THE TALE OF HALCYON CRANE by Wendy Webb [Review]
As a native Michigander, I have many memories of summertime visits to Mackinac Island, the popular tourist spot in Lake Huron known for its fudge shops and its ban on motorized vehicles. So it was with great pleasure that I discovered The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb was set on Grand Manitou Island, a fictionalized version of Mackinac Island. Only it’s not the sunny vacation spot I’ve experienced, as this modern ghost story takes place in blustery November, after all the tourists have departed, giving the empty island an ominous feel.
The story is about Hallie James, a young woman who one day receives a letter in the mail informing her of her mother’s recent death. The only problem is that Hallie, who had been raised by her father, thought her mother had died thirty years ago. To uncover her family’s buried secrets, she travels to Grand Manitou Island where she meets with her mother’s lawyer, Will, and encounters a quirky group of year round residents. If an island where horse drawn carriages are the standard mode of transportation wasn’t strange enough, unexplainable things start to happen to Hallie after she moves into her mother’s picturesque Victorian home on the bluffs that overlook the lake.
The Tale of Halcyon Crane is a wonderfully eerie ghost story that kept me reading long into the night. I felt like I was living vicariously through Hallie as she inherited her mother’s stately home and experienced life on the remote island. The spooky atmosphere created by the island setting is really the highlight of the book. As for the mystery aspect, well, there’s nothing terribly surprising there and I figured out where it was headed early on. But the atmospheric setting and likeable characters make it a story worth reading.
P.S. According to her website, author Wendy Webb will be on Mackinac Island signing copies of The Tale of Halcyon Crane on June 26, 2010.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Holt Paperbacks | Pages: 352 | Source: Library | Buy on Amazon