The Storyteller’s Muse by Traci Harding
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I am having a bit of trouble sorting of what I think about this novel. Traci Harding has been on the top of my fave Aussie author since the late ‘90s when I first discovered The Ancient Future which I’ve re-read many times. Most of her works are serial (she’s written a handful of trilogies) and rather more New-Age feel to them (as opposed to ghostly / gothic). The haunting premise of this novel (plus the Gorgeous Cover) is really promising a good ghost story.
The novel began quite well with an interaction between the main character, Peter, nurse & aspiring writer, with Penelope, elderly & well-known author. This first encounter wasn’t well in itself but it established a rocky beginning of a student-teacher relationship. I love Penelope; her crabby attitude is a protective shell of a creative and nurturing mind. Of course, I also love (as a reader) her meddling in the young ‘un’s business. I, however, neither liked nor disliked Peter. He was a nice guy but I don’t feel for him, at all.
The ghost story or the mystery behind this ghost story started quite well and I was quite intrigued at the beginning. Unfortunately, I’ve guessed the secret too early on in the piece which disturb my enjoyment of the whole mysterious air. In a way, this has a slight gothic feel but it was very hard to me in imagining a dark gothic air in the Australian sunshine… This might make me sound strange but maybe I should have saved this reading for late nights only!
I did enjoy the references to books & writing though. This made me feel like I was invited into a writers’ lair and being let in into some secrets (not really!). There were some funny parts, romantic parts (quite a few awkwardness on Peter’s side), and a bit of tension. The Storyteller’s Muse was an easy and fairly enjoyable read. And if you don’t like ghost story, it’s not that scary at all…
Thanks to HarperCollins Publishers Australia for copy eARC via NetGalley in exchange of honest review