The Storycatcher by Ann Hite

BNCImageAPII received an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“Her words turned my heart to ice and something broke inside me. Something cold and hard. I yanked my arm back, turned, and walked out the door into the night. It was like my life was being told in a different way, a way not intended”

That’s the thought that runs through Ada Lee’s mind, when she heard the news of the death of her friend, Roger. This story plays off in the Depression era, post slavery, yet the way colored people were treated remains the same. Roger was wrongfully killed, because he spoke to the girlfriend of a white man. The story are being told from the perspective of various women, some dead and some alive. There is Shelly, a young colored girl and her mother, Amanda who works for Pastor Dobbins on Black Mountain. Pastor Dobbins is an evil man, that she learns not only from her own feelings that there is something wrong about him, but also from a ghost called Armetta Lolly. You see, Shelly got what they call “sight”. She can see ghosts, and according to her mother, they won’t go away unless she helps them. Armetta Lolly wants her to help her expose the truth, but Shelly is reluctant to help.

Faith Dobbins, is the bane of Shelly’s existence. She is Pastor Dobbins’ daughter and she is very attached to Shelley’s mother as she was with her brother (who is gone, he left Black Mountain for reasons unknown to her and her mother). She feels that not only is Faith “uppity”, but she is also feeling like Faith is trying to steal her mother’s love. Not only does she wait on Faith, but she also has to visit Ms Maude along with Faith. Ms Maude is the woman who teaches Faith and Shelly to garden and where Shelly gets her books from. That is one thing I love about Shelly, she is smart and despite her circumstances, she wants to learn by way of reading. Faith has her own ghost that wants help from her, a young woman called Arleen Brown who died during childbirth and the child who is believed to be Pastor Dobbins’.  She also wants her truth to be told, and that is what she needs Faith’s help with. The difference is, she takes over Faith’s body…

This story also plays off between the 1800’s and the 1930’s. You know how Faith and Shelly are connected, but where does Ada Lee fit in? Ada works for Mrs Dobbins’ brother, where the latter, Faith and Shelly goes to stay when they eventually run away from Pastor Dobbins. The man is evil, but his actions and the truth about him will be releaved, and this will be at the hands of women both dead and alive. What did the Pastor do? What is it that these ghosts need Shelly and Faith’s help with? For that answer, you will have to read the book.

I must say that his novel was a refreshing read, after having felt that the entire August I’ve been reading books that haven’t pleased me. The book was well written and the descriptions of Black Mountain was atmospheric. I also enjoyed the mystery feel of this novel – and that is the feeling that stayed throughout the novel. Even though there are ghostly elements, it’s not scary at all. I thought it would be, because I’m not generally a fan of ghostly/paranormal elements, but the ghosts (called “haints”) were surprisingly very “human” to me. They were given a personality and there were as much character development to their roles in the novel, that I ended up liking them as much as I did Shelly. As for the ending of the story, I expected a little bit more of a shocking revelation, but overall I enjoyed reading this novel!

Favourite quote:

 “My books nourish my soul. When I open a cover and begin to read, I go to new places, to worlds I never knew existed. I time travel into the past and up into the distant future”

PS: This book will be released on 10th September, if you are interested in getting your own copy!

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