The Greatcoat, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


In the winter of 1952, Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her husband Philip, a GP.

With Philip spending long hours on call, Isabel finds herself isolated and lonely as she strives to adjust to the realities of married life. Woken by intense cold one night, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard.

Sleeping under it for warmth, she starts to dream. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled by a knock at her window. Outside is a young RAF pilot, waiting to come in. His name is Alec, and his powerful presence both disturbs and excites her. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin an intense affair.

But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on hers ...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Horror & ghost stories
  • ISBN: 9780099564942

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The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore is a 'ghost story' set in the 1950s English countryside. It's told by Is, newly married to a young GP who finds an old RAF uniform greatcoat hidden away in a cupboard at the flat they are renting from the reclusive and enigmatic landlady, Mrs Atkinson. The coat transmits some kind of other-world energy to Is, who begins a love affair with its former owner. This short book has all the trademark Dunmore touches - slightly disconnected female protagonist, off-kilter relationships and a progressive disintegration of normality. In a way, her natural style lends itself to the creation of an atmosphere conducive to developing a ghost story. For me though, The Greatcoat just wasn't frightening enough (not that all ghost stories have to be frightening, although I think that's a must), and if it hadn't been billed as such, I wouldn't automatically of categorised it as one. The writing's up to Dunmore's usual high standard,and I didn't dislike the book, but I can't rave about its ghost story credentials. © Koplowitz 2013

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