“Builds pace and complexity as it hurtles toward its end . . . The real restless spirit here is that of a wounded, mournful Britain, its scars red raw and its dead still stalking the living.” Arifa Akbar, The Independent
Best-selling novelist and poet Helen Dunmore’s historical novels have earned her comparisons in the press to Tolstoy and Emily Brontë. In her newest book, Dunmore
mines the past to chilling effect in an evocative and sophisticated ghost story about a love affair between a neglected wife and a mysterious soldier.
It is the winter of 1952 when Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her new husband, Philip, a medical doctor. While Philip spends long hours working away from home, Isabel finds herself lonely and vulnerable as she adjusts to the realities of being a housewife in the country.
One evening while Philip is on call, Isabel is woken by intense cold. When she hunts for extra blankets, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under the coat for warmth, she starts to dream and is soon startled by a knock at her window. Outside is a young RAF pilot wearing a familiar RAF coat. His name is Alec and his powerful presence disturbs and excites her as they begin an intense affair. Nothing, though, has prepared Isabel for the truth about Alec’s life, nor the impact it will have on her own.
A spectral tale of love and war that blurs the line between the real and imaginary, The Greatcoat
is an “atmospheric and accomplished” (Woman & Home
) literary chiller about quiet temptations and the lasting trauma of battle.