Review: Lost Among The Living by Simone St. James

Publisher: NAL
Published: April 5, 2016
Paperback, 337 pages
ISBN: 9780451476197
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher


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 Thoughts:

Simone St. James, where have you been all my life? You write the kinda books that I love. How have I not come across your books before now? These are the questions I asked myself after I started reading Lost Among the Living. The first night I started reading this my intention was to read a few chapters. I bet you can guess the rest. If I didn't have responsibilities that I HAD to do the next day, I probably would have finished this book in one sitting. 

St. James has written a handful of historical fiction books that are full of supernatural elements. Think Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre, only this book is set a few years after World War I. Jo Manders lost her husband in the war. His plane went down over Germany, but his body was never found. Jo lives in sort of a limbo: she's not a widow, but she's not married either. When her missing husband's aunt offers her a position as her paid companion, Jo has no other option but to accept. 

Jo follows her aunt-in-law, Dottie, across the continent and then back to England. It's only when they embark back to Dottie's home, Wych Elm House, that the mystery really begins. Jo is forced into an uncomfortable, tense situation. Immediately Jo begins to see things that make her think she's going mad. There's also secrets that affect the house. And the more she learns about her husband, the more she suspects that she didn't really know him like she thought she did. Eager to find out the truth, Jo sets out to discover what really happened to Dottie's daughter. She suspects sinister forces are at work. 

This book had everything that I love: historical fiction--check, romance--check, Gothic elements--check, mystery--check. Yep, it's all there. I gobbled this book up and I can't wait to read more by Simone St. James. I have a feeling this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship!