Title: The Lost Ones
Author: Anita Frank
Pages: 464 Pages
Some houses are never at peace.
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.
Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.
Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…
In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.
I love a good creepy story. Preferably one set in a spooky house and there has to be a mystery.
Voila. The Lost Ones by Anita Frank.
The Lost Ones is set during World War One. Stella Marcham has experienced sadness that no one should ever have gone through. She is sent to convalesce and grieve at her sister’s home but things seem to be getting worse rather than better. When no one believes Stella and her sister about the ghostly happenings at Greyswick, she leaves herself in danger of being sent to an asylum.
I have such a visceral response to the terrible history of women being made to appear as if they were crazy or mentally unhinged. It makes me feel physically sick. I have a genuine fear of gas lighting and especially during a period of time when women weren’t taken seriously and were treated like delicate flowers. Anita Frank’s fantastic writing made me feel so helpless and hopeless for Stella. My stomach was churning and my anxiety was peaked. If a book can make you have that much of a reaction then you know that it is written well.
Furthermore, the characterisation was deeply unsettling. Mrs Henge, the housekeeper had such a sinister Mrs Danvers quality to her that it was hard not to see suspicion lying around every corner. Besides the ghost story you have a house full of intrigue and mystery with twists and turns aplenty to keep you on your toes.
As far as ghost stories go, The Lost Ones is one of the best ghost stories that I have read all year. Add in the multiple layers – war time, feminism, mental health – Anita Frank really has created a fantastic story; one that is still playing on my mind days after turning the final page.
The Lost Ones by Anita Frank is available now.
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