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Book review: 'The Mist in the Mirror' by Susan Hill

A haunting British ghost story, “The Mist in the Mirror” falters in the end.
Oklahoman Published: March 30, 2014
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“The Mist in the Mirror” by Susan Hill (Vintage Original, 224 pages, in stores)

Susan Hill’s “The Mist in the Mirror” is a haunting, classically-inspired ghost story.

Sir James Monmouth is an Englishman who has traveled the globe, following the footsteps of his hero, the great traveler Conrad Vane. After twenty years of traveling, he returns to England for the first time since childhood, with the goal of writing a biography of Vane. But every time he attempts to find information on Vane, he is warned off.

Monmouth left London when he was five years old and orphaned, and lived with a guardian in India, Africa, and China. He knows nothing about his parents, or about England, but nevertheless, he feels he has come home. He is determined to belong in England and to complete his goal of writing Vane’s biography.

Monmouth feels a presence following him at night and sees the apparition of a boy, wretched and crying, looking at him with blame. He tries to shake off these feelings, but they keep coming back. He has visions where he parts a curtain made of beads and sees an old Gypsy woman. It’s terrifying, and he realizes it’s probably a memory.

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