Monday, April 4, 2016

Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James

Jo is still mourning the loss of her husband even if it has been three years since he was shot down in enemy territory.  She's acting as a companion for his aunt and she doesn't tolerate grief or offer any sympathy.  Instead, she's actually planning on marrying Jo to her son, Martin.  Too bad neither Martin or Jo want to marry each other.  After all, Jo is still married because no body has been found yet...

Berkley Publishing Group and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published tomorrow.

I've read Ms. St. James' work before and she does a very good job of creating a complex mystery with lots of twists and turns.  This story includes mental illness, a ghost and her dog, and spy games.  Those are the "asides" from the real story but they add much substance to the overall tale.

While Jo is visiting the aunt's home as a temporary resident, she sees a young girl in the parlor.  When she turns around to talk to the servant and turns back, the girl is gone.  In time, she finds out the fifteen year old daughter of the aunt had committed suicide there.  Only Jo can see her.  She is pretty sure Frances didn't commit suicide and starts trying to figure out who killed her.  She also learns her husband visited them on the day she died and he never even told her he was back in the country.  Might he have killed her?

As the story unweaves, you find magic in the words.  I cared deeply about Jo and her husband.  It was such a magical marriage until the war.  She looks into his war records to see if she can find anything to help her accept the fact that he's gone.  She finds he went places he didn't tell her and he was doing something other than just being a pilot.  She feels aggrieved and wonders what other lies he told her.

I was surprised at the killer.  I really liked how the author worked out the ending.  The killer got what was deserved and Jo's life will go on in a much happier manner.  This was a very good read and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction and doesn't mind ghosts.  Frances got even... 

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