Monday, 9 December 2019

Review: The Lost Ones by Anita Frank

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank is historical fiction, with an eerie, haunted feeling which leaves the reader hanging until the final pages of the book. It delves into the lives of two sisters who are brought back together by catastrophic events of World War I and their supernatural experiences in an old manor. It is suspenseful, keeps the reader guessing throughout the plot and uncovers many notorious secrets which some characters thought they had concealed forever.

The synopsis is as follows:

Some houses are never at peace… England 1917

Reeling from the death of her fiancĂ©, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeline, at her imposing country mansion, but she arrives to find a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion. Before long, Stella is troubled by the same strange incidents that plague Madeleine- sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs- and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic past of the house. Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greywick’s dark past- secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

From the outset of this novel, I was entranced by the vivid, descriptive writing. The prose was written beautifully and the sentences flowed on so effortlessly. It was pleasurable to read and made me as a reader feel as though I was bearing witness to the events which were unfolding. The descriptions of the various areas of the manor also made it easy to imagine myself there, back in 1917. Unlike many authors, Frank was able to successfully write characters as though they were from that time period. The language, their actions and everything in between was notable for that time.

One of the highlights of this book were the characters. Each of the characters had defining characteristics which were able to be developed throughout the course of the plot. Stella was a well-rounded character who was grew so much and was able to come to terms and identify her own personal issues which were plaguing her over time. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her friendship with Annie develop, despite their differences in social standing. Another character stand out for me was Cook: while she was a minor character, I liked her inclusion and features throughout the text and her influence overall in the text. The interactions between the characters was also great and their dynamics with each other, which changed over time.

From the beginning, the mystery is what draws the reader into the text. There is mystery regarding so many elements of the book, including but not limited to the characters back stories and the strange events unfolding in the house. It captures the attention of the reader, as we want to continue to find out why things are occurring and what is influencing them. The haunted incidents are creepy yet by the epic conclusion of the book, the reader is able to understand why they are ultimately occurring. Stella and Annie are key detectives in the mystery and over time, have the ability to uncover the grisly truth. Another strength of the book is that the mystery continues to puzzle the reader until near the end. This allows the author to maintain the attention of the reader until the conclusion, when the mystery is resolved and old issues are confronted.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed into the mysterious world of The Lost Ones. The plot, the characters and the haunting mystery all tied together to create a cohesive and engaging text which accurately drew upon historical events in a meaningful way. I would highly recommend this text to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, mystery or literary fiction.

I rated this book: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Harlequin Publishers for providing me with a copy for review

The Lost Ones is available for purchase in Australia now!

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