Yes, yet another Simone St James book. When I find an author I like, sometimes I binge read if my schedule allows it and in this case it did. I had surgery on my ankle four weeks ago and have had more than enough time to read and read and read.
I am winding down in my St James binge read-a-thon though. I had two books left, this one and Silence for the Dead. I wanted to end my binge with a really good one so I had to decide which one to read first since both sounded interesting.
London, 1925. Glamorous medium Gloria Sutter made her fortune helping the bereaved contact loved ones killed during the Great War. Now she’s been murdered at one of her own séances, after leaving a message requesting the help of her former friend and sole rival, Ellie Winter.
Ellie doesn’t contact the dead—at least, not anymore. She specializes in miraculously finding lost items. Still, she can’t refuse the final request of the only other true psychic she has known. Now Ellie must delve into Gloria’s secrets and plunge back into the world of hucksters, lowlifes, and fakes. Worse, she cannot shake the attentions of handsome James Hawley, a damaged war veteran who has dedicated himself to debunking psychics.
As Ellie and James uncover the sinister mysteries of Gloria’s life and death, Ellie is tormented by nightmarish visions that herald the grisly murders of those in Gloria’s circle. And as Ellie’s uneasy partnership with James turns dangerously intimate, an insidious evil force begins to undermine their quest for clues, a force determined to bury the truth, and whoever seeks to expose it (summary from Goodreads).
This book had a much more fantastical plot than any of her others…..and that’s saying something considering she writes ghost stories. The psychic plot was unique and I enjoyed how St James used it to incorporate ghosts and the dead in a new and different way. To date this is her only novel that I have read to use this and while I wasn’t entirely sure that it worked all the time in the novel, I found I enjoyed the new perspective. I don’t usually go for psychic elements but in this case I thought that it added a lot to the story and as I mentioned, I loved interacting with the dead in a new way rather than just a ghost appearing to a random girl. In this book, Ellie was clearly the conduit and I liked how Ellie, the ghosts, and the psychic elements blended together creating something new for me to read.
Interestingly enough, I found that I liked Ellie in a way that I didn’t like some of the other heroines. The other heroines in St James’s books are flawed, innocent, and trusting more often than not. That doesn’t mean I don’t like them, I liked aspect of their personalities and I liked them within the stories but for me Ellie stood out as different and more memorable. I liked that she had to struggle in a supernatural world unlike some of the other women who had the ghosts thrust upon them for the first time in the books. Ellie had dealt with spirits her whole life which I thought made her interesting.
As I said this story was much more fantastical than her others and sometimes it bordered on unbelievable but I actually grew into the story even if I didn’t find it as believable as some of the other novels. I liked that this book was based in London and thought that location added a lot more uncertainty for the characters. Though I wish the Great War had played more of a role in this book as it did in the others. Since it was set in London I had hoped that it would involve more of the War Office or something to do with the post Great War city. Yes the readings were geared toward people who had lost loved ones in the war, but I hoped this would capitalize on that more. In her other novels the war is constantly talked about and takes on a role of it’s own in the story but in this book it lacked a little of that for me.
I did love the romance though. James was complex and flawed….damaged goods so to speak and I liked that. I also liked that he had a sort of history with Ellie. I felt the tension of a pervious meeting added more chemistry to their story. James seemed sweet and sassy and overly confident and I just loved watching their story come alive. My only argument was I was hoping for a little more sexual tension and built up to the consummation
Side note….I loved the Easter egg with Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken in this book. I sense that St James likes to have former fan favorite characters make cameos in her books and I think it’s great. I makes them almost feel like a series even though each book is independent from each other. I think it’s a nice way to link them all without making it a series.
Was this book my favorite by her? No. But I loved that it was different than her other books so far and I love all the gothic and supernatural elements that she incorporates into her books! I can’t wait to read the next one, yet I am sad that after Silence for the Dead will be my last one by her….what will I read then?!
Paperback, 319 pagesPublished April 7th 2015 by NAL Trade
- Review copy provided by: Personal Collection
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: Gothic Lit, Ghost story, Romance, Historical fiction, Historical Romance, Mystery
Memorable lines/quotes: NA