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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  • This looks great, something that I’d really like. I’ll keep an eye out for it!

    • It’s a nice story, I hope you will enjoy it. Just don’t expect anything “big” at the end 🙂

  • Hite’s novel Ghost on Black Mountain was one of my favorites of 2011. I’m looking forward to reading this one, too!

    • I haven’t read that one, but it does sounds interesting (I went to check out the goodreads desc). I hope you do read this one, Diana and I also hope you enjoy it as much as you did her other novel! 🙂

  • What a great quote!!!

  • Oh, that book quote is GREAT 🙂 This sounds like a really good read Melinda. I’m glad you liked it. It’s so nice to read something you love after a string of so-so books 🙂

    • It was really nice to read after the Aug I had. I think the book gods took pity on me 🙂

      I love that quote, that’s how I feel about certain books.

  • I am glad you finally had a book you enjoyed again!

    Kind regards,

  • This sounds right up my alley. Thanks for such a great review—I’m looking forward to picking this up when it’s released.

    • I’m glad it sounds interesting to you. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Isi

    Sounds great, Mel, and I’m really glad you enjoyed it more than the other readings of August!
    I love stories that go from the present (present in the story) to the past, and the connections that surprise you during the book, so I’ll look for it!

    • I also enjoyed stories that spans across time. I like when there is a mystery element! I am also glad I got to end my Aug with a better read, phew! 🙂

  • The opening quote already had me intrigued, this will have to go on my mile long “to-read” list that I already have.

    • Yeah 🙁 I hope you enjoy the read!

  • Wow- those are two very powerful quotes! Looks like a good read-thanks!

    • It was a good read 🙂
      Agreed – powerful quotes!

  • Thanks Melinda! I’m so glad you loved my book. That means a lot.

    • It was a lovely read, Ann. I hope to read more of your books in future. Thanks very much for leaving me a comment (and reading my review); it’s appreciated!

  • Love that quote! Love your review! I think I’m going to love reading this book. 🙂

    • Thanks Sherrey! Hope you enjoy the read.

  • Glad you finally enjoyed a book again after the struggle with a few last month!

  • Oh, yes….we do have haints here in the South. That’s why porch ceilings in the South are painted Haint Blue….haints are too afeared to cross water, so the blue ceilings confuse them and they won’t enter your home. 😀

    • You are so right Ricki.

    • Hi Ricki, thanks for that piece of information! I really didn’t know that. It’s quite funny too!

  • I’m going to an event for this author today so I’m excited to see the book is so good. I’ll buy a copy today.

    • Enjoy the event, and the book 🙂

  • Hey I have enjoyed your blog and have nominated you for liebster award http://talkabtbooks.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/liebster-awards-nominations-friday-finds/.. Hope you find it encouraging as I did.

    • Thanks Sangita! I will check out your post 🙂

  • Ali

    This sounds really interesting Mel. I see its available in the Kindle store too, so I might buy it.

    Ali

  • I’m definitely interested! 🙂 Love your review honey. It’s good to know that despite the paranormal elements the books still reads mostly like a historical novel and that the atmosphere is tightly knit – I do like the sound of this one. I shall make a note of the title and author for my wish list. Thanks!

    • Thanks! I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t a scary book, I normally put down a book when I see the word “paranormal” in the blurb. The book was an easy, nice and quick read… I hope you enjoy it too.

      • I’m sure I will. 🙂 Isn’t it great when you a take a chance on a title, step out of comfort zone and find something wonderful? Love it when that happens.

        • Yes, love it too (when that happens)

  • What a seriously exceptional quote.

  • Beautiful! Now this is my type of book. I will definitely put this on my TBR list 🙂 Thank you for this lovely review 🙂

    • Thanks Celeste. I hope you enjoy the read.