The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb
Gothic Fiction/Mystery/Suspense, Published 2010
Read May 2010
Challenges: Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge, Time Travel Reading Challenge
Shelf Life: N/A – I read this one immediately!!
First Line: “I was the only passenger on the ferry crossing to Grand Manitou Island.”
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 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 her mother lived, a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes. Most of the stiff islanders are unwelcoming, and she soon realizes her family’s dark secrets are enmeshed in the history of this strange community. 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…
Strange things indeed! Once Hallie sets foot off the ferry and onto Grand Manitou Island, the reader is transported through time. It’s the off season for the touristy spot and not many islanders stay through winter. It is here that thirty-something Hallie learns her past, including the fact that she has been on the island before, though she does not remember it. She does not remember her mother either and soon learns the secrets of her family’s past from Iris, her mother’s maid. It is Iris who tells Hallie of her family history and tells it so well it is almost as if she were a first-hand witness to events happening nearly a century ago. So many twist and turns and Hallie can see and hear every aspect of the haunting tales. Will Hallie discover her past before history continues to repeat itself?
I LOVED this book! If you’re looking for a gothic ghost tale with wonderfully creepy graveyards, ghosts, witching spells, and haunting dreams full of family secrets, you have to read this book! It was a random purchase at Borders one day a few weeks ago. Right away I was drawn to the cover with the ghost girl sitting on the antique couch. Hallie’s Manitou Island is fashioned after the real island of Mackinac off of northern Michigan in the Great Lakes. Like Manitou, they too are a tourist spot that do not use any motorized vehicles, but horse drawn carriages. The author also points out that the storm of 1913 mentioned in the novel was a real tragic event that remains the worst storm in the history of the Great Lakes.
That’s how powerful stories are. They can actually create the past if told often enough. p. 11
It occurs to me that you might like to hear about your family now. I’m the only one left alive to tell you their story. If you don’t hear it from me, you won’t hear it. And they – the stories of your people – will be lost forever. -p. 137
There, with the lights of the kitchen illuminating the darkness, in a house built on secrets and filled with ghosts and murder, I realized that the lines between Iris’s stories and my reality were blurring. Were Will and I somehow caught up in my family’s grim and bloody fairy tale? p. 245
Read-Alikes: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield