Middling Book Thoughts: The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin

This is the first time I have penned a middling Book Thoughts post.  However, The Ghost of the Mary CelesteI believe needs one.  I am reading this New York Times bestseller on my Kindle and I am 66% through the book.

The first portion thrilled me!  I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the imagery comparing the seas choppy waves being ‘kneaded like bread dough’.  Being an avid baker, I appreciated this particular comparison.  I also loved the poetic lilting prose of the opening tragic incident.

However, once in the second third of the book I became confused.  Where was the plot going?  Why did we start with a tragedy at sea then go to the loved ones left behind only to begin reading/seeing through the eyes of an as yet undiscovered writer — Arthur Conan Doyle (he had not written his famous series of books yet)?

Then, after we leave his point of view, then we jump back to one of the loved ones left behind but in much later years and there’s subterfuge!  After a few chapters deep in the middle of the book the plot that was begun at the beginning (as it should!) has made a peek outwards.  From approximately 55% into the book to this point (66%), the plot has been moving inexorably forward slowly.  I can see each plot point falling into place in a leisurely pace.  The Ghost of the Mary Celeste is most definitely high commercial fiction with literary leanings!

The characters are well rounded and depicted both in character and emotional arc with care.  The character of Violet Petra is wonderful!  She’s a minx, an overgrown child and an wise woman mature beyond her years all wrapped up in one small package of a woman-girl.  She also happens to be a clairvoyant.

If you love ghost stories, the high seas full of peril and storms, the dramatic backdrop of Olde World writing with modern twists I think you will enjoy this high art story with paranormal sweeps.

I can’t give it a rating as I have not yet finished the book but stay tuned!

Ta-ta for now,


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