Two words spring to mind when I consider the novels of Simone St. James: literary crack.
Truly, I have no idea exactly why I enjoy her writing so much, but I have now read all four of her novels and bought them for my mother too. I can hardly wait for her fifth novel to arrive in April 2017 and I expect that, like the previous four, I will doubtless read it in two days flat.
St. James has a winning formula that all her novels subscribe to:
- Devise a chilling and rather brilliant ghost story
- Create an intriguing heroine
- Set the story the 1920s, with all the inherent uncertainties of that time
- Add plenty of twists and turns
- Provide a dash of romance with a troubled, but gorgeous, hero
- Finish up with a happy ending
So exactly why would someone who professes to love books be happy to include something so formulaic in her blog? Quite simply, these books make me happy, in exactly the same way that some TV shows do. St. James is a brilliant and creative writer who knows what she can do and does it well.
I would recommend starting at the beginning with The Haunting of Maddy Clare, just because I wouldn’t want you to miss out on anything, but this latest offering is every bit as good and with each story standing alone, you have nothing to lose.
Lost Among the Living tells the story of Jo Manders. Set in 1921, Jo is a young war widow, following the shooting down of her husband’s plane three years previously. Without any form of income and with a mother in an asylum, she is employed as a paid companion by her husband’s Aunt, Dottie Forsyth, a woman who lacks any sense of compassion. After a tour of Europe, the two return to Dottie’s home, to Wych Elm House and that is where the fun starts, with Jo immediately seeing the ghost of a young girl. Is Jo crazy like her mother, or is she seeing the ghost of Dottie’s daughter?
I could write so much more about the book, but to do so would be to give away so much that is enjoyable as a reader. I will say this, if you are hankering after a weekend break, but can’t afford to get away, go out and pick up any novel by Simone St James and it will be two of the best days you have spent in a long while!