Published October 15th 2009 by Orion (first published October 1st 2009)
ISBN 1409112276 (ISBN13: 9781409112273)
The Winter Ghosts is a beautifully written fiction based on the tragic end of the
Cathars in the fourteenth century with a little bit of paranormal thrown in. Freddy Watson has spent years trying to recover from the death of his brother George in WWI. He's had such a hard time dealing with his grief and survivors guilt that he even had to spend some years in a sanatorium.
Years later and somewhat recovered, he takes a trip to the Languedoc region of France high in the mountains. On an extremely snowy night that would change his life forever, he crashes his car and then makes his way to a small inn in the village of Nulle. The proprietor invites him to a feast that night and that's where he meets Fabrissa, a young woman who also had a lot of grief to share with Freddy. They spend the night talking about their sorrows and in the morning Freddy, delirious with fever, is not sure what was real and what wasn't.
Although this starts slowly, it is beautifully written with a real sense of place. Mosse definitely sets the mood and gives the reader a thorough feel for Freddy's state of mind. Somewhat predictable in a few places but still an enjoyable read.
I don't normally gravitate to stories with a paranormal bent to them but this one was okay. I liked the post WWI time frame and the setting. Having never heard of the Cathars, I thought the author's note was very interesting. 3***
Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Putnam through the Goodreads program.