Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: The Storycatcher by Ann Hite

If it has anything to do with haints, I'm there! Ann Hite's The Storycatcher is the story two young women Shelly Parker(16) and Faith Dobbins(19). Although neither woman much cares for the other, they're common goal is to get rid of the spirit that is following them in hopes that they will reveal her story, her truth. Their ghost wants to help them ward off the evil that is sure to be on it's way to them.

The novel takes place is the Depression-era when beliefs in haints, hoodoo, the gift of sight, and the "touch" are relied upon to communicate with the dead. In this gothic world Hite has created there are spirits every place you turn. These souls stand between two worlds unable to move on until those stories being revealed set them free. The storycatcher is someone who's job is to set life stories straight. 

The Storycatcher immediately draws the readers in. Initially I planned to only read the first chapter, until the next day, but Ada Lee Tine and the richly drawn descriptions of the Georgia coast begged me to turn the page. Plus, anyone who can see and speak with the dead is worth giving a chance. Shelly is similar to Ada Lee in being "touched" and able to speak to the dead. Her parts in this novel describe vividly the beauty that is Black Mountain, North Carolina. Although it's not apparent from the beginning how these stories connect, Hite begins to lay down the strings to tie in their converging histories. 

Each chapter is narrated by a different voice. And amongst those voices a few are dead. I hope that's not a spoiler alert but c'mon! It's bound to happen. If our heroines can talk to them, why can't we? I am forever grateful to Hite for making the characters speak English well enough to understand. There is nothing more annoying than trudging through a book only half understanding what a person from the 30's is saying. I mention this only because the voices seem distinct enough to me that I could decipher who was speaking although some are less educated than others. 

The one thing that really confused me until I started paying closer attention are the timelines. At one point I thought that we were in the present (circa 1939) only to realize mid-chapter that I was reading something from 1859... argh!!! The transistions could have been smoother. That is my only gripe.

The Storycatcher by Ann Hite is definitely a must-read for those who enjoy gothic novels with a lot of paranormal elements and mystery. This is the first novel I've read by Hite and I'm looking forward to reading more. I genuinely loved living in this world of ghosts, storycatchers, body-snatchers, mediums, and hoodoo. Recommended!  ****

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