10. A book written in Europe: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick
List Progress: 1/30
I am such a sucker for stories about ghosts that I wrote my own novel about them. Ghosts can mean so many different things to different artists, but almost always with a sense of melancholy and loss threaded through them. But for the titular protagonist of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, a 1945 novel by R.A. Dick (a pen name for Irish author Josephine Leslie), finds liberation and joy in her haunting. Up until she became a young widow, Mrs. Muir lived by everyone else’s expectations and demands, from her indifferent husband to her controlling in-laws. But when she and her children move into a remote seaside cottage, the ghost of a grizzled sea captain becomes a dear friend to her and helps give her the self-confidence to live her life on her own terms. It is a deeply charming way to view a supernatural relationship, and I certainly came to care about both of them.
Captain Gregg died and has been haunting his cottage for years, but Lucy Muir is the first resident who is willing to stay more than a single night upon hearing the voice of the dead. Something about speaking to a dead man, who has no social expectations of her or due to him, allows Lucy to be as bold and stubborn as she wants to be. They butt heads at the beginning, arguing over the decor of the cottage and how she is sharing his story, but they develop a deep respect and affection for one another. And he inspires her to demand that same respect from others in her life, even if some of them will never capitulate.
It is all very sweet, if not perfect. The Captain’s personality occasionally overwrites hers, like when he demands she transcribe and publish his memoirs. But despite the ups and downs, they spend many, many years together, growing and changing together, and it is just lovely to see. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir isn’t earth-shattering, but it is quietly lovely and has some great ideas about ghosts and the afterlife. If you are looking for a supernatural, but not spooky, time, it is a charming tale to read.
Would I Recommend It: Yes.