When the dead cannot cross-over, they become the lost ones.
Some houses are never at peace.
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.
Don’t you just love when a book turns out to be so much more than you expected it to be!? The first fifty pages of this one were rocky – the scene is taking shape, the atmosphere hasn’t really formed yet, it wasn’t an opening that absorbed. Oh, Ms Frank, I never should have doubted the mystery you were creating! With each subsequent page, the mystery took shape, and, with each chapter, I was pulled deeper into this dark mystery. This became one of those novels that captured my full attention, one of those “I read it in one day” novels.
So, what made this book such a success? The fun of solving the mystery! From very early on you have your key players, you know Greyswick mansion has a dark secret, you know the dead whisper – it’s just a case of solving the mystery. There are limited characters in this novel, and it becomes clear from very early on who is keeping secrets and what those secrets relate to. You know the individuals involved, you know the outcome, you just don’t know exactly how it came to be, although you will certainly have your theories. What adds to the success of this novel, is the darkness surrounding the mystery; the unsettling atmosphere only the dead can bring, and when the dead have a message, it will be heard, you will feel their presence!
Like the opening pages of this novel, the ending sees a dip in momentum, and that’s due to the mystery closing, the puzzle pieces aligning; by this time, you may have more or less figured it out, especially if you are familiar with this type of ghost story – the ending then becomes a clarification of what you guessed, rather than a “wow” reveal. However, don’t read that to be a negative, this novel is a very enjoyable one, and if you are a fan of the genre, you can be confident this novel will deliver what it set out to.
In this novel, you’re not necessarily rooting for one particular character, you’re rooting for the truth to come out; so by default, you’re rooting for Stella. However, none of the characters in this novel were particularly likeable, in time, Annie, Stella’s maid, becomes the most favourable as she was the most intriguing.
Set against a WWI backdrop, this novel’s atmosphere is further developed by the woes of war, the unrest and sadness that was rife for many during this time. Historical fiction fans and mystery lovers alike are the perfect audience for this well written, atmospheric novel.
*My thanks to HQ for providing me with a copy of this novel*