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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R. A. Dick

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1945)

by R. A. Dick

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I love this story - not sure why, Mrs. Muir is constantly being badgered about and managed. She escapes her husband's family only to run into a managing ghost...Captain Gregg is mostly very annoying, except when he's utterly wonderful. He screws up mightily a few times, and every time he apologizes and tries to make things better (though mostly he can't). Lucy Muir also screws up a few times, though usually more by omission than commission - letting others direct her actions rather than standing up for herself. I like Anna, and dislike Cyril, exactly as I'm supposed to. Anna's disgust at falling into such a conventional life is wonderful - it's one short scene, but I love it. And the end is not at all surprising, but it's lovely. I've seen the movie at least a couple times; I really can't remember whether I've read the book before. I certainly know the story, but whether I got it from the book or the movie I don't know. The foreword, in my edition, spends a good deal of time praising the movie's screenwriter, who modified the book to make a better movie without destroying its story (as all too many screenwriters have done to other books). I wonder if anyone's published the movie novelization; that would be interesting to compare to the original. But I guess I'll just have to watch the movie again, and compare it that way... ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Oct 23, 2018 |
In a land far, far away, there was once a young girl who saw a delightful movie with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney, that stole her heart and peeked her imagination and set some fairly unrealistic ideas of what love is or at least can be. While browsing library shelves this week, what should that young girl, turned older lady, come across but the book from which that lovely movie sprang. Couldn’t resist.

It is a lovely little book, more a novella than a novel. It was exactly the break I needed, having just read several mammoth and weighty books. It was serendipity and oddly enough, I could spot every point at which the movie differed from the book (and I last saw that movie over 35 years ago). At moments like these I wish I had the ability to stream movies so that I could run out somewhere and find this one. Still, the sweetness of the book, coupled with the memories that keep playing in my mind, are entirely sufficient to make this a very pleasant interlude. Off I go to the next book that must be read...but, I do thank the spirits of the library for plopping this one, unsought, into my hands.
( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Deep and thought provoking - right up my street ;) ( )
  ReneePaule | Jan 23, 2018 |
The story of young English widow Lucy Muir. Along with her two young children, Lucy moves into the isolated cliffside home of Gull Cottage. Eager to finally be free from her domineering in-laws, Lucy finds that she must deal with another strong personality, the long dead Captain Gregg, who owned the house and died there.
This is the book of the movie starring Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney and the book was re-issued by Vintage Movie Classics. The scare factor is almost non-existent, just a bit of apprehension about what Lucy will find when she first moves in, but this is a rather sweet ghost story. Well, if you put aside how Lucy behaves when she has a shot at romance. ( )
  mstrust | Sep 25, 2017 |
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.

Imediately, 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 thought, 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*. ( )
  Trisarey | Aug 7, 2017 |
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The basis for Joseph L. Mankiewicz's cinematic romance starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. Burdened by debt after her husband's death, Lucy Muir insists on moving into the very cheap Gull Cottage in the quaint seaside village of Whitecliff, despite multiple warnings that the house is haunted. Upon discovering the rumors to be true, the young widow ends up forming a special companionship with the ghost of handsome former sea captain Daniel Gregg. Through the struggles of supporting her children, seeking out romance from the wrong places, and working to publish the captain's story as a book, Blood and Swash, Lucy finds in her secret relationship with Captain Gregg a comfort and blossoming love she never could have predicted. Originally published in 1945, made into a movie in 1947, and later adapted into a television sitcom in 1968, this romantic tale explores how love can develop without boundaries, both in this life and beyond.… (more)

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