While in England, quite predictably, we spent a lot of time in book stores. JL bought way more than I did, but I managed to find an exceptional book that I want to share with all of you on this excerpt Wednesday (which starting next week will be moving to Fridays–just to keep everyone on their toes). Anyway, without further ado, I give you The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore:
Back cover copy:
The Greatcoat is a ghost story set during and after the Second World War, about the power of the past to imprint itself on the present, and possess it. In 1952, newly-married Isabel Carey and her husband Philip come to live in a small town close to a wartime bomber station. Their flat is dark, poky and cold; their landlady paces the floor overhead. One night, when Philip is out on call, Isabel finds an RAF officer’s greatcoat in a cupboard, and spreads it on the bed to keep her warm. In the middle of her dreams, she hears a knocking on the window …
A short excerpt:
“She could still hear the tapping sound that had woken her. It must be her dream still turning, like a record after the needle had been lifted off. Tap, tap, tap. Soft, insistent, determined. It was a real sound. It was coming from the living room. It sounded like someone tapping on glass—on a window.
Relief flooded her. Philip must have gone out without his key and he was tapping on the front window to attract her attention. He didn’t want to arouse the landlady by ringing the bell at this hour.
Isabel snatched up the greatcoat and dragged it around her. Thank heavens Phil was back. She’d make some tea and he’d tell her about his case and everything would be fine. She ran over the cold linoleum, into the living room and across to the window, without switching on the light. She pulled back the curtains.
There was a man outside the window. She saw the pallor of his face first, as it seemed to bob against the glass, too high up to belong to a man who had his feet on the ground. The streetlamp lit him from the side, throwing the sharp shadow of his cap over his face. He was too close, inside the railings that separated the house from the pavement.
A man in a greatcoat. An RAF greatcoat, exactly like the one draped over her shoulders: she couldn’t mistake it.”
It’s a quick read by a fabulous new-to-me author. Highly Recommended!
Have you read Helen Dunmore before? What are some of your favorite ghostly books?