Do you believe in ghosts? This is what you have to ask yourself while reading Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin.
Eleven-year old Marcus, having just lost his mother (and never having known his father), is drawn to the tragedy surrounding the abandoned cottage. The last family who had stayed there disappeared during Hurricane Hazel over 50 years ago and not a trace of them was ever found. Everyone assumed they were washed out to sea, and no one seems to be able to recall their names. His eccentric great Aunt Charlotte, who he has come to live with on a small island in South Carolina, doesn’t know much about them either. She spends most of her time in her studio painting and drinking wine, so she is not a great resource for local legend, even though her depictions of the cottage are her best sellers.
However, that summer, Marcus sets out to connect with people who may be able to shed some light on the family. But, the more Marcus finds out, the more he wants to know, especially about the boy. The reason the mother and father were out during the storm was because they were searching for their son, who they assumed had left the house. If only the three had stayed indoors, they most likely would have survived. After all, the cottage was still standing, although barely, all these years later.
Marcus makes it a point to solve the mystery and decides to visit the cottage every morning. One day, while he is sitting on the broken-down porch, he realizes someone from inside the house is watching him. Is it the boy? The first time he felt the presence, fear overrode his curiosity and before he could bring himself to turn around and look, he took off running. However, the next time it happened, he was determined to see for himself who was watching him, and when he did, he couldn’t run away fast enough.
So, do you believe in ghosts? And if so, are they friendly or sinister beings? This is something Marcus tries to figure out while unraveling the mystery of Grief Cottage.
Gail Godwin is the bestselling author of over a dozen books, and lives in Woodstock, New York, in the USA. Grief Cottage is her latest fictional novel and was released in 2017. To find out more about her and her other works, please visit http://www.gailgodwin.com.
Written for Felixstowe & Woodbridge magazine (UK) -April 2018