A friend gave this to me for my birthday back in February, and it was on my to-read pile for ages thanks to the Notre Dame de Paris re-read and the other three paperbacks I'd bought the week before my birthday. But I finally picked it up this week, and I'm so happy I did!
I'm not a huge fantasy fan, but the ghost-story, fantasy in this book reminded me in a vague way of the Betty Ren Wright books I read as a young teen, where the real story is the main character's life changes, and the ghosts are part of it. The story was woven very well, and took place on an old Alabama estate, which made this Southern transplant very happy. Cousin Paula--by the way--reminded me of both my mom (whose name is Paula) and her friend Miss Paula (or Big Mama)--not because they share the cousin's somewhat busybody attitude--but because at least Big Mama has the Higher the Hair the Closer to God down pat.
There's a lot to love about this book. Sylvie, the MC, is a ballerina who can't dance. She broke her leg at her debut as the youngest soloist at Lincoln Center. My friend gave me the book for this reason. One of my MCs is a gymnast who has a similar accident. Sylvie's voice is spot on, and you really feel her pain. As much as I subscribe to the "don't cure the disability" school, I wanted her to be able to dance again as much as she did!
The love interest is a Welshman, which sold me on him, and incredibly debonair and intelligent. All the characters are smart, and unabashedly so, which I loved. I've read reviews that want the first fifty pages or so consolidated, but I disagree. I love the careful way everything is developed, and how Sylvie gradually comes to terms with the changes in her life.
A must read if any of its many intriguing elements interests you!