England, 1921. Three years after her husband, Alex, disappeared, shot down over Germany, Jo Manders still mourns his loss. Working as a paid companion to Alex’s wealthy, condescending aunt, Dottie Forsyth, Jo travels to the family’s estate in the Sussex countryside. But there is much she never knew about her husband’s origins…and the revelation of a mysterious death in the Forsyths’ past is just the beginning…
All is not well at Wych Elm House. Dottie’s husband is distant, and her son was grievously injured in the war. Footsteps follow Jo down empty halls, and items in her bedroom are eerily rearranged. The locals say the family is cursed, and that a ghost in the woods has never rested. And when Jo discovers her husband’s darkest secrets, she wonders if she ever really knew him. Isolated in a place of deception and grief, she must find the truth or lose herself forever.
And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House…
I love reading about independent women in period pieces, old houses in countryside’s with secrets, family curses, a ghost and war world I stories. When these elements are blended together-well-you have me hooked! There was tension and action in all the right places.
I adore Jo! I could read about her all day. I have to say, I wanted her not to be so submissive to Dottie, her aunt. Though I get why she was. She needed to work after all and in those times, it was hard for women to find employment.
Dottie is a strange bird for sure. Tough, smart, secretive, and a go getter. On the down side, she is rude and uncaring at times but it works for this story.
Jo’s husband, Alex is one I really didn’t warm up too. Alas, I can’t tell you why because I don’t want to spoil the story.
Now for the other characters. Well done! They add so much to the story. Love it when that happens!
I found this story to be atmospheric and well written. The plot is excellent and I didn’t want to put the book down!
Something about the story bothered me though and for a while I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I think it must be the relationship between Jo and her mother. I think the author intended it to be a back story but I wanted more out of it. There is a situation that seemed so abrupt and final. I wanted more answers. I wanted there to be more feelings toward that situation. But I’m okay with how the author told the story. Though I kept thinking there is a bigger story there. Anyhow, it doesn’t take away from how I feel about the book at all.
I am looking forward to reading more books by this author!
I have rated this book four and a half stars.
I have obtained a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.
Stephanie M. Hopkins