Friday, September 16, 2016

Ghost Walkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

I definitely have seasons for different genres of books.  I love to read science fiction/fantasy and paranormal novels when the seasons change from summer to fall;  it starts getting darker out earlier and the cool air makes me think about chili and apple crisp.  It's also the season when all of my favorite ghost shows start new episodes on TV.  When I saw Ghost Talkers on Twitter, I had to check it out. 

Ghost Talkers has a very interesting plot, and I have to give high marks to Mary Robinette Kowal for coming up with this storyline.  The novel is set in World War I Le Havre, a French village occupied by English troops.  Ginger Stuyvesant is a young American heiress working for the English military in an unusual capacity:  she is a medium that communicates with soldiers who have died in battle and can bring news about German troop movements and artillery back to British army headquarters .  There's a secret group of women known as the Spirit Corps who work in a vast warehouse called Potter's Field.   Every day and night, mediums sit in circles with people who ground their spirits while the women work with dead soldiers who have undergone a ritual that will compel their spirit to come back to Potter's Field and give their last report before they go into the light.  England's spiritual secret weapon may turn the war in their favor.  And if the Germans find out about it, it could mean the end of the program and danger for the mediums.  And it seems there may be a traitor to Britain working to expose the Spirit Corps to the Germans...

Ginger is engaged to Captain Ben Harford, a dashing English officer who is working with the Spirit Corps and sending coded letters back to Ginger when he is on the front battle lines.  The relationship between them undergoes some tremendous heartache and growth over the course of this novel.  I can't tell you much more about the plot because it would give it all away!  Needless to say, I was taken aback at the swiftness of major plot points, and they completely changed what I thought the story would be about.  But, I completely enjoyed this novel, even with the very dark and dismal background of World War I.  Ginger and Ben have a great chemistry and rapport, and fellow mediums who have smaller parts in the story add to an overall feeling of a united Britain working to win the war.  

I certainly hope and expect there to be more adventures for the Spirit Corps in future books.  I so want to know what happens next!  This was my first time reading Mary Robinette Kowal, and I'm happy to say her mix of fantasy/paranormal and history is something I like very much.  

Rating:  8/10 for an original plot with two main characters who came to life for me very vividly.  A good mix of history, paranormal, and just darn good writing.  
Available in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook.  I checked it out from my local library.  

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