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Lost Among the Living (2016)

by Simone St. James

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22519100,968 (3.89)11
"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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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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's 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 seems to be 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 on 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 on in the book. However, I will address some of the aspects of the book that I enjoyed very much.

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 manages to portray both Jo and Alex so well 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 aren't necessarily terrifying, but it's awfully intriguing and thrilling to read about. I wasn't surprised by 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 | Jul 23, 2022 |
This book carries a tag for mental illness. What it doesn’t tell you is the heroine is one of them. I cannot recall a character that acts more schizophrenic. One minute she’s pining away for her husband, lost when his plane went down on a mission. By the time he shows up, in good health, she has decided he killed his young cousin while he was home for a mission she knew nothing about. She vows never to let him touch her; then he looks at her and she swoons into his arms.

Never mind that she is getting her information from a senior military officer who first told her that her husband was likely dead, then intimated husband was holding back information. She believes this conniving character absolutely.

The ghost story/paranormal part was okay. Nothing to get excited about, though. Cousin’s killer is obvious by the second or third interaction with the character. No surprise there. I picked this audiobook hoping for a little spooky stuff with a little unobjectionable romance on the side. What I got was a thinly plotted spy novel with an unlikeable main character. ( )
  AMKitty | Feb 21, 2022 |
This book was a lot of first for me, first time reading a Simone St. James' book and for sure not the last one. The first time I read historical fiction with paranormal aspects on it, it is also the first time I read a set before and after WWI. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this book; it was a fantastic read for Halloween time.
My suggestion about this book is you need to enter without knowing anything about the plot so you can devour it as I did. The surprises and the plot twists are fantastic and make you want to sit and finish the book in one sitting. As I wrote earlier, this book is a very atmospheric book fantastic for Halloween, and I am glad I finished it on October 31st.
The setting, in general, was vivid and easy to connect with. While reading the book, it reminded me of the atmosphere of "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier, even though the books' plots are totally different.
I also liked the book's mental health issue was at the back burner on both main characters' families. Another part of this book I liked was when things went wrong; the women were never the victims. They were strong and independent. They found solutions on how to get out of the situation they were caught on. The deduction of a star is because of Jo's insta-love, the main character, and her husband, Alex. It was a little bit weird for the era that it took place.
For sure, I will recommend this book and read all the books that Simone St. James has written and will write. ( )
  AvigailRGRIL | Nov 9, 2020 |
Justine Eyre is the narrator. Very well done. 4 stars, and recommended. ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Jo Manders is reeling from a husband who is MIA in World War I. Years after he goes missing and still in mourning, his rich Aunt Dottie offers her employment as a companion. Verbally domineering and opinionated, Dottie drags Jo along on a trip to Europe and then back to her family estate in Sussex. The family's estate reveals whispered secrets, as well as the mystery behind the death of Dottie’s daughter, and Jo begins to wonder how well she knew her husband after all.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Jan 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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"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... "--

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