Title: The Tale of Halcyon Crane: A Novel
Author: Wendy Webb
Release Date: March 30, 2010
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Hallie James’ mother died in a fire when she was just five years old and she was raised by her father, who now has Alzheimer’s. However, when she receives a letter in the mail from her mother, everything she thought she knew about her childhood vanishes, leaving a gaping hole in its place. What’s more, her mother has recently passed away. Hallie travels to Grand Manitou, an island in Lake Michigan where her mother lived, to understand why her father lied to her and to uncover the secrets of her past.
I am a huge fan of ghost stories and mysteries, so when I first heard about The Tale of Halcyon Crane, I immediately knew I wanted to read it. Wendy Webb has created a wonderful gothic mystery in this novel, full of secrets and betrayals. It’s definitely creepy – this is not a book I would want to read late at night, during a thunderstorm. I found it to be deliciously haunting with incredible atmosphere.
Hallie was a solid main character that I really appreciated. Her life was completely turned upside down by the news of her mother, and while she was definitely emotional, she also wanted to get to the bottom of the mystery. She had a strong, self-sustaining personality and was a lot of fun to get to know. Admittedly, her romance in the book came on a bit suddenly, but it was sweet to watch her open up to someone else.
The mystery in The Tale of Halcyon Crane is intriguing and really will pique the reader’s interest. It’s not so much about what happened, or the solution – by the time the book reaches that point, the reader (as well as Hallie) has already realized what was going on. It’s more about the development of the story and the frightening occurrences that surround it. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of reading this book, of watching this meticulously crafted tale unfold. I had to battle dueling impulses while reading – part of me wanted to rush through it, to get to the end, while the other wanted to savor ever carefully drawn word. This is a book that you’ll really want to experience.
The Tale of Halcyon Crane was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I’m very sad that it’s over, and that Webb doesn’t have an extensive gothic mystery backlist I can immediately devour. All I can say is I’ll be watching Wendy Webb’s future career with a lot of interest.