Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Mitchell, Saundra.  Mistwalker.  Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt Brace  2014  310p  $16.99  ISBN 978-0-547-85315-4      hs  Fantasy  VG-BN   

Slow-paced and meandering as fog and mist, Mitchell’s novel examines the aftermath of grief through a New England folk tale about Willa, who is grief- and guilt-stricken by her brother’s recent death, and Grey, a spirit condemned to live in an abandoned lighthouse until he collects one thousand souls.   When a romance develops between Willa and Grey, she is tempted to take Grey’s place and break the curse on him, believing that her absence will have little impact on her family or friends.

Grey has tried to retain the shreds of his humanity that still exist.  He wants to be free of the curse that compels him to stay with the lighthouse, but despite his ability to call fog or dangerous weather, he states: “I’ve been a good steward for this town; better than most.  I’ve been honorable.
 They’ve had a hundred years of my generosity, holding back the fog.  So many good days for them. So many clear days. I’ve been patient. In all this time, I could have blinded hundreds of fisherman. Led them astray, helped their pretty little boats crash into rocks, hidden coming storms.” 

Still, Grey is collecting souls.  He keeps them in containers
, and the souls are unable to complete their journey to the next plane of existence or find rest.  Willa is unaware that Grey holds her brother’s soul captive.

Mitchell does a great job of creating an authentic setting.
 The small Maine fishing town rings true, especially the relationships and feuds that the long-time families share.  These are tough, resilient folk, unafraid of hard work and harsh realities.  These relationships and characters ring true, too. As with Brigadoon, readers will find themselves walking out of the mist and into the lives of this isolated village, and their thoughts may return to this haunting tale long after they have closed the covers.

Summary: Willa discovers that the legendary spirit of the lighthouse is actually a young man trapped inside it until he collects 1,000 souls.  Should Willa sacrifice herself to free him?
Ghost stories, Spells-Fiction                         --Hilary Welliver

No comments: