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Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James
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Lost Among the Living

by Simone St. James

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12711134,931 (4.07)11
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England, 1921. Jo Manders husband Alex, was shot down over Germany three years before and disappeared. In need of money to support her and her sick mother did Jo agree to be a paid companion to Alex wealthy albeit condescending aunt Dottie Forsyth. Now they are returning home to England, to the Forsyth family's estate in the Sussex countryside. Jo has never visited the place before and she realizes there that she doesn't know much about her husband's origin, and there seem to be a something with the place, something not at peace...

This is the kind of book that I love to read. A historical mystery with a paranormal touch. I quickly connected with the story and with the characters and I enjoyed this historical mystery very much. The one thing that bothered me a bit was that I think the blurb I read one Goodreads gave away too much. So, I would advise any reader to be careful with reading about the book on Goodreads. Especially if you want to be kept in the dark about certain things in the story. Sometimes I think the less one knows about the story the better it is. And, that is why I will not reveal too much of what is going in the book. However, what I will address some of the aspects of the book that I enjoyed very much.

Like for instance that the book is well written, and this is one of few books with an instalove couple that I enjoy reading. I think it's because Simone St. James manage to portray both Jo and Alex so good that they come alive. You feel for Jo as she tries to live without Alex and the flashbacks to when they met and married each other are lovely. And, then we have the mystery of the book. The things Jo sees in the house isn't necessary terrifying, but it's awfully intriguing and thrilling to read about. I wasn't surprised over some turns in the story, but I nevertheless found the book to be very engrossing.

I will keep an eye out for more books by Simone St. James!

4.5 stars

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 14, 2017 |
The setting is WW1. Jo Manders finds the love of her life and marries him in a short time span. Alec is intelligent, handsome and beguiling. With a mother in a home for those whose sanity is frail, she must support her mother. Previously a typist, she is left alone while her husband tells her he is called to the war.

Lonely and without financial means, she is taken in by her husband's Aunt. Traveling with her as a companion throughout Europe watching her collect objects of art, when they return, she is given secretarial duties. Living in a beautiful estate, she finds a friend with her husband's cousin.

For lack of interest, I was temped to put this book aside. But, I forgot the Nancy Pearel 50 page rule and continued on, all the while wondering why.

I can't recommend this one at all.
  Whisper1 | Aug 29, 2017 |
Lost Among The Living by Simone St. JAmes
5 Stars

From The Book:
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. And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House…

My Views:
I loved the main character of Jo. She’s strong, courageous, feisty, driven, and a bit impulsive. Her grief from her war and personal losses didn’t stop her from creating a life for herself and striving for independence. How she put up with her employer without killing her was a bigger mystery that the mystery in the story.

This story will satisfy the "ghost story lovers" and the mystery and suspense "who-done-it" enthusiasts. I wasn’t surprised when the protagonist was revealed...but I enjoyed the journey and sleuthing along the way. The reasoning behind the crime did surprised me, though. The reasoning behind the crime tied in very well with the historical events behind the story. Overall...a ghost story, a mystery and a good bit of history makes for a 5 star read. ( )
  Carol420 | May 18, 2017 |
While this wasn't a "can't put it down" page turner, it was an engrossing romantic mystery. Also, while it was a ghost story, it was missing the creep factor of The Haunting of Maddy Clare. Overall I would say it was an enjoyable, but not necessarily a memorable read. ( )
  Charli30902 | Jan 5, 2017 |
Of the 5 Simone St. James books I've read (and she's published), this is the one I've liked the least. Not to say it's not a very good, well-written story–it is–it's just much less gothic-y than at least 3 of the others.

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, 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 mysterious death in the family’s past is just the beginning…

All is not well at Wych Elm House. Footsteps follow Jo down empty halls, and items in her bedroom are eerily rearranged. The locals say the family is cursed. And when Jo discovers her husband’s darkest secrets, she wonders if she ever really knew him.

And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House…

This book felt like it was slow to start, because of that last line in the synopsis; they should have left that off, because I spent the first x% of the book waiting for the stranger to appear. Only after that happened did I feel like the book picked up speed. This story also felt somehow less creepy; maybe it's just that I've read all the books too close together, and my threshold is lower. Old creepy mansion: check. Dark gray, misty atmosphere: check. Ghosts: check. But still, somehow, not that creepy.

Lost Among the Living was also a lot more of a straight-up mystery: while the other books had a mystery aspect to them, the focus was on the hauntings. Here, the focus is on what happened to Frances, the parallels between her life and Jo's, and what Jo is going to do with her life going forward. There's also a lot less (read: no) sexual tension in this book, and I do find that spices a read up, even when romance is not the point.

This sounds like a rather negative review, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this book; it's a great story and it's well written and it pulled me in. My small dissatisfactions stem from the expectations I had from previous reads that I unfairly applied to this book and the author isn't writing cookie-cutter plots. Indeed, the next book's preview is at the end of this one and it's the first one she's written that takes place in present day, with an alternating timeline in the 50's. Not sure if I want to go there, but I have the next year to adjust to the idea. ( )
  murderbydeath | Oct 16, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451476190, Paperback)

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.
 
And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House…

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 25 Nov 2015 23:18:54 -0500)

"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. And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House... "--… (more)

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