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Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: THE GHOSTS OF MARAVAL by Siobhan Fraser

A captivating novel of love and loss set in South West France

An exciting debut novel by an internationally collected artist who divides her time between Oxfordshire and France

A great summer read that weaves together personal tragedy with love, humour and mystery

Jack loses his arm in a motorbike accident. Not just his arm. He loses everything: his flat, his place in the rugby team and his fiancĂ©e. With nothing to lose, he impulsively purchases a derelict, desolate farmhouse in the south west of France: Maraval. It is a secret place – no phone signal, water or electricity and even missed by Google Earth. High in the hills, the woods are full of spirits past, watching out for the future of the house.

But it is the spirits of the woods that seemingly take over Jack’s life in Maraval, summoning people to the farmhouse: Fiery Mercedes and her mute daughter Hrotrud, Yvette who runs the local restaurant and her nephew Xavier, wheelchair bound after a bike accident, and his boyfriend, Bertrand, who was left a paraplegic by the same accident. Each has their own story, a need to be achieved. Come the last day in July, an attempt to bring running water to Maraval causes an ancient cistern to be awoken, bringing magical water to the area for the first time and bringing unforeseen consequences to all . . .

Review: THE GHOSTS OF MARAVAL by Siobhan Fraser

Poetic and lyrically lovely, THE GHOSTS OF MARAVAL is simultaneously the story of a property through time, from its commencement steeped in bloody suffering, and of a young man, disfigured, suffering, for a time waiting on death's threshold as he nearly died from a secondary infection. 

The property is Maraval, in the massif of Southwest France, where poverty, plague, and war blighted during the Middle Ages. Rampant with spirits, beautiful in its scenic intensity, Maraval calls its siren song across the English Channel to Jack. Badly injured in a motorbike spill, Jack had lost his arm, his supple physiognomy, his shallow fiancee, and his home. A recurring virulent infection nearly also cost him his life, and an additional three months in hospital. But a chance encounter with a brochure illustrating Maraval welcomed Jack "home," so that his new life could begin.

Penned by an artist with a keen eye for the poetry of scenery and life, THE GHOSTS OF MARAVAL is a reader's delight.

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