By: Simone St James
Published Year: 2016
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I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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…
When I first read the summary for this book I wasn’t very interested. Then I saw the cover and it was so beautiful I couldn’t turn it down. That means that what it boils down to, is I chose to read this book based on the cover.
What I thought
Lost Among the Living takes place in 1920s England shortly after World War 1. Jo Manders lost her husband three years prior to the beginning of the story and his Aunt Dottie has taken Jo in as her personal companion. Dottie is not the most pleasant woman, but Jo needs a way to support herself as her husband went MIA and therefore she has no other means. When she goes back to Dottie’s house, where she meets Dottie’s husband and son, she soon realizes that everything at the house may not be as it seems. Shortly after her arrival, she starts to see things that aren’t really there.
I don’t know quite exactly how I felt about this book. There were moments where I really got into the story and couldn’t put it down, but other moments where I didn’t fully feel connected to the story.
Starting with some of the characters, I did like Jo but she’s just not the type of character that I usually connect with. Her mental journey was interesting in that she started to think maybe she was going mad with what she was seeing, but at the same time she really believed in what she was seeing. I think Dottie might have been my favorite. I liked that she was fighting for things that she believed in and what she felt her family needed. I also thought that Martin was interesting and wished that we could’ve learned more about him.
I think that based on the description of the book I expected a bit more paranormal elements than the book actually contained. I thought there were going to be a lot of spooky elements and things happening that no one could explain. In reality, Jo sees Frances a few times and there are a few items that show up in her bedroom. I almost wish there had been a little more on that side of the story. I just felt like if the author was going to go there, she really needed to go there whereas this seemed a bit halfway.
I did like the elements of being a young woman with a husband who didn’t come home from war in the 1920s. It was fascinating to see how Jo had to get by and the way that people treated her. I wish there had been a bit more of her struggle in being a war widow, because I really enjoyed that side of the story.
By: Simone St James