A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
I went flying through High Thwaite, hurtling through Low Thwaite and the same landscape spread out still before me—endlessly deserted, not a light in any cottage, not a dog barking, not a cry of a bird. It was just after what appeared to be the loneliest part of the road that I took a corner rather faster than I should and saw the woman standing in her garden waving at me with a slow decorous arm.
Our narrator is the wife of a Captain in the British army. She chooses to remain in an isolated northern town rather than follow along when her husband’s regiment is called to Hong Kong. Settling into a curious but beautiful house, she enjoys the quaint company of the farmers and the desolate landscape.
Then she spots a peculiar woman calmly waving to her speeding car at one in the morning. She’s unnerved and convinces herself she’s taking part in some rural ghost story, even trying to enlist the gossipy neighbors who surprisingly want no part in gothic tales. The truth she eventually uncovers is both a ghost story and at the same time way too close to her own reality for comfort.
This brilliant little tale is the first I’ve read of Jane Gardam and not likely to be the last.
Review by Matthew