Book Review: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick (aka Josephine Leslie)
Published: September 23, 2014 by Vintage
Other work(s): The Devil and Mrs. Devine, Light and Shade
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 192
Rating: 5/5, PG-13

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir follows the life and times of Mrs. Lucy Muir, a young widow and mother of two, in search of a life that is truly her own, away from the influence of her in-laws and others. Her search leads her to purchase the former house of Captain Daniel Gregg, who stills haunts its halls  (which Lucy is fully aware of when she decides to live there…interesting). Even with her new move, Lucy’s quest for independence (of thought and action) is not without challenge from former and new influences in her life.

Immediately, I felt that Lucy Muir was so much more than what most who knew and met her supposed she was–“poor little Mrs. Muir”, the demure, timid little creature that everyone must take care of and tell what to do, for her own good of course. (I got the impression that she’s just introverted, but is mistakened for being shy, which helped me connect to her that much more. She’ll politely listen to and consider your advice and enjoy your company for a while, but prefers to make her final decisions and spend most of her time alone.) I’m sure the woman they “knew” her to be would not have willingly moved into a house haunted by a salty old sea captain, speaking to him and seeking his advice regularly. (Neither would she have gotten involved with anyone like Miles.) And so she was, so much more. And I really loved the spice the captain brought out in her.

I loved both Mrs. Muir and the ghost of Captain Gregg, flaws and all. (I couldn’t help picturing them as Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.) Though, at one point, I got really angry and disappointed concerning her behavior with Miles (and how she took out her feelings on others). But I suppose that that was all part of the growing up she had to do. I laughed every time the captain intervened, and at the candid, though often rude remarks, he made about and toward different characters in the book. I truly appreciated the wisdom that Leslie (that’s Josephine Aimee Campbell Leslie who penned this book under the pseudonym R. A. Dick) poured through (Professor Higgins…, I mean,) the captain.

The ending was sad in some ways and happy in others–when you consider the whole of her life and her descendants–and yet always anticipated (at least, I expected it). Leslie’s prose seemed to appropriately depict an aging mind, which, I think, is very powerful in its impact on the reader.

A very interesting, very entertaining book. One of the best books I’ve read in a while. I laughed, I frowned,…I cried…, I mean, my tear ducts malfunctioned…*clears throat*.

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