My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Freddie Watson, haunted by the death of his brother, is travelling through the south of France in the winter of 1928, when he crashes his car in the Pyrenees during a snowstorm. Alone and freezing, Freddie wanders through the mountain forest until he arrives in Nulle, a quiet village grieving its own losses.
During his stay in Nulle, Freddie meets a young woman by the name of Fabrissa, the two sharing their respective stories of loss over the course of an evening. The following morning Freddie finds he has taken ill and is tended to by the gentle Madame Galy whilst he recovers. Unable to erase Fabrissa from his mind, he is bewildered when no one in the tiny village knows who she is or where she might be found. Adamant that her existence (and their subsequent acquaintance) is not the product of his fevered mind, Freddie takes it upon himself to search for the elusive Fabrissa, drawing him deep into the mountains and the heartbreaking history of the Cathars.
The Winter Ghosts is a reworking of Mosse's earlier novella, The Cave, and fits between her full length novels, Labyrinth and Sepulchre. Mosse's passion for her subject matter is evident, expertly connecting the histories of the Great War and the Cathars, and brilliantly describing Freddie and Fabrissa's pain of losing their loved ones so tragically.
The novel as a whole is deep, dark and brooding, emanating a distinct gothic feel that at times reminded me of works by Edgar Allen Poe and the Bronte sisters.