Review: Ghost Wall

by Sarah Moss (USA Edition by Farrar, Straus And Giroux, 2019)

Ghost Wall is a suspenseful, literary coming-of-age novel set in rural Northumberland, England. This riveting story tackles potent themes of feminine power, rage and resistance, toxic masculinity, and survival. Although set in the 21st century, contrasts between primitive ways and current lifestyles build tension throughout the narrative. The short prologue describes a brutal, ritual sacrifice that happened in ancient times. Then we shift to the present, as revealed by Sylvie, 16. Readers are held under a spell of lovely, often poetic language, guessing that something frightening is likely to happen.

We find Sylvie in close proximity with her controlling Dad, long-suffering Mum, and a team of young archaeology students. The privileged students (Peter, Dan, and Molly) and their university professor, Jim, are on a short course—led by Sylvie’s father— to practice traditional bushcraft. They adopt clothing and tools of the ancient Picts who thrived in the region before Romans invasion during the first century AD.

Silvie reluctantly follows her parents’ demands although she yearns for autonomy. Read full review and historical facts on BookBrowse.

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Karen Lewis