Lost Among the Living by Simone St James Review

“Some mad people wished for death, but others clung to life, even when that life was filled with pain.”

This book is set after WWI in England. Jo’s husband went missing during the war, he was a pilot and his plane was found abandoned. Jo has struggled with her grief and with money ever since, she has to pay for her mother to live in a care home. Out of the blue Jo received a letter from her husband’s aunt asking to employ her as a companion for her travels around Europe.

Once the trip was finished Jo went back to stay with Dottie at Wych Elm House. Dottie’s son Martin was seriously injured in the war and after years in hospital has finally been released to come home. A darkness hangs over the house, Dottie’s daughter died there, she was a troubled girl but at first no one will talk to Jo about her. Frances used to see demons and was terrified every day, she was haunted by nightmares. She probably had some sort of pyschotic disorder but in those days mental health was not spoken about. It appeared that Frances jumped from the roof but on her first day Jo sees the ghost of Frances and realises that she needs to help reveal how she actually died.

I love a good historical mystery and it also had a lot about mental health in the story which is refreshing in a historical fiction novel. It was like reading a classic ghost story at times, I was seriously jumpy after I’d read parts. I wasn’t really scared but it just made me think about ghosts so any random noises freaked me out.

I also solved the mystery before it was revealed (because I’m a genius!) I won’t spoil it for you though. But I write notes as I go and one of my revelations was correct. The characters and their stories, especially Jo and Frances were very compelling. The book had me on the edge of my seat especially towards the end.

“So simple. Lean out, lean over, let gravity take you. Let go.”

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