Think Downton Abbey on Halloween…a beautifully told big house story touched with ghosts and tragedy’ – HQ Stories
The Lost Ones is the debut novel by Anita Frank and is published for Halloween with HQ Stories. Described as ‘a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption’, The Lost Ones really is the perfect read for this time of the year, with just the right amount of ‘spook’ for me!
Stella Marcham is lost, her life thrown asunder, following the death of her dearly beloved fiancé Gerald from horrific injuries incurred in the fields of France. It’s 1917, and Stella now returned from her position as a VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) in France, is very unsettled. Her family are concerned for her as there appears to be very little respite in her grieving. When an invitation arises for Stella to visit her sister Madeleine at her in-laws stately home, Greyswick, Stella jumps at the chance. A change of scene, an opportunity to help her sister may just be the tonic she needs.
Stella arrives in Greyswick in the company of her maid, Annie. Annie is considered by many to be an odd thing, a girl with some very quirky habits. But Stella has always overlooked these foibles, as her own family owe a great debt to Annie and Annie’s family. On arrival to Greyswick, Stella is over-awed by the building and the very obvious displays of wealth. Although her new accommodation is not to her liking Stella is very excited to see Madeleine.
With the war a constant threat to the London citizens, Madeleine has moved to the country for her own safety and that of her unborn child. With only the company of her overbearing mother-in-law and her mother-in-law’s companion, Madeleine is finding the whole experience at Greyswick unnerving. Madeleine hears things that nobody else seems conscious of and with Stella by her side Madeleine hopes to prove her sanity.
Things do go ‘bump in the night’ at Greyswick and Stella and Madeleine soon realise that there is something very, very disturbing happening within the walls of Greyswick. As the days go slowly by, strange occurrences become the norm for the two sisters but with so much doubt surrounding the authenticity of their experiences, Stella and Madeleine soon begin to question everyone and everything.
Anita Frank portrays the supernatural aspect of this book beautifully. The atmosphere is dark, vividly capturing the claustrophobic element of the story. The period of the First World War is the perfect backdrop, adding a poignancy and a tragic element to the whole tale. I really enjoyed Anita Frank’s style of writing. It’s extremely captivating and encourages the reader to keep turning the pages at speed. The characters are all given such fascinating personalities, bringing the whole story alive.
The Lost Ones is a very impressive debut. Anita Frank is one talented writer. With ghosts, a mystery and a very emotional story at its core The Lost Ones really is highly recommended for all who love their Halloween reading to have a bit of spook (but not too much!) and a gentle pull at the heartstrings…
(c) Swirl and Thread
Order your copy online here.