■ REVIEW: Word Ghost
Teen angst meets mild Gothic horror

Rebecca Budde is nearly 16, the middle of three daughters belonging to a C of E vicar, John, and his wife, Ruth.

Rebecca’s life is turned upside down when her father transfers parishes to a small, hidden away country village. She takes it the hardest, having to leave her home town, her friends and, more importantly, her first boyfriend.

Her new home, though, has some surprises, not the least being that some of the village’s previous inhabitants still seem to be around. Teenage “angst”, love, relationships and poetry of the 19th-century romantic period are all themes that run through this story of a girl who finds friendship with a ghost. It is also a slight but nice walk down memory lane with the long hair, the flares and references to current events of early 70s Britain. It has an intriguing appeal and is reminiscent of a mild gothic horror.

The novel is probably best for a mature readership, not because of the ghosts but for the adult content.

Word Ghost, by Christine Paice (Allen & Unwin, RRP $37)

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