Orange-prize-winning author Helen Dunmore's terrifyingly atmospheric ghost story
In the summer of 1954, young wife, Isabel Carey, arrives in a Yorkshire town with her husband Philip. As a GP he spends much of his time working, while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. It isn't easy. She feels out-of-place in the small town, and constantly judged by the people around her, so she spends much of her time alone.
One cold winter night, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm. Once wrapped in the coat she finds herself beset by dreams. And not long afterwards, a young air force pilot knocks at her window while her husband is out.
Her initial alarm fades as she becomes friendly with Alec, the airman. And soon they begin a delicious affair. But nothing could have prepared Isabel for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on her own marriage...
“the best kind of ghostly tale - one that has you pondering its implications - and checking the back of dark cupboards - long after the final page”
“Sweetly spooky and romantic tale”
“a sweetly spooky and romantic tale”
“A classic ghost story ... where the novel stands out is in its wonderful sketches of the utter creepiness of life in Carey's dark little flat ... a perfect ghost story, that will reward Hammer horror readers as well as open-minded Dunmore fans. This ghostly, literary war story could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”
Independent on Sunday
“A great read, peopled with likely characters and a satisfyingly spooky outcome.”
“Wrap yourself in a blanket, pour a glass of wine and lose yourself in this atmospheric ghost story ... full of twists, turns and jump-out-of-your-skin shocks, we'd advice you leave the lights on while reading.”
“Dunmore evokes the loneliness of the newlywed protagonist, to haunting effect.”
“In her Afterword, Dunmore says that her inspirations for this ghost story were The Turn of the Screw and Tom's Midnight Garden, stories which deal with the past's imprint upon the present. Her own story stands comparison with those illustrious models… A genuinely eerie story in which both the living and the dead are equally real.”
Independent on Sunday
“Helen Dunmore’s The Greatcoat is many things—most of which can be modified with beautiful. It’s beautifully written and paced. It’s beautifully haunting. It even seems beautifully effortless as if each perfect word simply floated down to the page (although anyone who writes knows that books rarely ever happen that way).”