I have to thank one of my fellow teachers for passing this ARC on to me a month or so ago. The author is a friend of one of our art teachers, and I’m actually going to get to meet her when she comes to talk to the students at our school in December. When the art teacher first told me about the book, I went and looked it up on Goodreads, and was immediately intrigued. The story sounded really good. And I loved that part of it was going to be set in Missouri, even if it is on the other side of the state from where I live. I’ve really started enjoying historical fiction these days I guess. And while this is fantasy, it is definitely a bit of a scary story as well. And can I say that I could totally see this book as a really great TV series or movie?
The main character is, as you would guess, Jacob Tracy. The story takes place back in kind of the old west. After the Civil War really. Trace, as he goes by, can see ghosts and such things. He tries not to give into the things he sees though, especially not to tell those around him about his ability, because in the past when he’d done that, his family – parents and wife – had all died. He does kind of odd jobs around the town he lives in near St. Louis, Missouri, with his partner/best friend, Boz. Sometimes the jobs are clearing out trees for farms, other times it may be acting as guides for those traveling out West. The story really gets going when a strange woman offers him a job, going to pick up something that a dead friend of her’s left to her. But in the trip, it turns out that maybe her story isn’t quite true. And the place she sends him to is haunted, and he begins to see more ghosts. He finds out that she actually knows about his powers, and she wants to help him learn to use them, and in some way, then he’ll be able to help her with whatever it is that has been causing her illness.
Working for this woman, Miss Fairweather, will lead him into all kinds of sticky situations. Ghosts, strange bearlike creatures, demons, and even werewolves, will all be things he has to deal with. All the while he will fight her influence, try not to give into what she wants, while at the same time he will feel that she is helping him, and he is learning to control his powers the more he works with her. It won’t be just one bad guy he deals with, although there does seem to be one “boss” or “master” that is sending them all to find about him, and possibly get him to join and give over his powers. This master is also someone that Miss Fairweather had dealt with in the past, and she will do her best to help Trace as much as she can, even while still keeping her own secrets about what she actually needs.
Like I said, this is one that as I read it I could totally picture watching it. The characters were really well done. The historical time period was very detailed and seemed just like what you would imagine. One of the characters in the last section of the book, named Remy, was a Cajun man, and as I read his dialogue, I totally heard the accent and voice in my head. I look forward to reading more by this author, especially since I think this definitely left off for a sequel. There is more that I need to know!
Also, I love the publisher’s little symbol. I’m pretty sure it is a dachshund!