Spirited tales set in Weymouth by Julie Cohen
A ghostly visit to Weymouth and India
Set mainly in Dorset with passing visits to India, this is not a book for location seekers. However, it’s a very atmospheric book in terms of setting in several gothic houses, the mean streets in and around Weymouth and in the confines of a loveless marriage. The main setting however is that of the spirit world. Violet in the book takes pictures and is horrified to see that her images seem to often capture the spirit of someone recently deceased. On one image, a photo shows a girl standing behind the subject….a girl who has recently passed…
Plus of course the novel was written by Julie Cohen so you know it’s going to be good, emotional and thought-provoking.
Spirited is like a bow of a book, So many strands making up the overall flourish. One which as you read, the strands unravel and what you are left with is quite a surprise.
A wonderful slow-burn of a read which introduces a very sad woman called Viola whose father has just died. She’s recently married to Jonah but this is hardly a happy time as there is something strange about him; he’s distant, cruel at times and something unreachable. He’s back from war in India where he is somewhat of a hero but he is deeply troubled by what he saw and learnt there. With this whisper of foreboding from the start, you know this is going to come back to haunt him and Viola.
Talking of haunting, the magic of this book is contained in the idea that viola takes photos that often reveal the spirits of recently departed souls. Shocked and confused, she reaches out to Henriette, a spirit medium, who introduces her to a world she may not be ready to explore. Then there’s the secrets Henriette herself has to hide…
This really was a lovely and heartbreaking surprise of a story. One which spoke of emotional relationships, hopes and fears, the role of women and the belief system that prevailed at the time. The whole idea of spirits being captured on film is both comforting and freaky but it’s an interesting idea. It made me feel sad to see what people will believe when they are so desperate for answers.
Jonah, Viola and Henriette all have very different stories but when the threads combine, the effects are very thought-provoking and poignant.