Funny, moving, romantic, and a little bit spooky - a brilliantly told story of love, family and the occasional ghost.
Christine Paice is a poet, and writer. She has published two collections of poetry: Mad Oaks and Staring At The Aral Sea. Her children's book, The Great Rock Whale, was published by Hachette Australia in 2009. Christine's work has been published four times in the Black Inc Best Australian Poems series and she won the prestigious Josephine Ulrick Award for poetry in 2009. In 2010 Christine became the University of Wollongong's inaugural Janet Cosh Poet, resulting in the work Collecting the Collector. Christine facilitates creative writing and poetry workshops, and also works as a creative writing mentor. She lives with her family in Willow Vale, New South Wales.
'Rebecca Abraham Budde, middle daughter of Reverend John and Ruth Budde, is horrified when it is announced that they are moving to Brightley, a small village in rural England. It is 1973 and she has just met the love of her life Dave, now she is being dragged away from him, she hates moving, she hates Brightley, she hates the new house, she hates the country. After trying to ring Dave several times and then a visit, only to find him not home, she finally meets up with Dave and discovers that he has met someone else.
On top of everything there appears to be a ghost living in her wardrobe, his name is Algernon Keats, second cousin to John Keats, the poet, he died at the age of 24 in the early 19th century and is something of a poet himself. This is Rebecca’s story of finding out who she really is and what she wants out of life. She meets a local artist, Alex March, an older man with a predatory nature, Algernon’s sister Augusta (another ghost) had a disastrous relationship with his ancestor, “Wild” George March, and her ghost is also lurking around Brightley hoping to find resolution.
Another local Flora Shillingham also is aware of the ghosts that haunt Brightley and recognises, in Rebecca, someone in touch with the spirits also. I am not sure whether Rebecca really had an experience with paranormal entities, ghosts, or if they were a way for her to cope with the changes in her life and the subsequent relationship she had with Alex March. Algernon seems to just fade away towards the end of the book when Rebecca appears to take control of her life, although Augusta seems to make her presence felt, but, could this have been Rebecca acting out, while believing that a ghost was the cause of the disruption.
An interesting story of Rebecca’s growth into a young woman who knows her mind. I disliked the character of Alex March, who came across as quite lecherous and would only recommend this book to older students, who would see his behaviour for what it was and no some romantic ideal.'
Jan O’Sullivan, Library Technician, Mooroolbark