#BookReview THE LOST ONES by ANITA FRANK

ABOUT THE BOOK

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917
 
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.


Praise for The Lost Ones

‘Haunting, emotional and exquisitely written’  Amanda Jennings

‘For fans of Henry James and Susan Hill, this chilling supernatural mystery is written in the classic mould.  Intriguing, moving and assured’  Essie Fox

‘I loved it SO MUCH – so creepy and compelling, full of atmosphere and gave me goosebumps…’   Lisa Hall

‘My coffee is stone cold. My palms are sweaty. I’ve raced to the shocking final twist of this lush, beautifully written historical novel. A gripping ghost story with an achingly poignant family mystery at its heart’ Samantha King 

published by HQ

PURCHASE LINKS

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition

Amazon

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

If you are a fan of creepy houses and ghost stories then look no further! I have found this book to be a real rollercoaster of a read, chilling and compelling, and it’s left me listening out for noises when I’m in the house alone….. and thankfully I’ve not found any toy soldiers placed strategically in my room! Yet!!

This is the story of two sisters, and Greyswick, a large country house where Stella goes to stay with her sister Madeleine , and her husband Hector, as they are both dealing with different emotional moments in their lives. Stella has just lost her fiancee in the war and the grief for her is unbearable. She sees no point in living, and if it wasn’t for her maid Annie, then she wouldn’t still be here. Her family seem to be of the ‘snap out of it’ opinion and think it’s best for her to visit her sister who is currently pregnant and seemingly having a few issues of her own!

Their time at Greyswick is immediately plagued by ghostly goings on! Baby cries, toy soldiers appearing in rooms, and while many in the house seem to willingly ignore what is going on, Stella and her sister are never allowed to settle and start to poke around in the history of the family and house, and enter those rooms supposedly out of bounds! What follows is a pulsating story that quickly unravels into something much darker and deeper.

What captured me was the attitude of the menfolk putting it all down to hormones! Those hysterical women imagining things because they had emotional issues!! Quite shocking to us now! I do love a good ghost story and this one fits brilliantly into the genre! Using the emotions of the sisters, the history of the family and their secrets and the setting of the house to perfection!

★★★★

#BookReview THE BROKEN GIRLS by SIMONE ST JAMES #TheBrokenGirls

1950 – At the crumbling Idlewild Hall school for unwanted girls, four room-mates begin to bond over dark secrets and whispered fears – until one of them mysteriously disappears . . .

2014 – Journalist Fiona Sheridan can’t get over the murder of her sister twenty years ago, near the ruins of Idlewild. And when another body is found during renovations of the school, she begins to uncover horrors that were meant to remain hidden – and a voice that won’t be silenced.

For fans of Lisa Jewell and S.K. Tremayne, The Broken Girls is a chilling story of murder, revenge, and secrets that refuse to stay buried . . . 

published by  Wildfire

MY REVIEW

Knew very little about this book when I started it but it was the pick for the online book club I’m part of, and it was an inspired choice as I devoured it!! Full of mystery, murders and creepy goings on at an old school – it had the perfect mix of intrigue for me, alongside great storytelling and a mix of really fascinating characters, especially looking back at the 1950 timeline.

The story starts in 2014 with Fiona, a journalist, who is still haunted by the loss of her sister 20 years earlier. There’s a man in prison for the murder of Debbie, but there are still too many unanswered questions in Fiona’s head and her journalist brain won’t switch off until she feels settled with what went on that night. Her sister was found murdered on the playing fields of Idlewild Hall, an empty and long abandoned girls’ school, so when she hears that it has a new owner who plans to reopen the school she’s intent on finding out who the new owners are and what their plans are.

In the 1950 timeline we get to visit with girls who are at the school. And what a fascinating and creepy school it is! This is a darker version of Mallory Towers! The pupils all seemingly have their issues and have been sent there by their parents who have almost given up on them. So to the girls, they become family to one another. They all have differing pasts and quite traumatic too so you can’t help but feel sorry for these girls as they each reveal their story and their issues with the ghosts of Idlewild Hall. And the main ghost of Idlewild is Mary Hand – messages have been left in textbooks by girls over the years of their encounters with this scary girl and I really loved this aspect of the story – quite chilling! When one of the girls goes missing in 1950 her friends are quite shocked that very little effort is put into finding her and the effect that had on the remaining friends was quite profound.

The more that Fiona delves into the past of the school, and the link to her sisters’ murder, the more darkness is revealed and there’s also the intrigue behind the new owners and their links to the school. There are so many layers in this story that I always found something new to wonder over and try to figure out the significance and the sense of mystery and darkness kept me on tenterhooks throughout! Loved it!! Highly recommended!!

★★★★★

#BookReview Mr Godley’s Phantom by Mal Peet #ripxiv

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s 1945 and Martin Heath, like many men at that time, is struggling to settle, to find his place again after the horrors of war. Then an old comrade sends him a letter and tells him of a position that’s just come up in the remote wilds of Dartmoor – working for an elderly fellow called Mr Godley. “Are you a good driver, Mr Heath?” It’s a simple question and a simple task and the doorway to a dark mystery that may just turn out to be the escape he was hoping for – but at what cost?

published by David Fickling Books

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

The cover of this book caught my eye in the library, and I found it to be a little gem of a book! Really subtle, atmospheric and easy to read so praise be for covers luring me in to discover new favourites!

Set in 1945, Martin Heath is back from the war and is a broken man considering all he has seen and been through. In the days before counselling and times of ‘stiff upper lip’ you just had to get on with life. An old comrade tells Martin of a job that might suit him so he heads off to Devon where he’ll work for Mr Godley – a man who lives in a quiet spot and has very little human contact, and initally scares Martin with his appearance and behaviour.

Martin is in awe of Mr Godley’s car – a much loved Phantom that is his pride and joy and the pair of them take drives together which allows them time to chat and get to know more about one another – their pasts are never too far away from their thoughts.

The dark undertones are clear throughout in this book – there’s always something feeling not quite right about certain situations, and the flashbacks Martin suffers also add to the unsettling feeling. I loved how the author left certain things down to your interpretation, and with the ghostly character being introduced the story then takes on a whole new feel and the police investigation becomes the main feature.

A very clever and unsettling story which was beautifully staged and stays with you!

★★★★

#BookReview #Audiobook Childish Spirits by Rob Keeley

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Ellie and her family move into Inchwood Manor, Ellie quickly discovers strange things are happening. Who is the mysterious boy at the window? What secrets lie within the abandoned nursery? Who is the woman who haunts Ellie’s dreams – and why has she returned to the Manor, after more than a century? Ellie finds herself entangled in a Victorian mystery of ghosts and tunnels and secret documents – and discovers that life all those years ago isn’t so different from the world she knows today…Rob Keeley’s first novel for children brings out all the ingredients of the classic ghost story within a recognisable modern world setting. 

Readers of his short story collections for children will find in Childish Spirits the elements which made his past books such a success – strong and contemporary characters, inventive twists on traditional themes, and a winning combination of action, suspense and humour.

published by Troubador Publishing

PURCHASE LINK – audio version

Amazon UK

THE AUTHOR

Author Website

Twitter – @RobKeeleyAuthor

MY REVIEW

Having come to this series late – I started with book 3 The Sword of the Spirit – I’ve been thrilled to be able to listen to the audio version of Book 1 to see where it all began and I loved how brilliant it was to hear it all brought to life, and loved the drama, mystery and humour throughout!

Ellie is the star of this series, and we find her moving to Inchwood Manor, along with her mum and older brother, as a new chapter of their life begins and her mum starts a new job helping prepare the old house to be opened to the public. Ellie is quite excited by the mve, the same can’t be said for her brother Charlie!

It doesn’t take Ellie long to notice a young boy watching her, and she’s braver than I would be when she starts exploring the Manor late at night when she starts hearing noises, and comes face to face with a prank pulling young boy called Edward! What follows then is her learning about the history of the house and finding out about the family who lived there, and why Edward seems to be trapped and so scared of his governess who still haunts the rooms too.

Ellie has this boundless enthusiasm that is infectious! She’s willing to throw herself into solving the mysteries of the Manor as well as helping Edward and it’s also a great way to learn about the differences between growing up now, and how Edward grew up in the Victorian years. There are some scary moments alongside quite emotional times when Edward is remembering his family and this was all brilliantly portrayed in the audio version too! It’s a great mix for readers (and listeners!) of all ages!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing how this fabulous series started – I love the mix of history to be learnt and mysteries to be solved, and my thanks go to the author and publisher for letting me have a copy of the audiobook in return for a fair and honest review.

★★★★★

#BookReview Haverscroft by S.A.Harris #bookblogger #Haverscroft

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘An atmospherically creepy ghost story that keeps you guessing till the end! Sally Harris is one to watch.’ —Angela Clarke, Sunday Times Bestselling Author.

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

PUBLISHED BY SALT

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

hive.co.uk

WHSmith

MY REVIEW

A classic ghost story with a modern twist – and I loved every single scary, creepy moment of it all!!! Every noise I now hear in the house has me worried…..

Kate is married to Mark, and with their 2 children they move to Haverscroft in what seems to be a bid to save their marriage and start afresh in a new village. But Kate is increasingly spending more time alone with the children in their new home, as Mark is busy living away during the week with work, and her state of mind appears to be unravelling as she’s starting to see things, hear things, smell things… it is a figment of her imagination or is their new home genuinely haunted and trying to force them out.

The relationship between Kate and Mark is at the centre of this story and brilliantly looks into suspicions, mental health and how parents can play off against one another to look the good guy in the eyes of their children. With Mark away, Kate is troubled by him not answering the phone when she tries to call so that is setting off her doubts on his actual whereabouts. Their new home has always had a strange and unsettling feeling to her and the children and the more time they spend in there, the more that feeling intensifies – and the question of what is in the locked attic doesn’t help matters! The previous owner, Mrs Havers, had to move out because of her health but is keen to talk to Kate about the house and the longer the story goes on, the more you understand why she is so keen to share her thoughts to the new owners and as Kate delves more into the past of the house and local area the more she becomes driven and obsessed with finding out the truth about so many things.

The contributions from the children were some of the most chilling aspects for me! The things they talk about and that they see really add that edge to the ghost story and I think if I was living there I would have run out after a couple of days!! With history repeating itself you really just lose yourself in wondering what terrifying moments await them all.

I loved the setting and the pace of this story. The fear didn’t let up and the questions and doubts about Kate and her frame of mind played so well along the children and their perception of what was happening. This house full of dark secrets really had me petrified and I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for us with her next book!!

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The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell #BookReview

THE BLURB

Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine…

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself..

Published by  Raven Books

BUYING LINKS

About the Author

A former Waterstones bookseller, Laura is now a full time author of chilling Gothic fiction. Her ghost story THE SILENT COMPANIONS was published by Bloomsbury Raven in October 2017 and will be followed by THE CORSET in 2018.

Laura has also blogged extensively about the Hanoverian monarchy. Her biopic novels QUEEN OF BEDLAM and MISTRESS OF THE COURT are the first in a series covering the lives and loves of the Georgian era queens.

Twitter – @spookypurcell

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a stunning, chilling read then look no further! I was drawn to this by the exquisite cover – it’s beautiful – and the story inside was just as beautiful in the most creepy, unsettling manner! It’s one of those books that makes you sleep with one eye open and noticing anything out of place.. did I really leave that cupboard open? I don’t remember putting that there……. seriously spooky!!

This book is set in the 1600’s and 1800’s and centres around a mansion named The Bridge, and features two women – Elsie who is in an asylum unable to speak as she recovers from a traumatic event, and Anne whose diary we read from back in the 1600’s when the Silent Companions are introduced to the household. The Dr at the asylum is completely fascinated by Elsie and her silence and gets her to write down what she can’t say and this is when we get to ‘hear’ her story of what happened after she ended up living at The Bridge after the death of her husband. The distressing events that then follow her time living there are expertly crafted and written in such a way that you are experiencing the isolation, the fear, the terror and every alarming event with the character. 

Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company when she moves to The Bridge. Or so she thinks. For inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself… Even the locals are wary of the house so refuse to work there and Elsie wants to try and understand why there is such fear of her new home. The events she witnesses leave her wondering if she is losing her mind but help explain the terror of those living nearby.

As the pasts of both characters reveal disturbing events you are often unsure how the story will play out, and there were a number of shocking twists that took my breath away! I’m not normally a big fan of spooky stories (yes I’m a wimp!) , but this was so well written and beautifully set out that I was gripped and I loved the dark vibes and the many creepy moments!

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