Published by Gallery Books on 10 September 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal
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Shelly Parker never much liked Faith Dobbins, the uppity way that girl bossed her around. But they had more in common than she knew. Shelly tried to ignore the haints that warned her Faith’s tyrannical father, Pastor Dobbins, was a devil in disguise. But when Faith started acting strange, Shelly couldn’t avoid the past—not anymore.
Critically acclaimed, award-winning author Ann Hite beckons readers back to the Depression-era South, from the saltwater marshes of Georgia’s coast to the whispering winds of North Carolina’s mystical Black Mountain, in a mesmerizing gothic tale about the dark family secrets that come back to haunt us.
“Her spirit will never rest ‘cause she’s a storycatcher”
“A what?” I snorted.
“That’s someone who untangles the wrongs plaguing others. Some people are born that way, some are only burdened after they die. You never want to be a storycatcher, Armetta. You spend your life giving things up for other people.”
Shelley Parker has a gift. She is able to see people after they crossover into the next life. She lives with her mother and brother on Black Mountain in North Carolina in the 1930’s and they work for the malevolent Rev. Dobbins and his family. Shelley has never liked Faith Dobbins, the Reverend’s daughter. But after a persistent spirit in a yellow dress asks Shelley to ‘finish her story’, she realizes she may have more in common with Faith then she realises.
The Storycatcher is a dark, brooding tale of the search for truth and justice in politically unjust times, and to uncover a family secret that links all the characters together.
Ann Hite writes simply, yet eloquently and creates a realistic voice for her characters. At first I found it quite difficult trying to keep up the all the different narrative voices. I found myself flicking back to the beginning trying to find out how they were all connected. But as I continued through the book I realised this was unnecessary; Hite explains all eventually.
The Storycatcher is a female dominated story. The women are strong, although it takes time for them to stand up to the Pastor. Most of the men (with the exception of Will) are mean and tyrannical, or play minor roles.
My biggest quarrel with the book is that too many characters had ‘special gifts’. And if everyone has one (sight, spells, clairvoyance, ability to predict the future) then the gift doesn’t seem so special anymore. There were also, in my opinion, way too many ghosts. There only needs to be one or two mysterious ones to have me hooked.
Hite, very successfully, creates a sense of time and place. The language and the descriptions transport you to the Depression-era South. Her story is very ‘visual’; you can picture the mysterious Black Mountain and the spooky cemetery.
The Storycatcher is a hauntingly beautiful tale and worth a read if you like a bit of the supernatural with your historical fiction.
– Definitely a story to catch