Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Time of the Ghost - Diana Wynne Jones

September was certainly DWJ month - and although much of my reading is going to be Tolkien-related during October, today I have picked up a couple more Diana Wynne Jones books from the library. Now, however, I want to mention The Time of the Ghost, which I read a few days ago, but haven't Blogged yet. The synopsis reads:

The ghost turns up one summer day, alone in a world she once knew, among people who were once her family. She knows she is one of four sisters, but which one ? She can be sure of only one thing - that there's been an accident. As she struggles to find her identity, she becomes aware of a malevolent force stirring around her. Something terrible is about to happen. One of the sisters will die - unless the ghost can use the future to reshape the past. But how can she warn them, when they don't even know she exists ?

The identity of the ghost is a mystery throughout much of the book. She believes she is Selina (who is usually called Sally), but later on she thinks she is Imogen; somehow she is certain she is neither Fenella or Charlotte, whom everyone calls Cart. The story opens with Sally away from home, without the knowledge of her parents who run a boarding school for boys and thoroughly neglect their four daughters. Sally's absence is part of the Plan created by the four sisters. They want to see how long it takes their parents to notice Sally's absence. Their father has a habit of addressing any one of his daughters by all of their names in turn before he gets the correct name.

The sinister background to this story is created by the fact that Cart invented the Worship of Monigan, a rag doll that belongs to one of them. However, none of the girls realises that Monigan is an ancient power and when one of the girls and Julian Addiman, one of the older boys from the school who likes the Satanic, offer themselves to Monigan, she agrees to take their lives, but not immediately. The ghost time travels out of her still living but badly injured body seven years into the past in an attempt to prevent the future events which lead to her serious injury, from happening.

I found this book quite gripping, although I hated not knowing until almost the end of the book just whose ghost it was that was wandering in the past - but that not knowing was part of what made it hard to put aside. And it was interesting to find out just what the accident was that had caused the ghost to wander, and how the four girls and their friends dealt with Monigan. Given the fact that I'm not a big fan of supernatural books, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Time of the Ghost; definitely another one for my Amazon wish list !


Kelly said...

Hi Michele,

I somehow missed Diana Wynne Jones in my life's reading, but all this talk lately tells me I need to read her stuff. What do recommend most of all?

Michele said...

Hi Kelly

Don't feel too badly - if it hadn't been for the loan, earlier this year, of Fire and Hemlock by Jameela Lares of Child_Lit., I probably still wouldn't have got around to reading anything by DWJ either...

I'd recommend starting with the aforementioned F&H; I also read and enjoyed Power of Three, The Time of the Ghost and the book I plan to Blog tomorrow, A Tale of Time City. These are all stand-alone books: I've yet to get involved in a series by DWJ, although the 'Dalemark Quartet' looks interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle,
I loved this book.Is there a sequel?

Michele said...

There is no sequel to The Time of the Ghost, I'm afraid... DWJ tends not to write sequels, except for the Chrestomanci series.