Frederick Watson lost his beloved elder brother George in the Great War and is consumed with guilt, loss, confusion, and isolation. While on a prescribed driving trip through the Pyrenees, he is beset with an awareness of voices and shadows deep on an isolated stretch of road where he is briefly knocked unconscious in an auto accident. He finds his way to a tiny village and is promised aid the following day. That night, the entire village will be at an annual gathering at the village hall. He first declines to join them, but later decides to find his way to the hall alone. While not seeing his hostess from the inn, Freddy encounters the pretty Fabrissa and they strike up a conversation. As the evening progresses, they become closer and when a group of soldiers crash through the door, she shows him a hidden escape route through a tunnel. They end up hiding together and spend the night exchanging their stories of loss and grief. But Freddy begins to realize Fabrissa’s tale is an older one than his and that time and space have shifted around them. Then he awakes and finds himself in his bed at the inn.
His attempts to find Fabrissa and the conclusion to her story lead him back to the mountainside and a shattering discovery. But his actions on her behalf, to “bring them home,” mirror what he needs to do for himself and his brother’s spirit as well. In The Winter Ghosts, Mosse creates a story vaguely spooky and other-worldly but with deeper emotions subtly stirring beneath.
I listened to this on audio and felt as if I were listening to a radio play despite there being only one narrator. The flow of the words and the nature of the story were evocative of old-fashioned tales around the fire. I strongly recommend listening to this – it’s only 5 discs.