THE WINTER GHOSTS

Kate Mosse

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sepulchre and Labyrinth—a compelling story of love, ghosts and remembrance.

World War I robbed England and France of an entire generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson’s case, the battlefields took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution, Freddie is travelling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Freezing and dazed, he stumbles through the woods,

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Sepulchre and Labyrinth—a compelling story of love, ghosts and remembrance.

World War I robbed England and France of an entire generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson’s case, the battlefields took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. In the winter of 1928, still seeking some kind of resolution, Freddie is travelling through the beautiful but forbidding French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Freezing and dazed, he stumbles through the woods, emerging in a tiny village, where he finds an inn to wait out the blizzard. There he meets Fabrissa, a lovely young woman also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. By the time dawn breaks, Freddie will have unearthed a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries, and discovered his own role in the life of this old remote town.

By turns thrilling, poignant, and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.

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  • Berkley
  • Paperback
  • February 2012
  • 336 Pages
  • 9780425245293

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About Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse is the author of the #1 International bestseller Labyrinth, and a presenter for BBC television and radio in London. Born in 1961, she grew up in West Sussex, England, she read English at Oxford and holds honorary MAs from Oxford and Chichester Universities. A publisher for seven years, she is the Co-Founder & Honorary Director of the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Orange Award for New Writers, the prestigious annual literary awards celebrating international writing in English by women. She is also a television and radio presenter for the BBC in London, fronting such series as ‘The Readers & Writers Roadshow’ and ‘Open Book.’

Previous books include Becoming a Mother and The House: Behind the Scenes at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, as well as two novels Eskimo Kissing and Crucifix Lane. Labyrinth, her international # 1 bestseller, was published in the UK in July 2005. A Sunday Times #1 bestseller in hardback and paperback, and a New York Times Top 10 bestseller, it was the over all best selling book in the UK for 2006 and won ‘Best Read of the Year’ in the British Book Awards. It is also shortlisted for the IMPAC international literary award, for a CWA Steel Dagger and has been shortlisted for ‘Author of the Year’ for the 2007 British Book Awards. Labyrinth is published in 40 countries.

A former Executive Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, Kate is a member of the Royal Society of Arts, a Board member of the international sponsorship organisation Arts & Business, Kate was named International Woman of Achievement in 2000 for her contribution to the Arts.

She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Sussex, England, and Carcassonne, southwest France.

Praise

“This is a great read … Mosse writes movingly about loss and atmospherically about France.”Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

“Mosse flits between between the centuries, knitting together a compelling historical yarn with a more modern one.”The Independent

“It takes much of what appeals about her bestselling novels – and adds a heartbreaking story – what is really haunting about Mosse’s tale is the rawness of Freddie’s grief.”The Times of London

“A poignant, spooky study of mourning and redemption.”Marie Claire

Discussion Questions

After he suffers a nervous breakdown on his 21st birthday, Freddie is hospitalized and says “Each tiny improvement in my health took me further from George and, in truth, his remained the only company I wished for. It felt like a betrayal to learn to live without him.” Does that seem insane or simply a description of deep grief and loss? Would modern society treat Freddie’s experience differently?

Fabrissa asks Freddie if he is an honest man who can “tell true from false.” Is he? Why do you think she asks him?

The persecution of the Cathar community took place in the 14th century, but their “lost generation” resonates with Freddie in the 1920s, when England was struggling with the loss of a generation of young men during the Great War. What other “lost generations” do we know of? How does their experience touch our own?

“It is time to walk out of the shadows” is heard in a ghostly voice—which Freddie discovers if Fabrissa’s—more than once in this novel. Does Freddie manage to walk out of the shadows by the end of the book? Does Fabrissa?

At the end of the novel, Freddie insists that although he knows all about “the tricks our minds can play on us, on our delicate, vulnerable, suggestible, shabby little minds.” He’s absolutely convinced that Fabrissa existed, and was not a hallucination or symptom of his fragile mental state. Are you?

Freddie tells Seurat that: “Life is not, as we are taught, a matter of seeking answers, but rather learning which are the questions we should ask.” Is this true? What questions did Freddie ultimately learn to ask—and to not ask—and how did that change him?