- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 814 KB
- Print Length: 462 pages
- Publisher: HQ (31 Oct. 2019)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07QBGVL9X
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer reviews: 171 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,731 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Lost Ones: The most captivating and haunting ghost story and debut novel of 2020. Kindle Edition
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Praise for The Lost Ones:
‘Supernatural and historical intertwine in Anita Frank’s unsettling first novel … reminiscent of other tales of the supernatural, but conveys its own frissons and shocks’
‘With wonderful character … This is a brilliantly gothic adventure – and the perfect winter page-turner’ Sunday Mirror
‘A spine-tingling debut from Anita Frank is part ghost story, part murder mystery, and the perfect chilling read as the nights turn colder and longer’ OK!
‘I loved it SO MUCH – so creepy and compelling, full of atmosphere and gave me goosebumps…’ Lisa Hall, the bestselling author
‘If you liked A Woman in Black, you’ll love this utterly gripping and atmospheric book’ Woman & Home
‘Haunting, emotional and exquisitely written’ Amanda Jennings
‘For fans of Henry James and Susan Hill, this chilling supernatural mystery is written in the classic mould. Intriguing, moving and assured’ Essie Fox
‘My coffee is stone cold. My palms are sweaty. I’ve raced to the shocking final twist of this lush, beautifully written historical novel. A gripping ghost story with an achingly poignant family mystery at its heart’ Samantha King
‘An assured debut novel combining two well-loved literary genres set in country houses: the haunted house and the Agatha Christie-style whodunnit. Anita Frank’s fiendishly devised plot springs a succession of shocks and revelations that keep you gripped until the final page’ Noel O’Reilly
‘Will send shivers down your spine … An eerie, emotionally supernatural tale’ Sunday Express
‘Dark and devilish’ Sunday Post
‘A spine-tingling gothic tale of family tragedy, loss and redemption’ My Weekly--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
The most captivating and haunting ghost story and debut novel of 2020.--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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Stella Marcham, the novel’s protagonist is a VAD nurse, captured in the bleak hinterland of the First World War years. Her service has known a particularly personal horror - the death of her fiance, Gerald, which has precipitated a breakdown and subsequent suicide attempt. Saved by her rather eccentric young maid, Annie Burrows, and despite rough treatment at the hands of a decidedly Victorian doctor, Stella recovers enough to visit her pregnant sister Madeleine at her gothic country estate, Greyswick. Historically the more sanguine of the sisters, Madeleine has recently declined into a state of withdrawn fearfulness after a series of supernatural happenings at the house which only she has experienced. The family’s hope that Stella will inject a much-needed dose of rationale to proceedings backfires when Stella herself begins to experience the same events which seem to revolve around the tragic and early death of step-child, Lucien. Add to the mix a house full of sinister fellow occupants - the delightfully dour housekeeper Mrs Henge, the Mrs Haversham-esque matriarch Lady Brightwell - and you have all the makings of a traditional Gothic romp.
What elevates this familiar tale, however, is Frank’s refusal to rely on the conventions of the ghost story trope. Rebelling against the woman-as-hysteric stereotype, Stella sets about trying to uncover the secrets of the house with feminist gusto. Her verbal exchanges with the war veteran turned paranormal investigator, Tristan Sheers, are particularly enjoyable, undercut, as they are, with a guiltily sexual frisson. Here, as elsewhere, woman are cast as unapologetically complete beings; their feelings of rage, lust and vengefulness as much an advert for maternalism as they are motherhood.
There are secrets-a-plenty, of course, but again, Frank skillfully shows both sides of the argument, making the case for the complexity that resides within her characters. As might be expected for this period, class is depicted as having as much a hand as gender in the characters’ actions, especially in the case of servant Annie Burrows who is forced to suppress her particular talents for fear of being cast out of polite society altogether.
Ultimately, there are no winners in the tragedies that permeate Greyswick, a conclusion that says much about the female condition in this period of history, even as they strive for a sense of equality and agency.
Perhaps as a consequence of its focus, the male characters are dealt a less generous hand in events, with only the metaphorically and literally scarred Mr Sheers having much of an emotional backstory. Together with Stella, however, readers are left in no doubt about the horrors of the war which form the novel’s backdrop.
Surprisingly for a debut, Frank shows great control in the unravelling of her narrative, and as a whole the pace and progression of the novel is superb. Reminiscent of Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger, the almost leisurely first half of the novel paves the way for a considerable increase in tension and intrigue as the walls literally start to close in on the characters. Frank’s prose is a joy to read - her voice and evocation of setting and atmosphere spot on - although the occasional over-fondness for multiple adjectives within a sentence sometimes threaten its pace and elegance.
I’m not sure that readers familiar with the genre will find many surprises in the novel’s reveals, although in many ways this provides no problems for its ultimate enjoyment. Overall, this is a complex and thoroughly engrossing tale, whose surprises and joys lie more in its point of view and attitude than the novelty of its events.
I am in my 40s but my teenagers are reading it next and I am sure they will enjoy it as much as me - if not more.
This edition is has a glossy front cover and the writing is on the larger side which suited me perfectly.
My only problem with it as currently there is no book no 2! Aggh!
The intrigue had me on the edge of my seat and it took so many twists and turns that I found myself guessing the plot and being proved wrong as it veered around another bend. The setting was cinematic to read, the personalities all carried their own emotions and back stories wonderfully and the tension was very real as all the secrets and ghosts careered towards a vibrant ending!
I loved every minute of it and it’s one of those books that has left me not knowing what to read next as it’s surely not going to be as good as this.
I did find some strands of this book a cliche but others were atmospheric.
I don't think the book will win prizes for originality or major twists but it was a pleasant (not scary) read.
Top international reviews
The novel starts with Stella Markham a VAD in WWI who is grieving the death of her fiancé. She has had a hard time overcoming her grief and has her family worried, especially after a suicide attempt. There is an overbearing doctor eager to institutionalize her to add to her woes. Enter her brother-in-law Hector who asks her to visit her pregnant sister Madeleine at his country estate Greyswick. Madeleine is having issues feeling comfortable at the house and since she had suffered a miscarriage before, Hector wants her to feel safe and comfortable.
Since servants are scarce due to the War, Stella takes the newest maid Annie with her to Greyswick. Annie is an odd girl given to talking to herself and other strange behaviors. Once at Greyswick we meet Lady Brightwell, Hector’s mother and Madeleine’s mother-in-law and quite the dragon lady she is, her companion Miss Scott a a sweet lady, and Mrs. Henge the Mrs.Danvers(ish) housekeeper. Then the odd things start, toy soldiers in the bed, the sound of a crying child, the creepy oppressive stairs to the nursery, is the house haunted or is Stella’s mind really playing tricks on her? Lady Brightwell is of course a sceptic as is Mrs. Henge. Madeleine has had the same experiences and fears the house and fears for her baby. Enter Hector and his “friend” Mr. Sheers. Mr Sheers turns out to be a paranormal debunker, and the game is afoot. Is the house really haunted, or are Madeleine and Stella just nervous Nellies who need the men in their lives to coddle them and set them on the straight and narrow?
Anita Frank did a wonderful job of showing the way women were treated during this time, as fragile beings that needed to be shown the right way or be declared insane. Each woman in this book is strong in their own right, though no always righteous.
If you are looking for a good book that has ghosts, history and social mores, this is the book for you. I highly recommend this book and look for more books from Anita Frank in the future.
We start in 1917 with poor Stella mourning the death of her fiancé in the war. Her family thinks that she should be over her grief by now and they employ the help of various physicians who basically consider her to be a hysterical female. Her family is planning to send her away for a “cure” when she has the opportunity to visit her married and pregnant sister Madeleine at Greyswick. Her sister is struggling to be comfortable at her husband’s family home, trapped there with his mother and his former nanny. Stella arrives with her young maid Annie and strange things start happening. Stella, her sister, and her maid all hear crying and other odd noises in the night. Annie in particular seems to have the gift of being able to see and communicate with the dead. The women believe that the house is haunted by Lucien Brigtwell who died in the house when he was a young boy. The women are accused of being emotionally unstable. When Madeleine’s husband comes to the house, he brings along a “friend” named Tristan Sheers. Mr. Sheers is a wounded war veteran who has a special interest in debunking tales of hauntings and the supernatural. As noises and odd events continue to happen, even Mr. Sheers cannot deny the truth. Family secrets are uncovered in an attempt to put Lucien’s spirit to rest.
This is a debut novel for the author and I liked her writing style. Ms. Frank is a decent story teller, but I thought the story was overly long and really dragged in places. The author did a nice job of developing the atmosphere of the house and the character of some of the inhabitants. But when I think about classic gothic novels, such as works by Wilkie Collins (whose fantastic book The Woman in White actually figures in this novel) there is just no comparison.