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The Ghost of Lily Painter Paperback – 2 Jun 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (2 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091937035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091937034
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,029,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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')

"Davies effortlessly combines mystery, history and romance to create a spellbinding tale. It is a novel that will sweep you up and make you forget your own reality. Spookily good" (News of the World)

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

"[A] meticulously researched and moving new novel" (Camden New Journal)

Book Description

A spellbinding novel which combines rich writing with a sinister period in London's history

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
Split between the early-to-mid 20th Century and contemporary North London, this novel has a true event as its core – the insidious practice of baby farming in Victorian and Edwardian England: young single females could pay to send their unwanted babies to other women, who would then sell them to others who wanted to become mothers. But in some cases the unfortunate infants were killed. The eponymous Lily Painter, a young music-hall girl, becomes pregnant and in desperation to rid herself of the ruinous burden, resorts to the baby farmers. Her story is uncovered by Annie Sweet in modern day London. Annie is a separated single mother and in attempting to find out more about the previous occupants of her Holloway house, uncovers a strange story that reaches right back into Annie’s own past.
It is a well plotted and capably narrated novel, with the historical elements strong. The story also covers issues in modern England such as family relations and the role of children. However, it does depend upon a number of outrageous coincidences and the plot is completely cliché-ridden too, with an utterly predictable outcome. Lily’s ghost monitors proceedings in Annie’s property, adding another unnecessarily fantastical element to the story.
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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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By Ginger VINE VOICE on 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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By C. Bannister TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The ghost of Lily Painter is not a ghost story as such, it is not scary, but it is so much more!

Annie Sweet lives in number 43 Stanley Road, Holloway, a house which she is instantly drawn to with her husband Ben, and daughter Molly. In 1901 Lily Painter along with her sister, father and step-mother had lived in the same house as lodgers of a Police Inspector and his family. Annie starts to look on the 1901 census, initially for family members but with few details to go on looks to see who lived in her house and becomes interested in Lily Painter, wanting to discover what sort of life she would have led.

The book is divided between the past and the present by devices such as Inspector William George writing a journal starting in 1901 detailing his life as an Inspector, his family life and the crimes of some baby farmers. Lily (the ghost) commentates about life as it was for her then, whilst observing the present day occupants of the house she has haunted for many years. We also have Annie Sweet detailing her present life with her daughter and the mounting interest she has in Lily Painter.

There is a lot of historical fact within this book, the named baby farmers who have their part in this story are based upon real people, well researched and smoothly inserted into the story line.

The story depends on more than a little coincidence but that in no way detracted from the immense pleasure I got from reading this book.

I recommend this book to those interested in this history of the 20th Century although there is enough substance in this book that I believe this book would be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good, well written story.
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