I’ve been meaning to read this novel by fellow Breakwater Books author Evans for some time now, and when we were both scheduled to read on the same stage at Word on the Street a few weeks ago, it seemed like a good time to pick it up. I wasn’t disappointed. Where Old Ghosts Meet tells the story of Nora Molloy, an Irishwoman living in Canada who, once both her parents have passed away, sets out to solve the mysteries surrounding her grandparents. She knows only that her grandfather, Matt Molloy, disappeared when his son was still a child, and Nora’s family grew up with no contact with the grandmother either. Curious about the untold stories, Nora sets out to follow her grandfather’s trail.
Not surprisingly, it turns out he ended up in Newfoundland, where author Evans lives today. By the time Nora gets there her grandfather has long passed away, but she meets people who knew him and whose lives were touched by him, for better or for worse. Peggy, the woman with whom he shared much of his life in Newfoundland, becomes a good friend to Nora, and the relationship that develops between the two is the core of the novel as Peggy unfolds her stories of Matt. In the end, Nora knows more about her grandfather, yet he still remains to a large extent a mystery, just as he was to the people who knew him in life. This is a quiet, thoughtful book, evocative of the times and places where the different parts of the story are set, and it creates a believable picture of the questions that can be answered and the ones that remain unanswered when anyone tries to unravel a family mystery.