My Review of “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” by R.A. Dick (Hardcover edition)

`I existed in a world that never is – the prison of the mind.’ – Gene Tierney

My spirits were totally taken aloft by this unforgettable story. Not being the kind of person exposed to great literature very often, my first experience was through the film. To my delight, both novel and film, though different, succeed marvelously in their own right and leave a deep impression on the heart.

`Little Lucy Muir,’ as she was known, no longer able to tolerate confinement in a world inhabited by stuffy prigs and overbearing in-laws, decides to plot a new course and go live in a cottage by the seashore. After the death of Edwin Muir frees her from the bonds of holy matrimony, she takes the children along with her to become masters of their own destiny.

Lucy becomes enchanted with Gull Cottage and the surrounding terrain; so beautifully described by R.A. Dick, and decides to make it a permanent refuge. The cottage is haunted, however, by the ghost of the previous owner, Captain Gregg. Gregg takes a liking to Lucy because she has spunk and really loves the cottage.

Her relationship with the ghost of Captain Gregg turns out to be most symbiotic: Gregg serves as Lucy’s mental guide to a world of adventure on the high seas, while Lucy is the physical means by which Gregg is able to preserve the earthly abode he loves so much.

The distinction between reality and imagination is often blurred as Gregg intercedes on Lucy’s behalf in order to make her happy; although he is capable of misguiding her, but not for long. Unlike a message in a bottle, Lucy is determined not “to be carried by the winds and tides,” but assert her independence and captain her own life.

Lucy’s spirit does become carried away as it were, not by the elements, but by another kind of transformation that comes only once in a lifetime.