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The Ghosts of Whidbey Island


Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest is inhabited by Native Americans when Isaac Ebey arrives in 1850 to become the first permanent settler. Although ambition and a sense of adventure motivated him to leave Missouri on the Oregon Trail, he is a farmer at heart and a lawyer by trade looking for a new, healthy home for his family. Sensitive and honest, he appreciates the Skagit people on the island who will become his neighbors.

Snetlum, a leader of the oldest village on the island’s Penn Cove, battles two fears: raids from northern tribes who steal women and children, and the encroachment of white settlers. When he meets Isaac Ebey, he believes that trustworthy settlers may be able to help protect his village from northern attackers.

Life on the island seems harmonious until Ebey must balance his time between his farm, the demands of a new territory, his wife’s failing health, the aggressive actions of the first governor of Washington Territory and threats from northern Indians. This historical novel is presented within a ghostly wrapper. After all, it is history that creates ghosts.


"I have written so often without being favored with a single line from those who are dearer to me than life itself. I am almost persuaded to believe I am forgotten or only remembered as one who once was, a ghost perhaps.” –Isaac Ebey, Feb. 1849

The early morning is cloudy with some gentle showers of rain until the mighty sun breaks through, shining in a bright sky; and along with it comes Isaac Ebey. He arrives home having caught a ride on a brig from Olympia to Penn’s Cove, the last part of a long, cold, wet trip after a three-month absence. When Ebey wraps his arms around Rebecca, and she says “my dear husband” three times into in his chest, he feels in his gut how much he has been missed. When he pulls back to look at her and sees how pregnant she is, the length of his absence is also clear.

“I have been praying for you, for us, nearly constantly,” he says. “I have a gift for you.”

“Nothing will seem like much of a gift now that we have the gift of you,” she says.


What an enticing book! I’d always thought that I ought to have been born 100 years ago but after reading this, I’ve changed my mind. The story is compelling on many levels, a guaranteed escape from today’s world. As always, Shea has researched history as none other. The story is beautifully told, her best work ever.  –Ann Burgess, Phoenix, AZ

With historical research and imaginative storytelling, Victoria Ventris Shea has crafted a captivating immersion into the rich history and folklore of the Pacific Northwest. Shea expertly blends historical events with ghostly elements, creating a haunting, poignant narrative with confidence and smoothness. The characters, particularly Isaac Ebey and Snetlum, are intricately drawn; their struggles and relationships are characterized well with meaningful dialogue that gives a sense of period and attitude. The vivid descriptions of Whidbey Island are also gorgeously penned with evocative imagery, transporting readers to the rugged landscapes and turbulent times of the mid-19th century. As the narrative unfolds at a steady and entertaining pace, the intertwining of historical events and supernatural occurrences creates a sense of unease and mystery, keeping readers engaged until the very end. Overall, The Ghosts of Whidbey Island is a compelling blend of history, folklore and human drama, and I would not hesitate to recommend it. 5 Star. Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite