Where do I even start? I love, Love, LOVE! this book!!! For enjoyment alone, it has broken into my top 5 reads.
A young woman travels alone to a remote island to uncover a past she never knew...
When a mysterious letter lands in Hallie James’s mailbox, her life is upended. Hallie was raised by her loving father, having been told her mother died in a fire decades earlier. But it turns out that her mother, Madlyn, was alive until very recently. Why would Hallie’s father have taken her away from Madlyn? What really happened to her family thirty years ago?
In search of answers, Hallie travels to the place where her mother lived, a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes. The stiff islanders fix her first with icy stares and then unabashed amazement as they recognize why she looks so familiar, and Hallie quickly realizes her family’s dark secrets are enmeshed in the history of this strange place. But not everyone greets her with such a chilly reception—a coffee-shop owner and the family’s lawyer both warm to Hallie, and the possibility of romance blooms. And then there’s the grand Victorian house bequeathed to her—maybe it’s the eerie atmosphere or maybe it’s the prim, elderly maid who used to work for her mother, but Hallie just can’t shake the feeling that strange things are starting to happen . . .
The tale is woven richly through description and memory. With detailed settings, old mansions begging to be explored and the Gothic atmosphere in a modern world, this mystery is not of the dropping breadcrumbs variety, but one that hovers on the edge of the personal journey that Halcyon is taking. Nor is this a horror story, rather this is the eerie haunting of a family that prevails through the generations and their shrouded secrets.
As Iris, the elderly maid, relates Halcyon's own family history, generation by generation, I felt as though I became Hallie and it was my story she was telling. So engrossed by the words I was surprised more than once to look up and see that it was still light out and I was, in fact, still in my own living room. This is that magic given by books...to transport one so completely that we forget it is but a novel.
The Tale of Halcyon Crane was Wendy Webb's debut novel. She has since added 2 more titles to her collection about ghosts and family secrets and are also set on the Great Lakes.