More Than You Know Author:Beth Gutcheon In a small town called Dundee on the coast of Maine, an old woman named Hannah Gray begins her story: "Somebody said ‘true love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about, and few have seen.’ I’ve seen both, and I don’t know how to tell you which is worse." — Hannah has decided, finally, to leave a record of the ... more »passionate and anguished long-ago summer in Dundee when she met Conary Crocker, the town bad boy and the love of her life. First love often brings astonishment, joy and frustration, but theirs is somehow also mixed with something frightening. Hannah discovers, as Conary and others in the town soon suspect, that there is a very unquiet and angry spirit inhabiting the house that Hannah’s stepmother has rented for the summer.
This spare, piercing and unforgettable novel bridges two centuries and two intense love stories as Hannah and Conary’s fate is interwoven with the tale of a marriage that took place in Dundee a hundred years earlier. Hannah says "I don't suppose you have to believe in ghosts to know that we are all haunted, all of us, by things we can see and feel and guess at, and many more things that we can’t." But she knows that ghosts are utterly real as well as metaphoric, and is haunted by the sense that if she could have learned who this ghost was, and what it wanted, it might have made a difference.
Ghosts haunt places where they have been deeply happy or intensely bitter in life. But this one’s places have been disturbed. The house where it is seen was no one’s home; it was first a schoolhouse, and originally stood not in Dundee but in an island village now abandoned and lost. What happened in that place, to a family trapped in a murderous pattern that seems to echo eerily through time, becomes the question that haunts Hannah and Conary and will keep you guessing until the last chilling page.More Than You Know is a haunting novel that bridges two centuries, two mother-daughter relationships, and two tragic love stories.
Hannah has a passionate and painful story of true love and loss: the story of a ghost that appeared in her life, and in the life of Conary Crocker, the wild and appealing boy who loved her.
Interwoven with their love story is a story of a marriage that took place in Dundee a hundred years earlier. As the parallels and differences between the two families are revealed, the reader comes to understand that someone in the nineteenth-century story has become the very unquiet soul haunting the twentieth. But not until the end do we learn (as Hannah never can) what force of mischance and personality has led to so much damage, and no one knows if such damage is ever at an end.
"Beth Gutcheon is one of the elect. One of those few novelists who write truthfully and movingly about everything life offers."--Susan Isaacs« less
This is a great story. It goes back and forth between two generations and tells a murder mystery, a ghost story, and a love story. It keeps your attention and ultimately connects all the stories together.
More Than You Know was the first novel I read in one workday since, I think, These Is My Words more than a year ago. Hannah's narrative voice kept my attention in half of the chapters, and the sense of tragedy surrounding Claris's life kept my attention the other half of the time. Since Gutcheon chose to tell the stories in alternating chapters, she left me hanging again and again. . . so I kept reading, again and again. Claris's half of the story reminded me of the novel Drowning Ruth, and it was, indeed, just as irredeemably tragic (though I never finished Schwarz's book). Claris's story also reminded me of Angela Carter's retelling of the Lizzie Borden legend in her book Saints and Strangers. Hannah's story, thankfully, was fresh enough to carry the book past any similarities to others that I did not care for as well. At the end, I especially liked the character of Reverend Davidson, who believed in ghosts. Highly recommended.
I definitely was not expecting the time changes with each chapter, but it was a good way to keep me turning the pages. It ended up being different than what I was expecting, but it was still overall a very good read.