Although it was fiction (well I assume it was), there were some important life's lessons as central themes. One is don't put off telling loved ones "I love you". Another is understanding that romantic love has many shades and the shades you want most may change over time. To quote a Seattle author I know: "I love you the way I love chocolate and fireworks and sunny days and stories with happy endings. But I don't think it's an everyday kind of love. It's not a getting up every morning, where did I put my keys kind of love."
If I hade to rank Ghosts of the Heart and The Year of the Crow, Ghosts of the Heart would be first. But that may be simply because that story took place in England/Scotland where I have spent so much time on vacation and in school.
I don't even know where to start, I loved this book so much. Barbara Stoner's gift is in her characters. Sophie is any young woman who is reassessing life and choices after a major loss. What Sophie isn't, is a cookie cutter character. HOW Sophie does this, is spun into a very believable tale involving Ghosts(or spirits) while visiting all of the wonderful 'literary' places of Great Britain. The story is about love,family,relationships, and digging deep for the truth in where we fit. I said we, because that is where Ms.Stoner took me. It wasn't Sophie having these adventures, I was THERE. When an author can create a character and a story so well, she transports you to those places, enough so, that in one part of the book, I felt my heart rate increase and jumped! Even though I believe in reincarnation, have a love for literature, and have studied a bit about the 'magical' places in England, you don't have to have an interest in those things to enjoy the story. Sophie will become your girlfriend, and who of us hasn't had to choose between two boys? I have told Ms.Stoner and I firmly believe this would be an awesome movie. $4.99? Less than a Latte, and you'll miss these characters when you finish more than you'll ever miss that Latte!
The author summarizes:
Sophie Fletcher is taking her dream vacation in the Land of Story, as she and her late father had called the island of Britain. She doesn’t know why she’s suddenly able to see ghosts, but there they are: her mother, also dead these past two years, who wants help finding her husband’s spirit, and a 16th century soldier, who can’t resist following her. It seems Sophie is the spitting image of the woman he had loved and left, some 400 years before. How is she going to explain them to her two suitors, both very much alive? Doors that Sophie never knew existed are opening for her, doors that lead not only to the past but to possibilities she is only now beginning to comprehend. Ghosts of the Heart is a novel of hauntings, of myths old and new, of regrets past and present, and of love lost and found.
A very fun read, in which the heroine takes a vacation in a land she didn't think existed anymore, only to find out that in many ways it does. But to tell the truth, I'm not absolutely certain that she didn't step through a hidden looking glass at the customs gate, because she doesn't seem to meet that many "normal" people. She would have been startled enough to find herself in company with the ghost of a 16th century soldier, but the ghost of her mother, she thought, was carrying things a bit too far.
Travel along with Sophie as she searches for answers:
Prologue: Sophie doesn't know it yet, but Tower Bridge looms large in her own history - and in her future.
Chapter 2: Chaucer's pilgrims ended here. Sophie is just starting out.
Chapter 4: Chance encounters on new ground.
Chapter 5: All Sophie wanted was a little peace.
Chapter 6: Sometimes you can make the present disappear, if only for a moment.
Chapter 7: Sure, these walls can tell you a lot about fishing, but I wouldn't be surprised if they had other stories to tell.
Chapter 8: You can't see what Sophie sees in this picture, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.
Chapter 10: There are pictures you take with a camera and pictures you take with your eye. I have one of these; Sophie has another.
Chapter 12: There are places in the world where the dreams of our youth might come true. But what then?
Chapter 13: Sophie takes a day of rest and reflection. Sure she does.
Chapter 17: Will Sophie ever get the real story out of George?
Chapter 19: When you follow a spiral path, you can't always know where it leads.
Chapter 20: A spiral can lead out as well as in.
Chapter 23: Passage to Wales.
Chapter 23: If I ever have to haunt someplace, may it be Tintern.
Chapter 25: If only there were time to stop and stay a while.
Chapter 26: You could say it's Sophie's dream garden.
Chapter 29: Almost anything can happen in the Lake District.
Chapter 30: Hmmm. Sophie could probably use a little Mary Poppins right now - at least a spoonful of sugar!
Chapter 33: Now Sophie's road leads north.
Chapter 34: Sophie might find more than one answer in this old house.
Chapter 35: When you need to see clearly, there's nothing like the view from the Wall.
Chapter 38: There's something wild afoot on the moors tonight.
Chapter 41: What mystery does Silbury Hill hold for Sophie?