Book Review: The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin piqued my interest because it combined a ghost story along with the perils of the sea in the late 1800’s.  And, of course, took a real life nautical mystery and gave it — more mystery!

As other reviewers have pointed it, this book has numerous points of view which can make it a difficult read for some.  Here are a few of the narrators: a survivor who is close to the family, Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, the author), an interested outsider who also happens to be a female journalist in a time when working women was an oxymoron, etc.  In all, there are five different narrators and initially it is not clear how they all relate, or even if they relate.

Just past the middle of the book, the reader gets a glimmer of how all of the narratives converge and move forward to the story of the Mary Celeste, the actual historical ship that was found derelict but in perfect sailing shape.  There was not a soul on the ship when it was found.  And, no sign of mutinous struggle.

The characters lives and the depiction of their activities and thoughts fro this timem period (the late 1800’s) is fascinating.  It is a fly-on-the wall view of the life of early Americans.  Mores and societal norms were, of course, very different from today but the emotional arcs were more pronounced.

As the reader follows the lives of the five narrators and comes to the mystery of the Mary Celeste the intense curiosity the reader has is not quite quenched.  At the end, when you feel as if the mystery should have been wrapped up in a bow — it is not.

After reading the conclusion, which gives only a vague possibility of what could have transpired.  I had to go research the key element the author put forth as to how the crew disappeared with no trace.

I must admit the author’s train of thought is interesting.  I will not spoil the surprise ending for you but I will leave you this link that you can follow AFTER you read the book and are curious like I was.  I found the second heading to be most thought provoking.

If you’d like to share your thoughts about this book I would love to hear them!  Looking forward to discussing this book.

4 Blogairy Notebooks



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