An isolated island, an enormous drafty house, a dark and secret past: these are the makings of a perfect Victorian-esque ghost story. They also comprise the setting for The Tale of Halcyon Crane, coming at the end of March from Wendy Webb.
The Tale of Halcyon Crane is the sort of book you reach for when you want to settle down with a cup of tea and be transported. Raised by her father and believing her mother to be long dead, Hallie James has accepted that her past went up in smoke when her family’s home caught fire early in her childhood. Then she receives a letter from a woman–deceased since writing to Hallie–who claims to be Hallie’s mother. Recently orphaned by the death of her father, Hallie crosses the continent to follow the trail of clues to uncover her true past.
Hallie stays first in a quaint bed and breakfast, then moves into her mother’s house, and befriends the young, handsome lawyer who handled her mother’s affairs. As she hunts for the history she knows is connected to the magnificent, isolated house, Hallie begins to understand who she is and how she fits into her family.
Wendy Webb throws the reader right into Hallie’s saga so that every person, place, and story comes alive. After reading for a while and closing the book, it always took me a moment to blink at my couch and my living room and realign myself with my own ordinary world. Pick this debut novel up when you have a long evening ahead of you and curl into Hallie’s tale.