The Warm Hands of Ghosts

Del Rey: Ballantine. Feb. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780593128251. $28.99. FANTASY
Laura nursed soldiers during the Great War until an injury sent her home to Halifax, where the war followed her in a harbor explosion that killed her parents. Her brother Freddie is all she has left, so when Laura receives suspicious news of his death, she returns to the front line to find the truth. Freddie dug his way out of a shelled bunker alongside a German soldier. Unwilling to return to being enemies, they flee the trenches and encounter a fiddler who offers a magical escape from the war, for a price. Arden’s World War I setting is visceral, with real-world horrors that make warm-handed ghosts and seductive devils comforting in comparison. The touch of fantasy enhances the uncanny, shifting realities of a world in turmoil as Laura’s search for her brother brings her closer to the fiddler and a choice between man-made despair and supernatural oblivion. The wartime bonds Laura and Freddie forge ground the story and leave readers hoping for them to find an escape that doesn’t cost their souls.
VERDICT Like the fiddler himself, Arden’s (The Winter of the Witch) gripping historical fantasy will draw readers in and keep them engaged.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing