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The Ghost of Lily Painter [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio Cassette]

Caitlin Davies , Annie Aldington , Jilly Bond , Cast
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2011

The first time Annie Sweet sees 43 Stanley Road, the house is so perfect she almost feels as though it has chosen her. But with her husband seeming more distant, and her daughter wrapped up in her friends and new school, Annie is increasingly left alone to mull over the past.

She soon becomes consumed by the house and everyone who has lived there before her, especially a young music hall singer called Lily Painter, whose sparkling performances were the talk of London. As Annie delves further into the past she unravels the case of two notorious baby farmers, who cruelly preyed on vulnerable unmarried mothers. And until she solves the mystery at the heart of the scandal, the ghost of Lily Painter will never be able to rest.

Basing her story on true events, Caitlin Davies skilfully blends fact and fiction to bring to life part of our sinister past. Spanning an entire century, from the journals of an Edwardian police inspector to a doomed wartime love affair, The Ghost of Lily Painter is a gripping and poignant novel.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books; Unabridged edition (1 Oct 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 1445015013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445015019
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Caitlin Davies was born in London in 1964. She spent 12 years in Botswana as a teacher and journalist and many of her books are set in the Okavango Delta, including a memoir Place of Reeds. Her more recent novels include The Ghost of Lily Painter, a fictional account of the arrest and execution of two Edwardian baby farmers, and Family Likeness about a child born to a GI father in World War Two. Her recent non-fiction books are Taking the Waters: A Swim Around Hampstead Heath, a celebration of 200 years of glorious outdoor bathing, and an illustrated history of the world famous Camden Lock Market, both published by Frances Lincoln. She is currently working on a social history of swimming the River Thames, to be published by Aurum, and a novel about a Victorian diver and 'champion lady swimmer of the world'. She is also a teacher and journalist. In 2014 she was selected as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow in London. Her website is

Product Description


"I read it in two days flat and enjoyed it hugely - a wonderful combination of ghost story, detective story and social history." (Gaynor Arnold, author of 'Girl in a Blue Dress')

"Big, rich and entertaining" (Kate Saunders Saga Magazine)

"In this dark thriller, Caitlin Davies uses the haunted house as the frame for a disturbing story of cruelty in Victorian London" (Daily Mail)

"I enjoyed it so much - stories of "then" and "now", and beautifully balanced between the two" (Judith Flanders, author of The Victorian House)

"[A] meticulously researched and moving new novel" (Camden New Journal) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A spellbinding novel which combines rich writing with a sinister period in London's history --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read - Not A Ghost Story! 21 Jun 2011
By Luna Shine VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is an absolute page turner which centres on a house in London and it's history of occupants. Other reviewers have outlined the story, so all I will say is that it contains three narratives, one from Annie Sweet, the lady who has moved into the house, 42 Stanley Street, and which she feels has lots of history and meaning to her, one from Inspector William George, who once owned the house and of course one from Lily Painter, the ghost and lodger at Inspector George's house. It is definitely not a supernatural story nor is it scary. It is an excellent read.

Caitlin Davies has written this book in such a brilliant way. She transports you in language form to the 1900's and the way in which she writes is exactly how people in that era used the English language. Then she transports you back to this time and the way she writes changes, its' quite amazing and very clever the way she has done this. I can highly recommend this book, it's an easy read, a great story and very well written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an enjoyable read 26 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I would say this is more of an historical fiction novel not a ghost story - but all credit to the history and the fiction! It was well researched and entertaining. I did find there was perhaps a little too much dialogue in places - I could "hear" what the characters were saying, but couldn't "see" what they were doing - but that is personal opinion. This is a good read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but predictable 25 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It took me a little while to get into this book,but when I did I enjoyed it. It is told by four people and it pops from th present to different times in the past. The four people are 1.Inspector William George,he lives and writes in the early days of the 1900'S. He is a policeman and owner of a house in Stanley street, Holloway.
2.Annie Sweet present owner of the house in Stanley street in the year 2008, she has personal conflicts in her life and is striving to be the best possible mother to her daughter. She has a strong interest in the house and this leads her to uncover the history about the house and its past inhabitants.
3.Lily painter as her living self, the chorus girl with a bright future, and then as the "ghost"
4.Mo George the neice of William, living in Stanley road durring the 2nd world war.
The books takes us into the horrible unbelivable world of "baby farming" and the saddness and desperation it caused to people.I did find the ending a bit of a coincidence too far, but apart from that a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really atmospheric! 10 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is my favourite book from Amazon Vine to date and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. The story begins with a family going to view a new house and the wife falls in love with it immediately, they move in and things become difficult with their marriage. The history of the house and it`s previous owners is central to the story and the writer really does a great job in unravelling the tale. Being someone who is keen on local and family history I found so much of the story familiar, for example looking up the 1901 census and visiting newspaper libraries. But even if you don`t go in for stuff like that you will still enjoy reading this book. The language used when she describes the diary kept by a previous owner of the house takes the reader back to a time when people were more sentimental and morals of that time were so very different to modern times. It`s a picture of London as it was when Queen Victoria has just died, it also takes you to the time of the blitz and how the people had to survive daily living. The past is mentioned but also the present and both done very well. I would highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ghost Of Lily Painter 27 May 2011
By Belfast Dave VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I cannot praise this excellent novel highly enough. Atmospheric of London throughout the 1900's, filled with complex (but not confusing) relationships between the various occupants of a small London townhouse, this is a story that is gripping, emotive and written beautifully. Some comment from me given that my genre is the serial killer, high body count, the more dead bodies the better, kind!
There are dead bodies in this book, and there is a ghost. But given the historical accuracy and detailed research the author has undertaken this reads unlike any ghost story I have come across, in that it is totally believable. There is romance (normally a definite NO for me in reading) and a high degree of literacy (something I can also do without occasionally) but, as with the "ghost story", none are overwhelming.
A real gem of a book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars is there a ghost in your family? 31 May 2011
By David Spanswick VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It takes a really gifted writer to get atmosphere right in a novel. Atmosphere is that unquantifiable element that can make or break a story especially if that story is a mystery or a ghost story. Atmosphere is something more associated with the visual arts especially the theatre with its smoke and mirrors.

Caitlin Davies is a really gifted author who treats us to atmosphere in spades in this dual time novel, "The Ghost of Lily Painter". In the earlier decade of the Edwardian period you can almost smell the Empire Music Hall especially Will Fornby and his box of performing rats!!

The house at the centre of the story ~ 43 Stanley Road ~ has survived two wars, decades of cultural change and is now the home of deserted mum and daughter Annie and Molly (all the time I was reading the book I saw them as the mum and daughter from the telly series "Outnumbered"). It is also a house with a memory. Like all old houses (and I know this as I live in a 19th century terraced town house in Brighton) it seems the inhabitants never really leave for good and traces of their occupation are often in evidence. Annie copes with her loneliness by researching the occupants of the 1901 census, which were a police inspector and his wife and their lodgers, the Painters, the daughter of who is the eponymous heroine.

But I must reveal no more this book is so good it should be on everyone's summer booklist.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I really enjoyed this book. Couldn't put it down.
Published 15 days ago by SarahYork
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and disturbing.
I didn't know about 'baby farming' and was appalled to read about the events in this book. A terrible story but brilliantly written.
Published 1 month ago by Doreen
5.0 out of 5 stars to find out more about baby farmers
and understand why my grandmother had kept changing her name which was in the hope that people would not know who her eldest sister was
Published 2 months ago by Marcus David John Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars great reading
I read this in 2 days flat, I just couldn't put it down. compelling reading, a must read book. not scary at all, sad in some places.
Published 5 months ago by fairy girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Good old fashioned ghost story!
Good old fashioned ghost story but with a few twists in the storyline. The past & present have their own story lines - cant say any more as I don't want to spoil the story. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amanda
2.0 out of 5 stars a plodder
This book is yet another good idea but sadly the author doesn't seem to have enough skill to bring the characters to life. She waffles on & on but not a lot seems to happen. Read more
Published 7 months ago by musiclover
5.0 out of 5 stars Not in the least bit scary but very entertaining.
The story of a house and the people who lived there. The conections that weave these people together form the basis for the story and no one sees the ghost. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ms. J. A. Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
great book i really enjoyed it the characters really came to life and i just wanted to keep on reading it .
Published 18 months ago by annette baker
3.0 out of 5 stars Good captivating read but too predictable
As an obsessive amateur genealogist and a lover of historical fiction I really enjoyed this book. It was a good story with a unique plot although a bit predictable. Read more
Published 19 months ago by NikkiFranki
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner
I loved this book ! I have never read anything by this author before but was drawn to the book by it's cover. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Tilly Tompkins
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