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The Greatcoat: A Ghost Storyby Helen Dunmore
Synopses & Reviews
Bestselling novelist Helen Dunmores historical novels have earned her comparisons in the press to Tolstoy and Emily Bronte. In her newest book, Dunmore mines the past to chilling effect in this evocative and sophisticated ghost story about a love affair between a neglected wife and a mysterious soldier.
It is the winter of 1952 when Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her new husband, Philip, a medical doctor. While Philip spends long hours working away from home, Isabel finds herself lonely and vulnerable as she adjusts to the realities of being a housewife in the country.
One evening, while Philip is on call, Isabel is woken by intense cold. When she hunts for extra blankets, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under the coat for warmth, she starts to dream and is soon startled by a knock at her window. Outside is a young RAF pilot wearing a familiar coat. His name is Alec and his powerful presence disturbs and excites her as they begin an intense affair. Nothing though has prepared her for the truth about Alecs life, nor the impact it will have on her own.
"In 1952, with England still suffering the aftershocks of WWII ('Shortages, restrictions, rules and ration books, coupons and exhortations...'), Isabel and her new husband Philip move to the countryside, where he is taking over a medical practice. While Philip is immediately absorbed in his work, Isabel feels lonely and unsure of her decision to enter into the life of a country doctor's wife. One cold night, Isabel discovers, in the top of the cupboard, an RAF greatcoat, apparently being kept by Mrs. Atkinson, their strange landlady. Before long the ghost of the coat's former owner, a WWII officer named Alec, appears outside the window and draws Isabel into a curious and passionate romance. It's only a matter of time before the truth of the officer's past is revealed. Orange Prize winner Dunmore (for A Spell of Winter) this time delivers more of a slender film treatment than a fully developed novel, with blurry paranormal rules and obvious themes about the impact of war and its losses on our lives. Agent: AP Watt, London. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Helen Dunmore is the author of eleven novels, including The Betrayal, a New York Times Editors' Choice; The Siege, a national best seller and finalist for the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; and A Spell of Winter, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction.
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