The Ghost Writer

As you all know, I decided to read The Ghost Writer by John Harwood for the R.I.P. IV Challenge. I discovered this book at Melody’s lovely blog, Melody’s Reading Corner, and I couldn’t wait to read it!

Young Gerard lives with his overprotective mother and his reticent father in a small Australian town. He doesn’t have any friends and his parents are very strict. His life is uneventful, thus, one day, he decides to sneak into his mother’s bedroom. There, he makes a mysterious discovery as he finds a strange photograph of a beautiful woman and a manuscript in his mother’s cupboard. However, Gerard cannot enjoy his discoveries, since his mother enters the room and beats him up for invading her privacy.

When he wants to find out more about the mysterious photograph, he realizes that his secretive mother has something to hide. He senses that the photograph must have some connection to his mother’s past, but she won’t tell him any further details. All he knows is that his mother grew up in England and that she lived with her grandmother at a grand country estate called Staplefield.

Gerard often thinks about the mysterious photograph and about Staplefield, but he can’t tell anybody about it, since he has no friends. Therefore, he is very happy when he begins a pen-friendship with an English girl named Alice. She is an orphan girl who is restricted to a wheelchair after a terrible car accident. She doesn’t want to talk about her past and Gerard agrees not to ask any further questions. Finally, Gerard has found someone to confide in; he can tell her everything and share his ideas and feelings with her.

Over the next couple of years, they frequently write to each other and their letters become very passionate. Gerard and Alice realize that they have fallen in love with each other and Gerard can’t wait to see his beloved. Thus, he plans to visit Alice in England, but she doesn’t know about his intention. All she knows is that Gerard wants to find out more about his mother’s past while he is in England. Unfortunately, he cannot see Alice during his stay, so he disappointedly returns to Australia.

After his mother’s death, Gerard leaves his home and heads for England. This time, he hopes he can finally meet Alice and be with her. He also hopes to find out about Staplefield and the mystifying photograph and thus solve the mysteries behind his mother’s past.

John Harwood does a brilliant job embedding a few Victorian ghost stories within Gerard’s suspenseful story and the reader soon realizes that these stories are somehow connected to Gerard’s mother. But how are they connected? And what does Alice have to do with these spooky stories? What does she have to hide, anyway?

Well, you’ll have to read this superb book to find out. You won’t regret it, as this novel is truly a masterpiece and a tribute to gothic literature! I recommend this book to everyone out there, since The Ghost Writer tells a story full of hidden secrets, mysteries, intrigues and deception. This novel is an astounding piece of work and a terrific ghost story! I just couldn’t put this book down and was eager to find out how it will end. I loved everything about this captivating novel, especially the stories within the story. The Ghost Writer will remind you of The Turn of the Screw and other Victorian ghost stories and it will linger in your mind for a long time!

The Ghost Writer is one of the best books I’ve read this year and I am looking forward to reading other John Harwood novels in the future.

I would like to thank Brittany Edwards from Harcourt Trade Publishers for sending me a copy of this engaging book!


17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sandy
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 15:10:14

    I absolutely LOST myself in this book! Loved it! I have my eye on The Seance, another Harwood that was released earlier this year. Perfect for RIP!


  2. Milka
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 15:38:44

    That is cool, what part of Europe are you from?
    I really want to visit Barcelona, maybe some day! 🙂


  3. Ceri
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 17:29:49

    I saw this on Melody’s blog too and it really does look so good. Really my kind of story. That’s a great review. 😀


  4. Nymeth
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 17:37:10

    This sounds like something I’d REALLY love 😀 I can’t read it for this year’s RIP as I’m sticking to books from my tbr pile, but there’s always next time! And I do have The Turn of the Screw.


  5. Milka
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 17:42:47

    That is cool. 🙂
    I’ve been to Germany, in Frankfurt, but only for a day. I would love to go to Berlin some day, there are a lot of historic places I would love to visit.


  6. vivienne
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 19:50:59

    Definitely one I would read. I found his other book this week The Seance and really wanted that, now I want both. Great review.


  7. Baba
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 20:44:34

    Sounds like a wonderful book! Thanks for the great review.


  8. Melody
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 00:30:32

    I LOVED this book! I’m glad you enjoyed it too, Andreea!! 😀 I can’t wait to read his next book The Seance!

    Now I’ve to check out The Turn of the Screw! 😛


  9. Andreea
    Sep 07, 2009 @ 10:07:46

    Sandy: The Seance sounds great and I hope I will read it in the future!

    Ceri: I hope you get the chance to read it!

    Nymeth: The Turn of the Screw is one of my favorite books. It’s brilliant!

    Milka: I used to live near Frankfurt:)

    Vivienne: Yes, I know how it is:) You always want more books!

    Baba: Yes, it’s a wonderful book, I loved it!

    Melody: Please check it out! You won’t regret it as it’s a great classic!


  10. Bookjourney
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 03:10:35

    I love the title of this book and your review sounds so good!


  11. Hazra
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 16:48:56

    The cover really creeps me out! Sounds and looks like a perfect R.I.P. Challenge book.


  12. Carl V.
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 02:42:50

    I remember reading several good reviews of this one for last year’s R.I.P. Challenge. I checked it out from the library but never ended up getting to it. Your review just reminds me that it sounds like a book that I simply have to read. A gothic masterpiece? Then count me in! 🙂


  13. savidgereads
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 20:31:50

    I have to read this book! I read his second novel ‘The Seance’ recently and it was absolutely brilliant! I think this is going to have to be bought by me very, very soon!


  14. Jemima
    Sep 10, 2009 @ 23:51:44

    It sounds like a great book that you really loved. It is exciting when you come across a book that you can really rave about itsn’t it. Do you think readers who do not normally read gothic stories will like it also?


  15. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)
    Sep 14, 2009 @ 14:38:06

    this book sounds fascinating. I would love to read this one. I’ll have to check to see if the library has this one.


  16. Kristen M.
    Sep 14, 2009 @ 19:19:06

    I just came over from Jemima’s (The Reading Journey) blog today and have added you to my reader. I love your book choices. I really like John Harwood — he “gets” gothic.


  17. diane
    Sep 27, 2009 @ 13:56:20

    I really loved this book. His newest book Seance is also good. Great review.


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