Monday, April 18, 2016


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…


There's a lot to love about this gothic style novel - a haunted mansion, murder mystery, and a cantankerous old aunt. This is the first book by Simone St James that I've read and I will definitely read more of her work because this story was great!

The setting is England during World War I. Jo Manders' RAF pilot husband went off to war, but never returned after his plane went missing. Neither a wife or a widow, Jo had to fend for herself and for her mother who lives in an insane asylum. She is forced to accept a position as a paid companion to her husband's aunt and they end up at the family estate, Wych Elm House. It is here that Jo encounters the ghost of her husband's dead sister and stumbles upon an unsolved murder mystery. 

This page-turner is spooky, atmospheric, and gripping. Filled with edgy, complicated characters. There is something going on in each and every chapter. It was so good that I read the book in one sitting. Yup, this book has it all - intrigue, surprise, a gothic setting, and an endearing warm story, and more. Definitely worth reading! I loved it.

Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog,, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit

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