Minnesota Book Award Winner
Midwest Connections Pick
A young woman travels alone to a remote island to uncover a past she never knew was hers in this thrilling modern ghost story.
When a mysterious letter lands in Hallie James's mailbox, her life is upended. Hallie was raised by her loving father, having been told her mother died in a fire decades earlier. But the letter tells Hallie that her mother Madlyn had been alive all of these years and died, very recently. Why would Hallie's father have taken her away from Madlyn? What really happened to her family thirty years ago?
In search of answers, Hallie travels to the place where her mother lived, a remote island in the middle of the Great Lakes. The stiff islanders fix her first with icy stares and then unabashed amazement as they recognize why she looks so familiar, and Hallie quickly realizes her family's dark secrets are enmeshed in the history of this strange place.
But not everyone greets her with such a chilly reception—a coffee-shop owner and the family's lawyer both warm to Hallie, and the possibility of romance blooms. And then there's the grand Victorian house bequeathed to her—maybe it's the eerie atmosphere or maybe it's the prim, elderly maid who used to work for her mother, but Hallie just can't shake the feeling that strange things are starting to happen . . .
In The Tale of Halcyon Crane, Wendy Webb has created a haunting story full of delicious thrills, vibrant characters, and family secrets.
"The Tale of Halcyon Crane throbs with the threat of menace; this is an atmospheric, gothic story reminiscent of Turn of the Screw and had me racing to the finish late into the night to find out what happens next. Read this book."
"This thrilling, modern ghost story will keep you reading straight through to the surprising end!"
—Midwest Booksellers Association
"I love a good, spooky ghost story that carries you deep into the darkest night and raises goose bumps and neck hair. First-time novelist Wendy Webb's book, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, does all those things with the seamless intricacy of a clockmaker and the silky smoothness of a baby's cheek. Webb hits every note just right. It's hard to read a story like this and not compare the author to Stephen King, so I'm not going to do much of that, other than to say Webb carries a lot of the same power in her words."
—BlogCritic; Seattle Post Intelligencer
"Although not usually a fan of ghost stories, I immensely enjoyed The Tale of Halcyon Crane. With intriguing characters, a vivid setting and gripping storytelling, this novel contains the ideal blend of sinister and charm."
—CityView, Iowa's Independent Weekly
"This is what reading is supposed to be like: A story that comes across so well, so seamlessly that it is like a brain movie, that reminds you of the first books that kidnapped your attention. Webb has crazy chops as a storyteller, and plays this one exactly right. And there are scenes that are so, so, visual that it is like someone is reading the book to you while you lay there with your eyes closed. This is one of my favorites this year."
"Wendy Webb immediately captured my attention with her amazingly descriptive language. I could envision exactly what Hallie was seeing, experiencing, and even feeling. The description of the fog and the affect it had on Hallie was simply chilling and set the tone for the whole story to come."
"Wendy Webb has created a wonderful gothic mystery in this novel, full of secrets and betrayals. It's definitely creepy—this is not a book I would want to read late at night, during a thunderstorm. I found it to be deliciously haunting with incredible atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of reading this book, of watching this meticulously crafted tale unfold. I had to battle dueling impulses while reading—part of me wanted to rush through it, to get to the end, while the other wanted to savor ever carefully drawn word. This is a book that you'll really want to experience. I'm very sad that it's over, and that Webb doesn't have an extensive gothic mystery backlist I can immediately devour. All I can say is I'll be watching Wendy Webb's future career with a lot of interest."
—S. Krishna's Books
Henry Holt, Paperback, March 2010, ISBN: 978-0805091403