplicable haunting, "Mr. Justice Harbottle," which raises the question, "Whose justice are we seeing here?" "Carmilla", whose final line hints that the victimization may have ended only with the heroine's death, and the short novel "The Haunted Baronet," in which nature itself seems to be imbued with the evil genius presiding over the title character's doom are just a few of the tales in this volume that have haunted me for decades. There is nothing else quite like them in literature, their mixture of fantasy and reality, illusion and verisimilitude is so assured.

As bonuses to an already excellent volume, E. F. Bleiler's introduction and notes are exemplary and though a large paperback, it is solidly bound in signatures, with durable, laminated cover stock, uses acid free paper and is better made than a majority of hardcovers. ... Read more

8. Fall Guy (Detective Inspector Carol Ashton Mysteries)
by Claire McNab
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594930007
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: Bella Books
Sales Rank: 131946
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Book Description

To know Milton Royce is to loathe him.Now in his mid-forties, the practical joker enjoys embarrassing others, and he delights in coming up with elaborate schemes for setting up his "friends" as fall guys.When he plunges to his death while sky diving, no one seems particularly surprised to find he was murdered.

When an elaborate practical joke is played out at Milton's funeral by his son, Ted, Detective Inspector Carol Ashton must act quickly to find out if Ted is indeed his father's killer-- or if he is simply being set up as yet another "fall guy"...

"Fall Guy" is the 16th book in the Carol Ashton mystery series. ... Read more

9. Lost: A Novel
by Gregory Maguire
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060988649
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 4994
Average Customer Review: 2.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Winifred Rudge, a bemused writer struggling to get beyond the runaway success of her mass-market astrology book, travels to London to jump-start her new novel about a woman who is being haunted by the ghost of Jack the Ripper. Upon her arrival, she finds that her stepcousin and old friend John Comestor has disappeared, and a ghostly presence seems to have taken over his home. Is the spirit Winnie's great-great-grandfather, who, family legend claims, was Charles Dickens's childhood inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge? Could it be the ghostly remains of Jack the Ripper? Or a phantasm derived from a more arcane and insidious origin? Winnie begins to investigate and finds herself the unwilling audience for a drama of specters and shades -- some from her family's peculiar history and some from her own unvanquished past.

In the spirit of A. S. Byatt's Possession, with dark echoing overtones of A Christmas Carol, Lost presents a rich fictional world that will enrapture its readers.

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Reviews (104)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as everyone says!
I read Gregory Maguire's other three novels before finally getting around to Lost. The reason I put off reading this book was mainly because of the horrid reviews I read on Amazon. But in the end, my curiosity and respect for Maguire's writing got to me, and I picked up a copy. And my thoughts after I finished it?

What are people so upset about? I admit, it is possible that my expectations for this book were so low before I even started it that it had nowhere to go but up, but I think it was a good book that told an interesting story. While I will admit that I enjoyed his other novels more, I read Lost in 2 days and got sucked into the book rather quickly.

So why is everyone so upset about this book? I think the reason is that Maguire has deviated from his writing formula which won him the hearts of many a reader in Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Reinventing well known fairy tales into novels for adults - what a brilliant idea! But Lost is a modern story about a realistic character dealing with realistic issues. There is a ghost mixed in with the story, but in truth the characters and situations are much more real than any of those found in Maguire's previous novels. The main character is seriously flawed, and in truth one may finish the novel and still not like her. But that is how real people are. Aren't most of us flawed and affected by the hard knocks of life? That is what you will find in the main character of Lost.

So, in summary I believe that people disliked this novel because they have come to expect a certain type of story from Maguire and in this case he did not deliver. And honestly, that is not fair. Gregory Maguire is a writer, which let's not forget is a form of art, and he has the right to follow whatever path or train of thought he likes in his novels. It is not fair to pigeon hole him into writing adaptations of fairy tales. Will this result in reduced sales for Maguire if he continues to deviate from this formula? Possibly, but I honestly think if you can step back and look at this novel without expectations, you will find it to be quite enjoyable.

5-0 out of 5 stars weird and wonderful
A writer whose original, irreverent takes on classic stories like Cinderella ("Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister") and the Wizard of Oz ("Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West") have earned him an eager following and a place on the bestseller lists, Gregory Maguire's latest, "Lost" combines Scrooge and Jack the Ripper in a modern ghost story of a cranky American in London.

Too young to be so cynical and curmudgeonly, Winifred Rudge is a children's author who made it big on adult lists with a pseudonymous astrology book and is now at work on a novel featuring Wendy Pritzke, "a novelist obsessed with the story of Jack the Ripper. Winnie didn't know if Jack the Ripper would end up being a character or a red herring in some domestic trial of Wendy's. The chronic fun of writing, the distraction of it, was not knowing."

Winnie, though, is not having much fun, nor does she want to. She heads to London where her stepcousin and close friend John Comester lives in a row house once owned by Winnie's great-great-grandfather, said to be the inspiration for Dickens' Scrooge. There she plans to immerse herself in Wendy's character and begin work on her book.

But even before she gets on the plane, things start to go strange, in small ways. And when she arrives at the London flat, John is away, his furniture covered in dust sheets, workers in his kitchen and no message left for her. Spurning all overtures of friendliness while trying to get to the bottom of John's disappearance, Winnie presents her rude and prickly side and learns nothing. Is it her, or is John's office really evasive, his friends really mystified?

Meanwhile, the workmen in John's kitchen are making little progress. Loud knocking from inside the wall has stymied them. " 'What have you done with John?' she said. She couldn't look toward the pantry as the raps began again, a sequence of five hollow ominous penetrating thumps."

Looking for John, trying to find some reasonable explanation for the knocks, Winnie calls on the neighbors, including John's sometime girlfriend, and a dotty old woman with too many cats, named Mrs. Maddingly. She muses on her situation through Wendy's eyes. Could the ghost in the wall be the remains of Jack the Ripper? Killed and walled up by a relative of his last almost-victim?

As the haunting proceeds, the mysteries mount. Is Winnie paranoid or is there some conspiracy against her, worldly or otherwise? Is John avoiding her or has something befallen him? Was Jack the Ripper ever in Hampstead? Events begin to move at alarming speed. One of the workmen is injured by the house, a psychic recoils from Winnie, a portly American blunders onto the scene, offering help, Wendy's story begins to hurtle beyond Winnie's control, bringing Winnie's own narration into question.

Maguire combines humor, mystery and menace adroitly. His prose is muscular, leading the reader down a twisting, doubling, circling path where reality shifts are the norm. Fans will not be disappointed and newcomers with be baffled and enchanted.

2-0 out of 5 stars So Many Loose Ends
I'll admit I read this book cover to cover, but it wasn't an enjoyable experience in the end. So many questions left unanswered -- so many dead ends to the different plot lines. I'd write a longer review, but I have already forgotten much of it (it was that unremarkable) and it's only been a week. Winnie's character and the haunter herself (Gervasa) never really let their stories develop fully. It's like Maguire got tired of writing. I am reading "Confessions" now -- I'll let you know if it's any better. I don't normally write these as "anonymous", but don't want to get flamed -- maybe it was such a "deep" book - I just missed something.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lost is the right name for this book!
Let me first start off by saying that, I am usually a Terry Maguire Fan. Everything about this book was Lost, the main character Winnie, the plot, me, and the usual Terry Maguire spin. He touches up Jack the Ripper and Dracula, but really the focus should have been on the haunting of Ozias Rudge how that paralleled Dickens and Winnie herself. Winnie would almost become endearing then act completely out of character. Few other characters were formed the way Terry usually allows. The only thing that really fit was the title.

I think if you skip this book you won't be Lost for it.

1-0 out of 5 stars What a disapointment!
I loved Wicked and The Ugly Step-Sister. This book however I couldn't get through it was so uninteresting. Saved your money, do not buy this book!!! ... Read more

10. Innocents Aboard : New Fantasy Stories
by Gene Wolfe
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076530791X
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Orb Books
Sales Rank: 151543
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Gene Wolfe may be the single best writer in fantasy and SF today. His quotes and reviews certainly support that contention, and so does his impressive short fiction oeuvre. Innocents Aboard gathers fantasy and horror stories from the last decade that have never before been in a Wolfe collection. Highlights from the twenty-two stories include "The Tree is my Hat," adventure and horror in the South Seas, "The Night Chough," a Long Sun story, "The Walking Sticks," a darkly humorous tale of a supernatural inheritance, and "Houston, 1943," lurid adventures in a dream that has no end. This is fantastic fiction at its best.
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Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Especially the Made-Up Parts
This short story collection has given Gene Wolfe a break from the gigantic sweeping epics of his more famous volumes, so he can explore some less portentous and more whimsical ideas. The stories here include everything from typical fantasy and hard science, to time travel and semi-autobiography. One reoccurring concept in these stories is the fine line between magic and reality, which is Wolfe's forte. Winners here include the disturbing xenophobia tale "The Waif," a bizarre mix of Arthurian chivalry and alternate history in "Under Hill," an exploration of the true purpose of people who share the author's last name in "Wolfer," and a strangely disconcerting tale of twisted time travel to ancient Greece in "The Lost Pilgrim." A slight weakness of this collection is the inclusion of several short stories that appear to be simple exercises in exploratory writing based on old fairy tales and legends. Such stories are fun to read but tend to not really go anywhere, such as "The Sailor Who Sailed After the Sun," "A Fish Story," or "The Eleventh City" - though one exception is the intriguing stylized lullaby "The Old Woman Whose Rolling Pin is the Sun," which was created for Wolfe's granddaughter. But overall this is a very engaging, if sometimes underwhelming, collection of tales from one of the true masters of speculative fiction. [~doomsdayer520~]

5-0 out of 5 stars Gene Wolfe still on top of his form as one of SF & F's best
For decades Gene Wolfe has received lavish praise from fellow writers and fans of science fiction and fantasy as the finest writer currently at work in both genres. He merely reaffirms such praise in his latest collection of short stories, "Innocents Aboard", which contains some of the best writing I've seen from him in years. It is a riveting collection of 22 fantasy and horror tales, with some loose elements from science fiction thrown here and there for good measure, and elements which could be described as "Magical Realism". My favorite tale is "Houston, 1943", which is sort of a bizarre twist from "Peter Pan" and other classic tales of childhood, along with sections which Wolfe claims is autobiographical. The final tale in the collection "The Lost Pilgrim", about a time traveler who stumbles upon the truth behind certain ancient Greek legends, is another classic. Those unfamiliar with Gene Wolfe's influential body of work may find this a minor introduction, but one which shows him still crafting great literary art in his 70's; others more familiar with his work will undoubtedly embrace it as much as I have.

4-0 out of 5 stars a pleasant little collection
of some fairly unpleasant stories. Not bad by any stretch: Mr Wolfe is too much the artist (and his editors too wise) to allow a stinker to dwell here, but the subject matter and overall tone together conspire to make this collection something other than 'lite summer fare'.

An absolute must for the thoughtful reader of Mr Wolfe, and highly reccomended as a cross-genre introduction to his writings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not a clinker in the bunch!
My favorite story is the religious allegory 'Queen' & the time travel/Greek gods adventure 'The Lost Pilgrim' but 'The Tree Is My Hat' is pretty darn cool also.19 more stories that are all worth reading and worth buying.So go do it!You're going to enjoy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interwoven Collection of Great Stories
The stories in 'Innocents Aboard' are very well written, as has been all of Gene Wolfe's work that I have read so far. What I like most about this collection is how closely each of the stories tie together - not by plot or characters, but by the type of stories they are. Most of the stories deal with some kind of supernatural presence, whether it be a god, deity, element, or just the area in which one of these was worshipped.Whether it be an indigenous god of an island people or the holographic projections of an automated house, every motion, thought, and action relates back to the reader.

As a fan of Wolfe's New Sun, Long Sun, and Short Sun sagas, as well as a good chunk of his other work, I was happy to see some familiar characters make it into this collection. There is a story called 'The Night Chough' that relates back to Oreb of the Book of the Long Sun, and there was a story that reminded me of Latro in the Mist. I think these stories stand on their own quite nicely, too.

All in all, this is collection was extremely satisfying, and I think I will be visiting it again very soon. ... Read more

11. Pharos: A Ghost Story
by Alice Thompson
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312318103
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 118815
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Set in the early nineteenth century, Pharos is a dazzling ghost story from an award-winning author.

A young woman is washed up on the shores of Jacob's Rock, a remote lighthouse island off the coast of Scotland.She does not know who she is or how she got there.She has no memory.The keeper of the lighthouse and his assistant take her in and feed and clothe her.But this mysterious woman is not all that she seems, and neither is the remote and wind-swept island.

Eerily reminiscent of Turn of the Screw and The Others, Pharos is a breathless tale of the supernatural.
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Two Pruned Thumbs Up
This story washed ashore to me and I coveted it like a new, old shell. Listen closely to where it's been and what it has to say, distant or whispering sailor's gibberish in your ear.

Set on an island off the coast of Scotland, characters that bob the white caps of this tale are Cameron, a middle-aged bachelor devouting his life to caring for the lighthouse and the safe passage of those at sea. Simon, the new assistant caretaker, finds Lucia in the water after a storm and brings her ashore. Charlotte arrives later. The sister of Cameron, she's there to care for the men and to be a stable witness, should one of them die in their work.

Lucia is a fairly sensible confused person and, I'd venture, the least wooden of the players in this work. That irony comes home to roost on the ledges of the lighthouse later on. When a crumbling crypt is the homiest joint on the island, don't expect a clambake anytime soon.

Holes in the raft: Cameron's complete walking of the mental health plank, seemingly overnight. Simon's face never really came to me, despite description, which seemed odd considering his "animist" talent. The female form on the cover fits Charlotte's physical description, not Lucia.

I read this book in the cold of the season and can't help but to wonder what kind of beach read it would make come sweat of Summer? Cold tequila against hot sand and the storm that contrast creates in the soul. --Laurel825

5-0 out of 5 stars Great ghost story
Twenty-seven miles off the coast of Scotland lies the island that is the home to the Jacob's Rock Lighthouse. Cameron is the principal keeper of the lighthouse and he has been alone on the island so long that he is eagerly awaiting the boat that is bringing his new assistant. When Simon arrives, the two men quickly fall into a routine, which is broken when Simon rescues a young woman who has washed up on the rocks.

When the woman regains consciousness, she has no memory of who she is or where she came from. The two men feed and clothe her and gradually she comes out of her apathetic state and takes notice of the world around her. She hears strange noises and constantly sees a young mulatto girl running around the island. Cameron insists she is imagining things and he keeps on telling her that until she is convinced that there is something evil on the island, something that Cameron is hiding from himself and her.

Readers gradually get the feeling that there is something not quite right about the people who are living on Jacob's Rock. The shipwrecked woman comes to believe that the Principal Keeper does not want her to leave but she doesn't know why. There is a mystery about him that she intends to solve but there are other forces at work on the island that intend to have their way and there is nothing the amnesiac can do to stop them. Thus the audience receives an exciting gothic-like paranormal thriller that entertains from the moment the woman arrives on the rock.

Harriet Klausner ... Read more

12. The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories
by Michael Cox, R. A. Gilbert
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0192804472
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 79332
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Book Description

The Victorians excelled at telling ghost stories. In an age of rapid scientific progress, the idea of a vindictive past able to reach out and violate the present held a special potential for terror. Throughout the nineteenth century, fictional ghost stories developed in parallel with the more general Victorian fascination with death and what lay beyond it. Though they were as much a part of the cultural and literary fabric of the age as imperial confidence, the best of the stories still retain their original power to surprise and unsettle. In Victorian Ghost Stories, the editors map out the development of the ghost story from 1850 to the early years of the twentieth century and demonstrate the importance of this form of short fiction in Victorian popular culture. As well as reprinting stories by supernatural specialists such as J. S. Le Fanu and M. R. James, this selection emphasizes the key role played by women writers--including Elizabeth Gaskell, Rhoda Broughton, and Charlotte Riddell--and offers one or two genuine rarities. Other writers represented include Charles Dickens, Henry James, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and R. L. Stevenson. There is also a fascinating Introduction and a chronological list of ghost story collections from 1850 to 1910. ... Read more

13. Uncanny, The
by Andrew Klavan, Michael Page
list price: $73.25
our price: $73.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1567405614
Catlog: Book (1998-02-01)
Publisher: Unabridged Library Edition
Sales Rank: 689628
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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"Trolls, he thought. That's what it was. Religious people believed God ran the world. Atheists figured it was indifferent nature. But it was trolls.Sadistic little homunculi in leather jackets with lots of zippers. Hiding behind the scrim of being. Working the machinery to maximize human suffering for their own amusement."

A wealthy Hollywood cowboy-cum-movie-producer travels to England in the hope of seeing a ghost, or a voice from beyond: "Something uncanny, you know. Anything. One lousy uncanny thing." He hangs out with a marvelous old woman--a professional skeptic armed with a sword cane and an ever-puffing pipe with a skull-shaped bowl--and the other staff of a semi-tabloid rag called Bizarre! He meets the woman of his dreams, who is billed as being utterly inaccessible and frigid to boot. Then before you can say "conspiracy theory," Andrew Klavan has whipped all of them into a humorous confection with elements of German romantic art, English Gothic architecture, 19th-centuryghost stories, Norse mythology, South American cult leaders, Nazi witchcraft, and the Holy Grail. Even the ghost of M.R. James has a key role in the plot.

It's not a deep novel--you get the sense that Klavan doesn't take one iota of it seriously--but it's good supernatural fun. --Fiona Webster ... Read more

Reviews (19)

3-0 out of 5 stars a spoof ?
Impossible to take seriously as a ghost/horror story, Klavan must be poking fun at the genre with this one. The characters are stereotypes, the love story sappy and the underlying premise way over the top. I was reminded of that episode of The X-Flies (the last of one their seasons) where it made great fun of itself.

It's written well enough to be readable and might have been enjoyable if it hadn't dragged on for so long.

3-0 out of 5 stars Klavan - The Uncanny
I'll cut to the chase - I was looking for a cheap supernatural thriller.What I got was more intricately plotted yet yielded fewer thrills.I was disappointed.

I've never read anything by Klavan and The Uncanny doesn't exactly inspire confidence.The premise is uninspired - American movie producer who's got some health problems (to say the least) ends up hunting down the answers to an old ghost story in England.It also becomes - of course - a somewhat sappy boy-meets-girl story.

I think what truly bothered me most about the novel was the portrayal of the main character.He lived up to every stereotype of the typical American movie producer.Worse, he adopted these qualities only after the first quarter of the book had passed.As an American (and I acknowledge that many of these traits can be somewhat accurate, but are rarely seen in one single individual) I was put off by the portrayal.The whole John Wayne, movie producer, father-was-a-movie-star-cowboy, protect-the-women, suffer-in-silence hero thing was just a little too over-the-top.And while this character is overdeveloped, the others are quite poorly developed.

I don't think Klavan did himself or his readers any favors by making this more of a "literary thriller".It was just slower and more weighed down.

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring
This book did not have much of a plot to it. It was also a downer for a reason I shouldn't divulge but it has to do with the circumstances of the hero which made a happy ending out of the question (there goes suspense). Klavan cannot compete with Dan Simmons, Dean Koontz, or Peter Straub. Sorry.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than its reputation here....
I'd like to preface this by saying that this is the first of anything that I've read by Andrew Klavan; thus, I'm not burdened by Klavan's other novels.Hey, "True Crime" may be a masterpiece, and "Animal Hour" could be fantastic, I don't know.I did read this novel, "The Uncanny", however, and I was very pleased with it.

I profess a weakness (like Storm in the novel) for English ghost stories, so perhaps the novel spoke to me more so than my fellow reviewers here.Overall, I found the book to be well-written and very interesting.It wasn't scary, as some of the others have pointed out, but I don't think Klavan was trying to upstage King here.What he's written is an interesting and entertaining thriller, filled with some clever supernatural / occult additives, and the result is entirely pleasing.


5-0 out of 5 stars I loved it!
I've read the other reviews here. If a book is called " The Uncanny" I guarantee it's of the horror genre. Why everyone expected a "True Crime-ish" novel is beyond me.

Richard Storm, a horror movie producer,leaves Hollywood on a quest to London to see if any of the old ghost stories bare any truth. Is there really life after death?When Richard falls in love with Sophia Endering,an art dealer, he finds more then he was looking for. It's a rollercoaster ride through nazi art theft, ghost stories and "The Devil himself". To much said will give away the surprising twists in the story.

This was a great horror novel! ... Read more

14. A Face at the Window
list price: $19.00
our price: $19.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767901304
Catlog: Book (1998-02-02)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 339756
Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

After sending their only daughter off to boarding school, Cookson Selway and his wife, Ellen, travel to London to escape their empty house. But their quiet hotel has guests other than those on the register, and the vacation turns into a journey not only to another city but to another time. As Selway is drawn into a series of mysterious encounters with a young girl who died in a fall from his hotel window sixty years earlier, the characters of her life become more real to him than those of his own. An escapist with an alcoholic history, he secretly relishes the chance to move from his lackluster reality into the high drama of the girl's past. But as he begins to do so, he jeopardizes his marriage and the lives of those around him, and the consequences of his escape are far greater than he could ever have imagined.

In a novel that is by turns comic, terrifying, and tragic, Dennis McFarland delivers a fascinating story of a haunted man's spiritual awakening. ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars A chilling effect and a unique plot
I found myself really getting to know the characters and I loved the little boy in the story. I remember staying up late immersed in a part of the book where the main character has another encounter with the ghost world. During this part of the book, he is very out of touch with reality, and after I finished reading it I realized I was in the same disoriented state. This book is very unique, because it is not your normal ghost story. It combines the life stories of people who lived many years ago with a person who lives in today's world. Even if you don't normally read ghost stories (I normally don't), you would probably not be able to put this book down! I definately wasn't able to.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Spine-Tingling Suspense Story
This book had me on the edge my seat until the very last page, where I still sat begging for more. It is not the typical ghost story, because it combines the story of the ghosts extrodanarily well with the real main character'severyday life. Dennis McFarland did a fantastic job of developing his characters and holding his reader's suspense. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time, and I strongly recommend it to fiction readers of all kinds

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Your Average "Ghost Story"
I have to admit that "A Face at the Window" was not at all what I was expecting. I was prepared to read a "cookie cutter" ghost story. I had not read any reviews, having simply picked this book up at a library sale.
The main character Cookson Selway, an early-retired restauranteur and his wife Ellen, who is a fiction writer travel to England after their daughter goes away to boarding school. Note that this novel is written in what I call "Conversation Form", that is to say that it is written as if the central character, "Cook" is talking to the reader. Prior to leaving American, Cook has an unusual experience which reminds him of a somewhat "psychic" ability he had as a child. A self-described ex-addict [drugs, alcohol] Cook has not had these experiences for years, yet after this daughter leaves for school he has an incident and chalks it up to anxiety over the separation. When he and Ellen travel to England and settle in a very old flat, things begin to get very out of control for Cook. He begins to see and hear things that no one else can see. He strikes up an unusual friendship and bond with Paschal, the hotel's young porter and begins to distance himself from his wife. There are some very spooky appearances, which Cook seems to take in stride and embrace in an obsessive manner which creates a terrific strain on his marriage. There is quite a bit of soul-searching by the main character in this novel, therefore creating a story-within-a-story feel to the novel. A final tragedy finally breaks the obsession Cook has with "helping" the apparitions he encounters and the novel resolves from there. There is a bit of back-tracking in the beginning of the novel, which is truly important later in the story, and the conversational writing style takes a few pages to get used to but overall, this is a very interesting novel, not at tall typical of any ghost story I have ever read. It is much more and well worth reading.

1-0 out of 5 stars Definately not a book i would recommend...
The book was very boring in the beginning, but I thought it might get better in the middle so I read the first 100 pages. It started to pick up a little so I figured, "okay, I'll just keep reading." It never really picked up after that. It would talk about the ghosts for a few pages, then it would stop and go on to the guy's life, then go back to the ghosts. Back and forth from there. For scariness, it wasnt at all...just mysterious. Even at the end, it never really explains it. This book is definately for a person with a great vocabulary because I even had trouble understanding some of the words. If you have 300 pages worth of time to kill, you might want to read it just to say you read a Dennis McFarland book, but if you are expecting to be scared or interested, you won't want to read it. Sorry, but that's just my opinion. I am very picky about books and movies, so if I say a book or a movie is good, IT IS GOOD! My favorite book is Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It is the best book ever written, I think, and it is a book for all ages. Not too kiddy for adults, and not to adult for kids. Just perfect. The sequels are: Among the Impostors and Among the Betrayed. These are also a good, fun read. DEFINATELY READ IT! Well, I'm off for now. Until I read again...

3-0 out of 5 stars Well written and atmospheric, but not very scary
While reading "A face at the window" I kept trying to decide exactly what the story was trying to be. Was it a ghost story, an examination of a marraige, or the journal of one man's near descent into madness? I conclude it's all of these things, but I must say I found it rather lacking in the scare department. The main reason I choose a ghost story is for a few good frights, and I can't say I had any here. If a book purports to be a ghost story, then give me a chill here and there. Yes, this one had ghosts but they didn't do much other than occasionally beat up the narrator, and be generally annoying. I did find the cover art very intriguing and looked at the face often while reading, in fact I found that image far more frightening than the story. So overall not bad, but certainly not a stellar ghost story. For a much better thrill that is equally well written try "Ghosts" by Noel Hynd. ... Read more

15. The Bell Witch : An American Haunting
by Brent Monahan
list price: $11.95
our price: $9.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312262922
Catlog: Book (2000-06-19)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 102395
Average Customer Review: 3.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Known throughout Tennessee as "Old Kate," the Bell Witch took up residence with John Bell's family in 1818.It was a cruel and noisy spirit, given to rapping and gnawing sounds before it found its voices.

With these voices and its supernatural acts, the Bell Witch tormented the Bell family.This extraordinary book recounts the only documented case in U.S. history when a spirit actually caused a man's death.

The local schoolteacher, Richard Powell, witnessed the strange events and recorded them for his daughter.His astonishing manuscript fell into the hands of novelist Brent Monahan, who has prepared the book for publication.Members of the Bell family have previously provided information on this fascinating case, but this book recounts the tale with novelistic vigor and verve.It is truly chilling.
... Read more

Reviews (28)

3-0 out of 5 stars A mysterious but interesting novel!!
I recently read The Bell Witch for I project in my English class. I chose this book because I thought it would be interesting to read about a true American haunting. I found the characters to be very interesting and mysterious. Especially the Bell Witch. The witch took on many identities, with many voices. It had a thing for picking on John Bell's daughter. The witch was mean to the family but also did good deeds to help the family and the community. The only thing i disliked about the book is the events were kinda drawn out and it was repetitive, another thing is that it was hard to follow and keeep track where and what the characters were doing.I would suggest this book to anyone who likes a book that gives the scared edge but still keeps you on the edge of your seat wadering whats going to happen next, and if you like mystery combined with all this I suggest you read The Bell Witch.

4-0 out of 5 stars I lived there.
Having lived in Adams, Tennessee and lived with this story I have to say that much of it is unexplained but legendary. I know people who have had strange things happen that may or may not be coincidental, but unexplainable. I have been to the cave myself and taken pictures. All of the pictures taken at the cave came out foggy vs. the other pictures on the same roll of film. Many may not believe what happened as true, but it cannot be explained away when strange things continue to happen today. Take it or leave it but to dismiss it is difficult. Any book on the Bell Witch only tells of what happened to the Bell family and there has been many incidents in the last 175 years that cannot be explained or proven. It is just accepted.

4-0 out of 5 stars First Of All, It's A Novel
This book probably intends to confuse you a little- it did me- by purporting to be a newly discovered diary of a known eyewitness to events in the historically-documented "Bell Witch" case. In fact, it's a very good novel. Monahan takes the basic facts (or claims) that we have and fleshes them out artfully, with a narrator, dialogue, and a point of view that work beautifully well. The gripping story takes the horror and suspense genres in a unique direction, and lives up to the incredible source material. A small complaint: he tries to wrap things in a too-neat 1990s package for us at the end- the only false note he strikes here.

The book left me very interested in this case, and my interest increased recently when I discovered close family ties to many of the people depicted here, including Elias and Sugg Fort.

5-0 out of 5 stars A mystery, not horror
There's nothing particularly scary about this account of the bell witch presented by Brent Monahan but purportedly written by Richard Powell, a close friend of the Bell family. It is more of a mystery as the reader tries to find out what the Bell witch is and why it is haunting the Bells. One gets the impression that it's fun to be a demon, ghost, or poltergeist that plays tricks, slaps people, interrupts lives, and even kills with impunity.

Powell writes with a charming, old-fashioned style such as in this passage describing a character called Frank Miles: "Mr. Miles was not one of the community's most celebrated thinkers; manly brute force was his answer to most any problem. Despite his good intentions, he was often violent when opposed, either by animate or inanimate objects...Added to this, his vocabulary was limited to simple oaths and phrases, many of these of the crudest origin."

The most amusing parts of the book are when psychics show up to rid the house of the ghost but get their clock cleaned or scared out their wits. President Andrew Jackson attended such a session and got quite a kick out of it. The account also presents a believable account of life on the frontier during the early 1800s.

The book attempts to explain the phenomenom of a poltergeist attributing it to a disturbance that a young girl is feeling as she grows into a woman.

As for the veracity of the account actually being from Richard Powell and not Brent Monahan, I'll play along and give Monahan the benefit of the doubt. The style does change between Monahan's introduction and Powell's account. Still one would like to see this manuscript and call up the people that Monahan mentions giving him the manuscipt. And besides, I have a tendency to believe in the fanciful and outlandish, afterall, what was once considered outlandish can become status quo and what is status quo today will be considered outlandish tommorrow. However, it does seem little implausible that Richard Bell would marry Betsy given that she is being haunted by a violent ghost.

While this book was a fun read, I felt cheated because it's obviously fiction, but it's put forth as if it's fact. I don't know if this was done intentionally, as tongue-in-cheek, or if the author just thinks that readers are idiots.
If you enjoy ghost stories, you may like this story of a supposedly true poltergiest. If you prefer true tales, forget this one. ... Read more

16. The Spirit Ring
by Lois McMaster Bujold
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671578707
Catlog: Book (2000-05-01)
Publisher: Baen
Sales Rank: 53486
Average Customer Review: 3.72 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Fiametta Beneforte dreamed of making beautiful and enchanted objets d'art, but alas her magician-goldsmith father was more likely to have her scrub the kiln than study magic. After all, it was a waste to train a mere daughter beyond the needs of the moment.

Thur Ochs dreamed of escaping the icy mines of Bruinwald. But the letter from his brother Uri arranging his apprenticeship to Master Beneforte was not the only force that drew him over the mountains to the Duchy of Montefoglia...

A betrayal at a banquet plunges Thur and Fiametta into a struggle against men who would use vile magic for vile ends. Needs of this desperate moment will require all their wits, all their talents, and all their courage, if they are to rescue both Montefoglia and the souls of those they most love. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars First-rate historical fantasy, set in a magical Renaissance
"The Spirit Ring" is based on "The Grateful Dead", which is an old
folk-tale (young man pays for a pauper's burial, and is rewarded by his
ghost), Ms. Bujold's great-uncle's Ph.D. dissertation, and (I presume)
source of the band's name. This is, I think, her most personal novel. The
heroine's domineering, larger-than-life father must be, in part, LMB's own
engineer-father, though the character is formally modeled on Benvenuto
Cellini. The spunky, rebellious, and ultimately spectacularly successful
daughter is surely, in part, Lois herself (or at least a power-fantasy
wish-fulfillment mental self-image) [1]. Huh. I don't normally do (or
like) this sort of review, but it feels right this time. Read the book and
see what you think. LMB has said that the engineer-hero of "Falling Free"
was explicitly modeled after her Dad. And "The Spirit Ring" is her only
female coming-of-age novel. None of this will get in the way of your
enjoyment of the book, BTW, it's Bujold at her story-telling best, a fine
and stirring yarn indeed.

We're in the smokehouse at a rural inn:

Thur glanced up, then his gaze was riveted by what lay in the shadows
above the rafters... the nude body of a gray-bearded man, close-wrapped in
the same sort of gauze as the sausages... His skin was shrivelled and
tanning in the smoke.

"Pico was right," Thur observed after a moment's stunned silence. "Your
wife does smoke the most unusual hams."

Catti glanced up after him. "Oh, that," he said in disgust. "...He's a
refugee from Montefoglia who didn't quite make it. Penniless, it turned
out -- after the bill was run up."

"Do you often do this to guests who don't pay?" asked Thur in a fascinated
voice. "I'll tell Pico to settle our bill promptly..."

"The Spirit Ring" was Bujold's ninth published novel, first fantasy novel
and first hardcover. It didn't sell very well. I was vaguely aware of its
existence, but I'm not a regular fantasy reader and had passed it by. Don't
you make the same mistake.

Happy reading!
Pete Tillman

2-0 out of 5 stars It could have been better
spirit ring perhaps is an explanation to all why fantasy books function well in series and not standalones.

the plot has nothing outstanding that has not been used before by other writers, nor any of the witty funny moments ms bujold created in her other novels. character developemt
(imho the author's strong point) was weak and lacked punch.
i suggest borrowing this book from your local library unless you are a collector.
read ms bujold's absolutely fantastic vorkosigan series instead!

4-0 out of 5 stars Magic, mages and the might of right
Fiametta Beneforte is a metal worker, the unofficial apprentice to her father, who is also a master mage. Unfortunately, as a female although she has the talent, Fiametta is not in the ordinary run of things likely to be acknowledged as a mage herself, although she has the talent and the skill. But the usual run of things is interrupted when a diplomatic negotiation turns to betrayal and the town is subsequently under siege. Fiametta and her father escape, but her father soon dies.

Thur Oches is a miner with a talent for finding things lost and for metal, plus a skill in forgery (not faking - heating and casting metal). His brother has obtained an apprenticeship under a master goldsmith and mage, Beneforte. He travels towards the town to encounter Fiametta on the way, who gives him news of the Master's death. Thur and Fiametta have a common need to return to the town, and together with the help of several monks, they work for retribution and justice, to save the town and the rest of their livelihood.

It's a folk story, full of magic, evil and unusual beings in the form of the kobolds. Simple, uncomplicated story combining known Italy / Europe / religious influence with magery and fantasy. A skilful blend that results in a pleasing satisfying tale of a band of a few good people with right on their side, opposing a defined and evil threat.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun, Fast Read!
Fiametta Beneforte wants nothing more than to be a great mage like her father. Well, she would also like to be more beautiful and have the handsome Captain of the Guard Uri Ochs fall in love with her, but she really wants to be a master goldsmith/mage. Unfortunately, girls simply don't practice trades like men do and her father has never made her an official apprentice, though she does know quite a bit of metalworking. Her father just completed a beautiful engagement gift for the Duke of Montefoglia and Fiametta is thrilled to learn that she will be able to accompany her father to the feast where it will be presented. However, when Fiametta sees the Duke murdered by his soon to be son-in-law, Ferrante, her life suddenly changes. Prospero Beneforte, Fiametta's father, is able to get her out of the castillo and escape, but they are followed by some of Ferrante's soldiers and Prospero dies. Fiametta keeps heading to the border with her father's body, but she has no idea what she will do. Then she meets Thur Ochs, Uri's younger brother, and they contrive to return to Montefoglia and ask for Abbot Monreale's help. For, Ferrante is no ordinary soldier, he wears a spirit ring fashioned by the dark magic of Vitelli, where the spirit of his dead daughter resides and gives him power. Ferrante pursues Fiametta and steals Prospero's body to make a new, more powerful spirit ring. Fiametta is frantic to recover her father's body and have him buried in holy ground, but her face is well known in Montefoglia. So Thur goes in to the castillo as a spy to try and find out all the information that he can. There he finds much evil for, not only does the dark sorcerer Vitelli plan on making a spirit ring for Ferrante, but he plans on using Uri's spirit to make a ring for himself...

The Spirit Ring is based in a quasi-medieval Italy with an interesting tangle of political and religious maneuvering among the duchies. I didn't like Fiametta at first because she is a spoiled brat, but she grew on me. I really enjoyed most of the secondary characters and Bujold's descriptions are, as always, superb. Bujold has a nice, smooth writing style and the plot was evenly paced, if a little predictable. This is a great book to give to young adults or first time readers of fantasy because there is little magic contained therein. A light, frothy, fun read!

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice Average Fiction
I am having a real problem with this one. On one hand I know it is a relatively simplistic tale, with an average story line and mediocre characters. The dialogue seems forced sometimes and a bit, well, underdone at others. So what is my problem?

I really like it! I mean I had fun with this story. Even with its problems I enjoyed reading it, several times as a matter of fact. I enjoyed the interaction of the characters, the budding romance, the mixture of religion and magic.

Dispassionately looking at this book it really doesn't rate anything above a 3, but if I were rating on my enjoyment alone it would easily be a 4 or maybe even a 5. This seems to be written with a younger audience in mind and should be classified as young adult or juvenile fiction. No sex, little violence and a quick read. If you like fantasy, especially young adult type of fantasy I think you will like this.

Highly recommended. ... Read more

17. Ghost Riders (Ballad)
by Sharyn McCrumb, Dick Hill and Susie Breck
list price: $82.25
our price: $75.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590867890
Catlog: Book (2003-07-01)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio Unabridged Lib Ed
Sales Rank: 888408
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1861 the Civil War reached the mountainous South - where the enemy was your neighbor, the victims were your friends, and the wrong army was whichever one you joined. When Malinda Blalock's husband, Keith, joined the army, she dressed as a boy and went with him. They spent the war close to home in the North Carolina mountains, acting as Union guerilla fighters, raiding the farms of Confederate sympathizers and making as much trouble as they could locally. As hard riding, deadly out-laws, Keith and Malinda avenged Confederate raids on their kin and neighbors. McCrumb also brings to her story the larger-than-life narrative of the historical political figure Zebulon Vance, a self-made man and Confederate governor, who was from the mountains and fought for the interests of Appalachia within the hierarchy of the Confederacy.

Linking the forces of historical unrest with the present-day stories of mountain wisefolk Rattler and Nora Bonesteel, McCrumb weaves two overlapping narratives. It is up to Nora Bonesteel and Rattler to calm the Civil War ghosts who are still wandering the mountains, and prevent a clash between the living and the dead.
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Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read!
A superbly written Civil War yarn that intertwines the past with the present with a emotion charged ghostly spin.
'Ghost Riders' is undeniably one of the best books that I have ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars McCrumb at the top of her form
"In 1861 the Civil War reached the mountain South -- where the enemy was your neighbor, the victims were you friends, and the wrong army was whichever one you joined." Families split apart, war was an excuse for murder, and guerrillas fought old feuds.

In the latest of her "ballad series", McCrumb departs from her usual mystery format. Instead, she focuses on alternating stories of real historical characters with stories of people in the present attempting to connect with the past.

A group of Civil War re-enactors are playing at war, and Sheriff Spencer Arrowood, a recurring character in McCrumb's book, learns, to his surprise, that an Arrowood was killed in a battle that occurred after the war officially ended, and that he was a Union soldier.

The historical story lines are fascinating, and led me to do more research on the people. Zebulon Vance was a self-made man, lawyer and Congressman. Though he argued against secession, when war came, he became a Confederate officer, later becoming the Confederate governor of North Carolina and was a strong voice for the people of Appalachia. After the war, he eventually became Governor again, and ended his career in the United States Senate.

The other story is even more interesting. McKesson (Keith) Blalock was a Union sympathizer, but in Confederate North Carolina he was likely to be conscripted into the army. He enlisted, planning to desert and join the federal forces. But he didn't reckon that his troop's movements would make that difficult. He also didn't reckon on his wife, Malinda, following him, disguised as a man. The two eventually concoct a scheme to be discharged, and return home but Blalock's sympathies were known, and they were in danger. In time, both fled to the mountains, spending the war as guerrillas. This story, told through Malinda's voice, tells a side of the war that isn't taught much, where neighbor killed neighbor and relative killed relative.

Meanwhile, in the present, the re-enactors have, unintentionally, conjured up ghosts, ghosts who have ridden before, and who are seen by the likes of Nora Bonesteel and Rattler, who have the Sight, and by those who are dying. The veil between past and present is rent.

McCrumb has a real feel for language, and for getting into the skin of her characters. Malinda, particularly, struck me as being deeply understood. A lesser writer might have been tempted to draw her as an anachronism, to make her a "modern" woman, which would be terribly wrong. McCrumb respects her. She's a woman of her time and place, and, though unusual for that time and place, she was not unique.

Not an easy book to put down, though I admit to stopping now and again to do a bit of research into the characters and historical events McCrumb's writing about. That she led me to do that says a lot.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ghost Riders--The End of the Trail
In author Sharyn McCrumb's "Ghost Riders" her thematic characters of Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and cast of local West-Carolina characters may have reached then end of a happy trail. Had this book been published before "Cold Mountain" it would have been regarded as an insightful exploration of pockets of discontent within the Confederacy. Because "Ghost Riders" came out after "Cold Mountain," McCrumb's more readable book, however, must take a backseat in the originality category.

Likewise, this book lacks innovation in several of its parallel story lines. Women dressing up as men to follow their husband's to war have been recounted numerous times. Apparitions around battlefields are also old news or no news at all.Likewise, gazing up at the stars and conceptualizing that they were as thick as eggs laid on the water by a frog is reminiscent of a similar conversation between Huck and Jim in Twain's "Huck Finn."

The book's strength is in its telling of historical fact in a fictionalized fashion. Such books, like "The Killer Angels," give the average reader a continuity and connectivity to history that cannot be achieved thru history courses that dwell on, at worst, chronology and, at best, context. In this context Zebulon Vance, the wartime governor of North Carolina, is the best-portrayed character in McCrumb's book.

Some of the parallel stories could have been left out of McCrumb's book completely. Tom Gentry's journey out of the modern world and into the modern wilderness adds little to the book. The character "Rattler" is also weak and nominally provides a vehicle to interweave the other plots and players.

McCrumb's books have been valuable to me during a time of convalescence in which I eagerly read all of her "Arrowood" series. These books brought back many memories of family stories that have been passed down by my family for generations. I am disappointed in "Ghost Riders" because it simply did not have the substance and suspense of her earlier volumes. In addition, Ghost Riders came to an abrupt end with many threads left dangling, not as a mechanism to lead into the next volume, simply the trail went cold.

5-0 out of 5 stars McCrumb Just Continues to Hone Her Craft
She just gets better and better with each book she writes. I can't compare her writing to another author because I don't know of one I could even fit into this category. She's in a class all her own. It seems this one is my favorite, but when her next one comes out, I'll probably say it is my new favorite.

Enough has been written in other reviews about the story's various voices and characters, Civil War era, etc. Sharyn continues to interweave fact with fiction with great finesse in her novels. I devoured it as I have done with her others.

When I think back to what originally attracted me to her books, it was that she lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia - my home state. However, the attraction grew into fascination with her ballad novels. Sharyn's historical research is excellently showcased with a superb ficitonal framework.

I attended a Ghost Riders reading/signing by Sharyn and she is not only wonderful to read, but spell-binding in person. She is a walking treasure trove of mountain lore and quite entertaining.

This book is a powerful commentary on many issues, not the least "a mountain woman's lot in 1861."

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun to read
Ms McCrumb did an excellent job! Her book is entertaining, informative (regarding the history of the Appalachians), and her prose was a joy to read. Other reviewers didn't appreciate her style of going back and forth between the past and present characters, but I thought it worked well into the story, and gave the novel another dimension.After reading Ghost Riders, I plan to read Ms McCrumb's other books; as I really enjoyed her writing style. ... Read more

18. The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost Stories (New York Review Books Classics)
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0940322684
Catlog: Book (2001-03-12)
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Sales Rank: 163926
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Haunted Looking Glass is the late Edward Gorey’s selection of his favorite tales of ghosts, ghouls, and grisly goings-on. It compiles stories by a number of masters of the art of making the flesh crawl including Charles Dickens, M. R. James, and Bram Stoker. This volume provides an introduction to the best of their lesser-known works, accompanied by Gorey’s inimitable illustrations. His meticulously executed line drawings and quirky and often morbid sense of humor have made his works instantly recognizable and widely loved. The Haunted Looking Glass is a spine-tingling tribute to the master of the macabre. “A brilliant draftsman, Mr. Gorey has raised the crosshatch, a timeworn 19th century mannerism, into a timeless visual language ... [His works] tickle the funny bone as they raise hair on the back of the neck.” — The New York Times ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Spooky Tales for a Late Night
This is one of the most interesting books I've read of late, I must say. It's a collection of short fiction from the turn of the last century, writer Edward Gorey's favorites, and they range from odd to downright spooky. It begins with explorers in a haunted house, and over 250 pages manages to cover much of the breadth of late Victorian English ghost stories.

Each tale is definitely unique. A couple involve haunted houses, some demons from hell, mysterious magic, ancient curses, strange events, and normal humans on the underbelly of society, afflicted with a dose of the supernatural. There are both long ones, nearly novellas, and more succinct pieces. None are truly gruesome or horrifying, with the exception of "The Body-Snatcher", but rare are the pages that will not send chills down your spine. These writers were the masters of their times, thrilling audiences from newspapers and bookstands. These are tales to be told in the cover of darkness, where the shadow takes firm grip upon the soul of the unwary, tales to be told aloud, for the chuckle and boom of a voice will bring their ghosts to life.

To those who would enjoy such tales, and I believe that includes a very wide range, this book is probably one of the best samplers of the genre, a solid footstep from which more can be found. Certainly several of the authors I've already sought out more from. At least some of the stories are bound to appeal to almost anyone, especially on a foggy night around a fireplace. Some are better than anything I've ever read from Stephen King and other modern dealers of this type. Not to mention that I simply enjoyed the archaic dialect of these, being a fan of the old styles. You will not regret picking this book up, as it so forcefully captures the imagination. Not all so captured me, but as I said, variety is the key here, and something is bound to appeal to everyone.

My personal favorites were probably Harvey's "August Heat" and James' "Casting the Runes", on opposite ends of the book, nicely pulling me in and leading me out. "Heat" is short, sweltering, and eerie, ending in such a way that is simply too powerful; "Runes" about a the thrilling unraveling of a mystery surrounding a warlock who hexed a man. "The Thirteenth Tree" is perhaps not the most exciting, but definitely is mysterious. The title of "A Visitor From Down Under" has a double meaning, and the story embodies the psychadelia and madness of the period. Rats both haunt and protect a university student in "The Judges House", but little can stop the real horror that lives there. In "The Monkey's Paw" one wish brings ruin on a family, and a second used in desperation seems to bode more... "The Empty House" casts its siren call over an old woman, who brings her nephew in only to witness an invisible murder. The namesake of "The Signalman" has some ability to see future accidents. And in the bloody "Body-Snatcher", medical college students must take criminal steps to ensure a supply of cadavers, until one turns on them.

1-0 out of 5 stars Nothing Scarey Here
There's nothing scarey about these ghost stories. The illustrations by Gorey are great. Gorey fans will love them, but not the text.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Gorey Looking Glass
I bought my copy of, The Haunted Looking Glass, when it was first published in 1959. I still read out of it but the pages are brittle and yellowed. As a teacher I recommended it to my kids for halloween reading and they managed to find hardbound copies for 5 bucks each and they devoured it just as I did. Edward Gorey published several books under the "Looking Glass Library" label and I regret not buying them up. It is a collection of pretty strong ghost stories that provide a good start for a young ghost story reader. It is also a set of ghost story classics that belongs on the shelf of any genre collector. Many of the stories such as W.F. Harvey's, "August Heat," are frequently anthologized but some like E. Nesbit's, "Man Sized in Marble," are rare and truely eerie. I am sorry that the new edition of The Haunted Looking Glass was not was not printed in hardback. My copy crumbles a little every time I touch it and with Halloween coming it has stories that beg to be read. Savor M. R. James' "Casting the Runes" and experience the three-wish-curse formula in W.W. Jacob's, "The Monkey's Paw."

5-0 out of 5 stars Victorian Creepy Crawlies
Edward Gorey's quirky and often macabre drawings have been delighting his fans for two generations. In "The Haunted Looking Glass," we find another set of apposite illustrations to accompany his collection of his favourite ghost stories. Recently re-released in the excellent New York Review of Books Classics series, readers will find it to be an agreeably discomforting guided tour through some of the high spots of the golden age of ghost story writing, the Victorian and Edwardian period. There are worthy old chesnuts such as "Casting the Runes" and "The Monkey's Paw" and "August Heat," as well as unexpected gems from E. Nesbit ("Man-size in Marble") and Bram Stoker ("The Judge's House"). A contribution from Charles Dickens ("The Signalman") is especially memorable. This is a wonderful collection of stories, and readers are urged to find out for themselves what lurks within the haunted looking glass!

4-0 out of 5 stars A well-chosen collection of great ghost stories
The trouble with most ghost stories is that they're never sufficiently scary enough: even many of the stories of such masters of the genre as M. R. James and Sheridan le Fanu seem insufficiently frightening, often given the limited frame of the short story. Years before his recent death, the great illustrator Edward Gorey assembled a best-of-the-best collection of the most frightening of all ghost stories (accompanied by his personal illustrations), and his choices do not disappoint. Many of the stories have the sickening, terrifying quality of a bad dream (such as Stoker's "The Judge's House" and E. Nesbit's "Mansize in marble"), while even the shorter pieces which have little in the way of characterization (such as "The Empty House") are genuinely frightening and evocative in terms of atmosphere. The very best stories--"The Monkey's Paw," James's "Casting the Runes," and Dickens's "The Signalman"--are little masterpieces of suspense and mood.

NYRB wisely decided to break from its standard cover format by allowing Gorey's original handlettered illustration remain intact; his moody drawings for each story are also kept. This is a nice little collection. ... Read more

19. Phantom Ghost of Harriet Lou, and Other Elk Stories
by Roland Cheek
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0918981042
Catlog: Book (1998-05-01)
Publisher: Skyline Publishing (MT)
Sales Rank: 601693
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the beginning there was heaven and earth; and the earth was without form and void and little tow-headed boys wandered around barefoot with hands in their pockets because there was nothing upon the land to catch their imagination. And God looked upon His work and was it was not yet good that no thing existed to challenge those boys. And so an autumn came to pass when eerie whistlings drifted into the valleys from distant mountainsides and the by-then lanky teenage boys threw away their toys and accepted the wapiti challenge that would make them men! And God and girls saw that it was good.If you've heard a different version of this story, that's your problem. I heard it but once--this way. And so I became an elk hunter. Then I became infatuated with all God's creatures, and eventually a believer that God's handiwork is composed of such intracacies that a quest to understand has taken the rest of my life. The Phantom Ghost of Harriet Lou is about that quest. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I ever read
This is the best book about elk and hunting I have ever read. Informative, educational and entertaining. ... Read more

20. Walter's Purple Heart
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684867230
Catlog: Book (2002-04-10)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 577040
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a flight of sheer imagination: the story of a love affair that spans two lives, two incarnations -- but for only one of its partners -- and the many repercussions of a young life cut short by war.

Michael Steeb is an aimless twenty-one-year-old pot farmer living a day-to-day existence in an unfinished farmhouse in central California in the 1980s. He has no real plans or interests -- until the day he connects with the memories of a life that seems to belong to someone else, that of a young American soldier killed in World War II. Seeking answers on the Ouija board, he instead finds Walter, the spirit of the young soldier. Only much later does Michael come to understand that Walter is an earlier incarnation of himself. For while Michael is, of course, only one person, inside him are two dueling identities: an aimless, carefree pothead, and an angry young soldier who was unprepared for death and who won't let go. Only the resolution of deep grudges and grievances will enable Walter to move on, to merge into his new life, and only Michael can effect that transition.

Michael sets out to find Andrew, Walter's best friend from the war days -- the one who talked Walter into enlisting in the first place -- and Mary Ann, the fiancée Walter left behind. He finds them married to each other and much the same as they were forty years before. Mary Ann is still open and knowing, and recognizes Walter in Michael immediately. Andrew remains guarded, closed-minded, and skeptical, and he sets out to prove that Michael is the worst sort of con man.

Meanwhile the romance Walter began with Mary Ann forty years earlier reignites between Mary Ann and Michael, despite the harsh reality of the difference in their ages, despite the presence of a jealous and defensive Andrew.

Michael's task is the near-impossible: to lead Walter's elderly mother and middle-aged brother to closure and peace, to make Andrew believe this new reality, to deliver the truth about Walter's Purple Heart, and somehow to achieve the forgiveness that has been absent for so many years.

Woven throughout the story are the direct observations of Walter as a narrator from beyond the grave who slides through time correcting history, telling secrets, providing perspective on his life after death, and guiding the living on the path to his, and their own, release.

Walter's Purple Heart is a tightly plotted, fast-paced war drama and a deeply felt romance, wrapped together in a unique twist on the prospect of multiple lives. In original and unexpected ways, Catherine Ryan Hyde paints an enduring portrait of a life prematurely lost, and the endless ripples of consequence that affect those who loved him, in a microcosm that sheds light on the true gravity of war. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Eternal Love
I really enjoyed this first person story about love. The novel is about memories and problems that survive death and the passage of time. Forty years after his death Walter comes back through Micheal to get some things straight. Rather than getting answers he put his life in perspective. As part of that process he finds out what his life meant to the ones he left behind.
Does love survive the grave? I for one believe that those who died are still with us in spirit. I am assured that those who are gone still care for us as we still care for them. This book makes a good case for the durability and permanance of love.
This book is easy to read, thought provoking and very entertaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars With Compassion
Catherine Ryan Hyde has brought you to the feeling that each author tries to achieve. Her characters have been so fully developed that you can relate in some way to all of them.

The feeling of love that Walter makes you proud to feel, is a real winner. Let yourself become one of the people and then you will become another and finally you will fill all the shoes.

This book will make you feel so wonderful, and will add to your faith in yourself.

This should be at the top of the best seller list.

5-0 out of 5 stars A FINE READ!
Woody Allen said, "The heart wants what it wants." Catherine Ryan Hyde says it again - beautifully - in Walter's Purple Heart!

5-0 out of 5 stars PAY IT FORWARD fans, Catherine Ryan Hyde Has Done It Again!
"Pay It Forward" fans, it's time to cheer. Catherine Ryan Hyde's latest-"Walter's Purple Heart"-is another life-affirming, emotionally rewarding read that touches the heart and satisfies the soul.

In her just-the-good-parts, spare, literary style, she spins an un-put-downable tale that pays tribute to the "Greatest Generation"-the heroes and heroines of World War II-without glorifying the violence and pain they endured.

It's a book about the eternal power of love and friendship that should appeal to all generations, but for those of us of AARP age, this book makes a very special gift.

5-0 out of 5 stars Walter's Purple Heart
Walter may have only earned a Purple Heart but the author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, should be awarded the Distinguised Service Award for bravery. She has tackled several controversial themes head on and weaves a good story out of them. Younger man in love with older woman, reincarnation and ouija boards, all told in the voices most appropriate for that part of the suspenseful plot being revealed. You keep reading to the end and are amply rewarded. ... Read more

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