by Wendy Webb
Raised on America’s east coast by her devoted father, Hallie James has always known she had no other family, that her mother had died in a house fire thirty years ago, and that her life was never going to amount to anything special. With a failed marriage to her credit and her beloved father losing his fight with dementia, Hallie is in need of a new direction in her life, even if she doesn’t know it herself.
But when out of the blue, she receives a mysterious letter from celebrated photographer Madlyn Crane, Hallie is forced to question everything she thought she knew about herself and her father.
Her quest for answers takes her to the remote island on the Great Lakes that was home to the strange woman who claimed to be her mother. Once there she soon discovers that her own disappearance 30 years earlier is not the only mystery the strange island has to offer.
From the moment Hallie arrives inexplicable things begin to happen and as she begins to learn the truth about her family (and herself) the sense of danger becomes very real.
From the tragedy of losing both her mother and her father in such quick succession leaves Hallie very much alone, but not for long. Her return to the island rekindles a friendship she had long forgotten and gives the grown-up Halycon something worth fighting for.
The Tale of Halcyon Crane is a wonderfully gothic tale that is both captivating and haunting. The subtle way the Wendy Webb tells the story gives the book a deceptively gentle feel. There is plenty of ghostly goings on, strange voices, witches and disturbing dreams, but it never gets gory or over the top. The light touch Webb gives the story is one of the reasons it works so well.
Mrs Webb is a good storyteller with a real understanding of her chosen genre. This is the second of her book I have read and it has proven without a doubt that she is one to watch.