England, 1921. Three years after her husband, Alex, disappeared, shot down over Germany, Jo Manders still mourns his loss. Working as a paid companion to Alex's wealthy, condescending aunt, Dottie Forsyth, Jo travels to the family’s estate in the Sussex countryside. But there is much she never knew about her husband’s origins…and the revelation of a mysterious death in the Forsyths’ past is just the beginning…
All is not well at Wych Elm House. Dottie's husband is distant, and her son was grievously injured in the war.
Footsteps follow Jo down empty halls, and items in her bedroom are eerily rearranged. The locals say the family is cursed, and that a ghost in the woods has never rested. And when Jo discovers her husband’s darkest secrets, she wonders if she ever really knew him.
Isolated in a place of deception and grief, she must find the truth or lose herself forever.
Four stars: An engaging historical read with a murder mystery and a touch of paranormal.
Jo packs her trunk for the last time, headed back to England after a summer tour of Europe as a paid companion for her husband's aunt. Jo is uneasy about heading back to England, as she has too many painful memories of London. It has been three years since her husband, Alex, disappeared over the German countryside in his plane. There was no further trace of him. With the war now over, Jo is trying to put the pieces back, so she took the job working for Alex's no nonsense aunt, Dottie. Once Jo arrives at Wych Elm House, she feels unsettled, something isn't quite right. When she starts seeing things, she begins to question her sanity, as madness does run in her family. Is Jo seeing a ghost or is she going crazy?
What I Liked:
- Lost Among the Living was a wonderful read. It is a historical novel with a murder mystery and a touch of paranormal. I enjoyed the mystery, the suspense and the characters. It was an interesting read that kept me glued to the pages right up to the dramatic finale.
- I loved Jo Manders. She is the heartbeat of the book. Jo is a widow in her early twenties, floundering to find her way. Since her husband is missing, she isn't able to receive widow benefits, thus she must continue to work and scrabble to support herself and her mother who suffers from madness. Jo has always had a hard life, but she has never stopped fighting. She works hard, and she never complains. She is courageous, brave and resourceful. I loved her. I also appreciated her intelligence, sharp wit and her compassion. Jo is fantastic.
- The cast of secondary characters is eclectic and interesting. I found I was drawn to Dottie. Dottie is a practical, no nonsense woman, who tells it like it is and she shows little compassion. Even though she comes across as cold and haughty, I knew deep down she had a heart. The other character I found intriguing was Martin, Dottie's son. He is ailing from a war wound and battling a morphine addiction. Even though he is near death, he has a sense of humor and he is compassionate. I was thrilled to see his progress. Alex, Jo's deceased husband, is also present through flashbacks and memories. He is smart, kind and swoon-worthy. I loved this cast of characters.
- There is a touch of paranormal that I liked as well. Once Jo arrives at Wych Elm House she begins to see a ghost. There are several paranormal events and unsettling encounters. I liked the ghostly mystery.
- Along with the mystery of the ghost, there is also a murder mystery. I liked unraveling the clues along with Jo to find the killer. I loved the suspense and the shocking conclusion.
- This was a riveting read. I found it hard to put down. There is suspense, mystery, ghosts, romance and shocking twists and turns leading up to a stunning conclusion.
- There is romance in this one, and I am not going to go into to many details. I will say that it is a swoon worthy romance, and I loved it.
- The ending is a bit abrupt, but for the most part, all the loose ends are tied up, and the questions are almost all answered. A nice stand alone.
And The Not So Much:
- I think what held this one back a tiny bit was that I never felt like I had a full understanding of the paranormal part. I wished that understood France's demons and ghosts betters. What was the deal with the face in the window? I felt like this aspect of the story was left undone.
- The ending was a bit too abrupt. I was pleased that the main story threads were tied off, but I would wanted a bit more. I wished that there was further details on Jo and her future.
- Dottie's marriage with her husband Robert is a unhappy and full of contention. I wanted a better understanding of their relationship. Were they are always so miserable? Did they ever love each other?
Lost Among the Living is a historical novel that blends a murder mystery with a touch of paranormal. If you want a book with interesting characters, ghosts, suspense and a bit of romance, this is one to pick up. I enjoyed this tale, and I am eager to read more from this author.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
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