Thursday, April 29, 2010

Julie's Review: The Tale of Halcyon Crane

Summary: When a mysterious letter lands in Hallie James’s mailbox, her life is upended. Hallie was raised by her loving father, having been told her mother died in a fire decades earlier. But it turns out that her mother, Madlyn, was alive until very recently. Why would Hallie’s father have taken her away from Madlyn? What really happened to her family thirty years ago? In search of answers, Hallie travels to the place where her mother lived, a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes. The stiff islanders fix her first with icy stares and then unabashed amazement as they recognize why she looks so familiar, and Hallie quickly realizes her family’s dark secrets are enmeshed in the history of this strange place. But not everyone greets her with such a chilly reception—a coffee-shop owner and the family’s lawyer both warm to Hallie, and the possibility of romance blooms. And then there’s the grand Victorian house bequeathed to her—maybe it’s the eerie atmosphere or maybe it’s the prim, elderly maid who used to work for her mother, but Hallie just can’t shake the feeling that strange things are starting to happen.

Review: Do you believe in ghosts? Would you if your family history was filled with them? Would you question your sanity if you felt like someone was touching you, when there was no one around? I ask because that is what Hallie James is dealing with in The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb. I just can't say enough about this fantastic novel, well I can but then I'd ruin the book for you and that I don't want to do.

This book takes off from the very first page. Hallie James receives a letter that declares her mom recently died. This sends her into a tailspin because she always thought that her mom died in a fire when she was young. A few other things happen in Hallie's life that cause her to run to Grand Manitou Island to research her new found heritage. The way Ms. Webb writes this novel it makes you feel like you are in step with Hallie, experiencing everything she does. Instantly I liked Hallie. She seemed very real and genuine.

There are some fascinating secondary characters in this book. The island itself is a character with its own history and secrets. My favorite character next to Hallie and Will, is Iris. I kept trying to figure her out and I couldn't. Where my brain was taking me, was so not where the story ended up. Just one of many twists and turns in the book. The ending of the book was such a shock that I had to go back and re-read it twice to make sure I understood what had occurred.

Ms. Webb does an excellent job of making sure you are attached to the characters and all of their stories. So much so that the story would freak me out at times. The night I started reading it our garage door opened on it's own twice. The 2nd time I made my husband unplug it. LOL Sure it's a coincidence but freaky nonetheless.

As I said above I can't really say much about the book that wouldn't give it away. What I can say is that you want an edge of your seat ghost story, family drama, mystery and well written book, you need to run out and buy The Tale of Halcyon Crane. While this book is a ghost story, more than anything it's about family, knowing your heritage and embracing it.

I can't wait to see what Ms. Webb has up her sleeve for her next novel. Frankly, the way she tells a story she could write about how to paint a wall and I'd be in line to buy it. She is a solid storyteller and a gifted writer.

Typically I don't do this but this book reminds me a lot of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe and Darling Jim by Christian Moerk.

Final Take: 5/5



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