Thursday, September 25, 2014

"The Swallow" by Charis Cotter

Sometimes the Recommender comes across a book that is a complete surprise and such a gem that you just want to get everyone you know to read it. The Swallow by Charis Cotter is one of those books. I had the privilege of reading it through NetGalley (thank you, NetGalley!)  It is one of my favorite books of the year!
It begins in 1963 in Toronto, Canada. Two 12 year old girls are bemoaning their separate existences. Polly is part of a bustling family, her father is a minister, her mother is a do-gooder of the first order, filling the home with foster children to supplement Polly, her older sister and the horrors, her twin 8 year old brothers. She feels no one pays her any attention and the final straw is having to share her room with Susie, a baby. The only thing that keeps her going is her passion for ghost books and possibly meeting a ghost in person, some day.
Next door, lives Rose, whose family has moved to the house formerly owned by her grandmother only recently. Her parents work for her other grandfather's company and are seldom home, leaving her in the care of a crotchety housekeeper who retires to her basement room after preparing Rose's dinner, leaving her on her own to face the ghosts, yes, ghosts. Rose has seen them all her life. And the house she is now living in faces a cemetery, filled with them. They all seem to want something from her. Sometimes she feels invisible, almost like a ghost, herself, with no friends, and attending a new school where no one speaks to her.
One evening, having had enough of her family, Polly escapes to the attic to have some privacy and read her ghost stories. She hears singing. Could it be a ghost? But then, the ghost accuses her of being one. This event is what eventually brings Rose and Polly together in this captivating and at times poignant ghost story. Ms. Cotter is a gifted writer who makes you care about her characters and as the story unfolds with all its twists and turns and surprises it will keep you involved right to the end.

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