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How Much It May Storm: A Chilling Historical Ghost Story by [A.N. Willis]
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How Much It May Storm: A Chilling Historical Ghost Story Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 65 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Praise from Advance Readers:

"I cannot even explain how much I loved this story! What an absolutely amazing mix of coming of age, paranormal, and mystery!...There is a wonderful paranormal element in this story, but it's not just a ghost story, it has so many other elements. There's some romance, some mystery, and some unfortunate misunderstandings. It all mixed together to create an amazing plot, and I couldn't put it down! I highly recommend this one!" BreeAnn, blogger at She Just Loves Books

"This excellent book is a gem of a mystery with historical and paranormal elements. Willis wrote with a light touch that allowed tragedy to unfold without melodrama. It's an account of loss, violence, and unknown evil, yet it's essentially a sweet story of true love." Catriona, Goodreads

"A snowstorm across two wartime periods with a dash of the paranormal and a big helping of family drama thrown in for good measure. All the ingredients for an intriguing grabber!" Dianna, Goodreads

"If you are looking for a really great book, you must read this one. I could not put it down." Barbara, Goodreads

"A great gothic, creepy idea that combines ghost story and thriller." Celelia, Goodreads

"I love a historical novel that tells an unknown aspect of well-known period...We get ghostly sightings, two spirited female characters, and a lot of adventure. (Plus, the book has a 1918 flu connection, which dovetails with our time.) Loved the dramatic (and emotional) ending!" Carolyn, Goodreads

"This story is for you if you love:
- well crafted settings that make you feel like you're there 
- complex characters 
- Supernatural elements intermingled with historical events and messy, complicated family sagas
- nail-biting suspense
- and ghostly, hair raising chills that make you sleep with one eye open." Montrez, Goodreads

From the Author

Excerpt from How Much It May Storm:

Chapter 1

For as long as I can remember, people have said that our town is dying. But today is the first time that I've really felt it. Today, my brother is leaving. He's boarding a train that will take him away to some faraway place--whether a battlefield in Europe or an island in the Pacific, he can't yet tell me--and I might never see him again.

"Hurry up," my mother says. She drags her fingers through my short hair as we walk. "You have gravel behind your ears. You didn't even stop to wash?"

"Nate doesn't care." My breath comes out in white wispy clouds. Makes me crave a cigarette.

"He cares if his sister looks decent. You're nearly grown, too old for this tomboy foolishness."

The train whistles. It's pulling in. She grabs my wrist and makes me run. We're a sight, the two of us; Mother running in her nicest pumps and me shlepping along, holding up Nate's old trousers so they don't fall off my hips. It's my fault we're late. I was cleaning out the shed, like Mother had asked me and Nate to do a million times, but I picked today. As if mind-numbing chores would somehow slow this moment from coming.

On the platform, Papa is talking to Nate. My brother bends over Papa's chair to listen. Nate's dark green uniform is handsomely pressed, and his hat is set at a jaunty angle. I want to run over to him, grab that hat, muss his hair. Used to be, he'd have a laugh. Now that he's an army Joe, I'm not certain. He's off to do more important things.

He used to promise he would never leave me behind.

Nate comes over and hugs me tightly. "You'll be OK," he says into my ear. Even though he's the one we're all worried about.

"Sure I will. I've got your record collection to play with."

He groans. "Go easy, will you? I don't want to come home to a bunch of scratched up--"

Mother interrupts us, and Nate lets me go.

I'm not the only girl in town to watch a brother take that train to war. Nate is the last one left: the very last male in Powder Ridge who could be drafted. But to me, Nate's not some number on a card. He's the only part of my life that's not bleak. Without my brother, who's going to talk me through the endless days up at Cherry Mountain? Or the monotonous nights at home? I can't do it without him, I just can't.

I reach out to tug on his coat, but the fabric slips from my fingers.

A porter steps off the train to help Nate carry his bag. It's happening too fast. The past two weeks that Nate's been home, I've been pretending this day wouldn't come. Suddenly I want to hug him again, tell him I love him. Tell him to be careful. There's so much I didn't say--didn't know how to say. And now there's not enough time.

"Nate," I call out, "wait, please--"

The whistle shrieks. He leaps up and waves at us from the stairway, grinning like this is the best day of his life. The train begins to pull away. Mother is bawling, and that's the only thing that keeps my tears inside.

We stand there in the cold until the last car is gone, until even the white puffs of steam from the engine have disappeared. My heart has a scratch down the middle of it and it's skipping, skipping, skipping.


A week later, the first real storm hits. It's a rager. Snow flying sideways at the windows, wind screaming in the eaves. I'm up half the night from the noise. In the morning, Jim Gainsbury stops by to shovel us out. I could've done it myself, but I'd hurt Jim's feelings if I said no.

I trudge my way up to the mine in my snowshoes. There's not a single footprint ahead of me on the mile-long path. Everything is quiet, like the snow is a thick goosedown blanket and the world hasn't quite realized it's morning yet. Flocked evergreens line the path on one side. On the other is a steep drop-off. Every once in a while, a mound of snow slips from a branch and thumps onto my hat. I swear, it's like the trees are aiming.

Finally, the path curves around and the view opens up into a panoramic vista. Craggy mountain peaks reach up into the clouds. The old mining encampment lies before me. The sun is shining in from behind, casting the whole expanse in shadow: ramshackle buildings, rusted mining carts, and a scattered field of debris. The gigantic piles of waste rock are iced with white.

Nate and I have eked out a living up here for years, ever since Papa's accident. We scavenge ore for the mining company so they can squeeze every last drop of money out of the mine they abandoned.

I pass through the cluster of buildings that used to be the main drag. Farther on about a quarter mile, there's a bunkhouse that once housed three hundred men a night. Now it's boarded up and its red paint is peeling. I walk toward it on my way to the waste rock piles beyond.

Something moves in one of the few remaining windows--third floor, last one on the left. I stop and stare. There shouldn't be anybody in that boardinghouse, especially not up there. I must've imagined it.

But as I watch, two handprints appear on the glass. Like whoever's in there is looking back out. At me.

My skin burns with heat. The feeling of violation is like a punch in the center of my chest. Somebody's up there messing with our stuff. Nate's and mine.

I pull the scarf back up over my face and hurry toward the boardinghouse.

The building has been rotting a little more each year. Last winter, a glancing blow from an avalanche collapsed one side. Now, the only safe way to get inside is to climb--which you would've thought was enough to keep nosy parkers away.

I unstrap the webs from my shoes, and they drop heavily into the snow. I reach for a vertical slat of wood at the corner of the building, pulling myself up. Splinters scratch at my gloves. Ice crystals prick at the inside of my nose.

I reach the third floor and carefully edge my way over to the window. The two handprints are still there on the glass. As I watch, they fade away like fog on a mirror. I peer in.

The wooden crate where Nate and I store our things--it's pulled out into the open. Somebody's taken off the lid.

Since we were little, Nate and I have been keeping some of our possessions in that third floor room. Just stuff that matters to us. Books, comics, souvenirs that we didn't want Mother to find and throw out. We certainly never thought some low-life would be prowling around up there, trying to filch our childhood memories.

It's probably McGrady. My brother's only been gone a week, and already McGrady has been complaining that the mine's no place for a seventeen-year-old girl on her own. It ain't my job to look after you. That old scumbag thinks he can force me out. But I can hold my own.

I push up the window and ask, "Hello? McGrady?"

Nobody answers. Then I remember--there weren't any footprints in the snow. Even Terrance Jameson isn't up at the mine yet, and he's usually the first one. My brother likes to say, "You never look before you leap, Dinah." Guess I still haven't learned.

I squeeze inside and land gently on the floor.

The room seems empty. Whoever was up here is gone.

This used to be a common room of some kind. A couch tilts toward a hole in the center of the floor, where rotting planks have given way. In a nearby corner, an abandoned bookcase lies on its side. The room smells like an old icebox. Stale and cold. A tattered curtain flutters. The door to the hallway is closed. Ages ago, Nate locked it, but who knows if the lock still works.

I crouch and pull the crate toward me. Our copy of The Time Machine rests on the top. I glance quickly through the rest, but there doesn't seem to be anything missing.

The light shifts, and I look up, my rapid breathing the only sound.

"Hello?" I ask again. Not a peep.

My nerves are starting to hum. I don't like this. Not one bit.

Product details

  • Publisher : Observatory Books (October 15, 2020)
  • Publication date : October 15, 2020
  • Language : English
  • File size : 1773 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 339 pages
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 65 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
65 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL book with a great story and an exciting plot!
By She Just Loves Books on October 17, 2020
I cannot even explain how much I loved this story! What an absolutely amazing mix of coming of age, paranormal, and mystery!

This dual-timeline story takes the reader between 1918 and 1943 to unravel the deep-rooted secrets of a family and their nurse. In 1918, Millie arrives in a small town in Colorado, recently hired to provide nursing assistance to two Gainsbury family members with the Spanish Flu. Millie finds a spark of romance in the family’s son, Edward, who just returned from the war. Millie has a secret though, that she protects to keep others safe, and Edward may be getting close to understanding what it is.

In 1943, Dinah has recently said goodbye to her brother as he heads off to war, and she’s finding herself alone and sad. In her loneliness, she visits their favorite hiding spot but experiences some upsetting occurrences…sounds and handprints on the glass that she cannot explain. And then a man dressed in a WWI uniform. She begins to think she is being haunted, and her story becomes intertwined with Millie’s as Dinah searches for the truth about the man in uniform, and what happened to Millie.

This was such a good book. Sometimes in dual-timelines, I find myself connecting to one time period more than the other, but in this book, I was fascinated by both stories. The events that happen are exciting, creepy, and absolutely wonderful.

The characters all have these secrets that open up to reveal more secrets, and it just created this amazing, unique plot, that I adored. I loved reading about Millie and her ability, but I also loved reading about Dinah discovering Millie’s story, and trying to right some wrongs.

There is a wonderful paranormal element in this story, but it’s not just a ghost story, it has so many other elements. There’s some romance, some mystery, and some unfortunate misunderstandings. It all mixed together to create an amazing plot, and I couldn’t put it down! I highly recommend this one!

To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend How Much It May Storm to readers that enjoy coming-of-age stories with real-life situations.

I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.
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