I discovered this book via Twitter and I had to order a copy. I didn’t regret it. The story opens with the funeral of a young soldier killed in the Great War as the protagonist Stella reminisces on her time as a nurse on the front line in France and the horrors she has seen. We are also made aware of the great loss Stella has suffered; the death of her fiance, another victim of the atrocities of war. Stella’s grief is raw as is the way her mother and doctor treat her with their attempts to medicate her and their recommendations that she goes away for a break – the implication being that she be committed to a mental health institution. Stella does go away but it is to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeline, who she discovers has also suffered a loss and it is with her that Stella becomes involved in the history of Greyswick, her brother in law’s dark and imposing family home. What follows is a gloriously gothic ghost story which really hit the spot as an early Autumn read. As Stella, alongside her maid the ‘odd’ Annie Burrows, investigates the night time noises of a child crying she meets opposition in form of Madeline’s god fearing mother-in-law Lady Brightwell and the amateur psychologist and paranormal naysayer Tristan Sheers, both of whom are in denial of any unearthly spirits being present in the house or indeed that ghosts exist at all. Lurking in the background and not just metaphorically is the foreboding housekeeper Mrs Henge, who seems omnipresent in the intimate details of the inhabitants of the house. As well as telling a good old fashioned ghostly tale the author deftly brings in themes of class and religious prejudice, sexism and sexuality. What’s more it is all done with a subtle and sympathetic hand – or pen – and what results is a read that should not be missed. I’m looking forward to the next offering from Anita Frank.

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