Hello Sunshines, I hope everyone is safe and well?! I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the charming book; The Lost Girls by Jennifer Wells, plus I have a little excerpt for you all to fall in love with. This post was scheduled to be shared in April, but as we all know one thing leads to another and we fall behind…..Oops! So, here it is ridiculously late, sorry! I hope you all enjoy it!
Everyone remembers the day the girls went missing.
May Day 1912, a day that haunts Missensham. The day two girls disappeared. The day the girls were murdered.
Iris Caldwell and Nell Ryland were never meant to be friends. From two very different backgrounds, one the heir to the Caldwell estate, the other a humble vicar’s daughter. Both have their secrets, both have their pasts, but they each find solace with one another and soon their futures become irrevocably intertwined.
Now, many years later, old footage has emerged which shows that Iris Caldwell may not have died on that spring morning. The village must work out what happened the day the girls went missing…
I do love a historical with an added mystery which makes you really think about the story that as you read along, and this is one of those books that captivates and engages with its wonderfully intriguing tale.
I did think that the story started off on the slow side, and it wasn’t until further into the book when the mystery of the two girls and their entwining lives and tales that the story really picked up the pace. But I thoroughly enjoyed it when the story started to flow and I was turning the pages like a flash wanting to know what happened next.
One day in 1912, two completely different girls go missing, a mystery that stands the test of time until something is revealed many years later, which makes those involved wonder.
Nell and Iris shouldn’t have been friends, they were at opposite ends of the social spectrum, yet they were. One a bit of a rebel, an heiress and the other a good vicars daughter, but were they as their social standing perceived them to be? There was more about these two young girls that met the eye and that caught my attention straight away I was intrigued by them. Then May the first 1912 they went out and suddenly these two young girls were never to be seen again, that is until a crackly old film is discovered which proves that one of the girls may not have been murdered on that fateful day as the people of the village thought, but what happened?
You know I am not going to divulge that little snippet, you will just have to read it for yourselves, but one thing though you won’t be disappointed with the outcome.
I can’t fault the authors writing at all I really loved the way this was written split between two era’s and two women, Nell’ smother; Agnes in 1937 and then back in 1912 with Nell, it has to be said that I am rather fond of the split timeline, even though some can be a bit tricky to follow this is done beautifully, the two perspective’s flow so easily from one to the other.
This is the first I have read by Jennifer wells, and I hugely enjoyed her captivating and fluid writing, that made this book a real joy to read. Her writing really captures your attention and keeps you hooked and you never want the story to end, and at the same time, you are desperate to know what happens. The characters jumped off the page and drew you into their world, I love the vividness with the historical detail, it captured my imagination and I was transported to each era.
This is a great story, it’s fresh, clever, engaging, surprising, richly detailed and hugely enjoyable to read. Highly recommend if you love our historicals and mysteries.
I left Haughten Hall with neither the comfort nor understanding I had been hoping for. There had been something about Sir Howard’s manner that morning that had been more sour than usual and, as we had said our brief goodbyes, I had seen a detachment in his eyes, as if his mind was already on other things.
As I reached the bottom of the driveway, I stopped and looked back at the big old house with its red brick walls and grand columned porch. It was something that I always did after my visits, hoping to see a face in one of the long windows or even the twitch of a curtain but as always there was nothing to see. The curtains were open in every window but the light from the mid-afternoon sun caught the chequers of glass in such a way that the whole place seemed armoured against my stare.
Nell had never appeared to me at Haughten Hall. Back in 1912 she had always complained of our visits there. In fact, she would sometimes say that she hated Iris but I was sure that this was down to nothing more than childish resentment as Iris was a sweet-natured girl, with never a bad word to say about anyone. Even back then Nell must have sensed the closeness between Howard and myself; she once accused me of being overly familiar with him – something she turned her nose up at.
I supposed that Nell’s complaints were the reason that she chose to stay away now, and I had never even glimpsed so much as her shadow lingering in a corner or her reflection in a windowpane. I suspected that she knew of my visits to Sir Howard and for this reason, every visit made me feel a little guilty as if I was somehow betraying her.
It was this guilt that made me hesitate as I crossed back over the little plank bridge. I thought then that I should do what Nell would have wanted so I took the right turn towards Missensham Common instead of heading home. I did not like to take the main track, so I cut across the grass at the first chance I got, and followed a steep trail through the gorse where the grass had been grazed close to the earth by rabbits and sheep.
After a while my joints began to ache and my breaths quicken from the thin air of the higher ground but I realised that the day was actually a fine one for April – the bracken already a rich green and the exotic smell of the first bloom of gorse catching in the air – and I stopped to look at the view.
On the far side of the common I could just make out the cart track which hugged the lower slopes, and then, halfway along it a small thicket known locally as the Blood Elms, but that was a place that I did not like to go. Beyond the thicket, the edge of the common gave way to a view of Missensham: the Oxworth Road winding its way between the new housing estates, a single car crawling silently along the tarmac; the shop-lined high street; the spire of St Cuthbert’s; the small patch of village green. I could even see the round canopy of the oak tree that blocked the morning sun from the windows of my cottage.
I headed on across the grass towards the far end of the common where there was a cluster of tall fir trees, a group of twisted black chimneys rising among them.
About the Author
Jennifer works in Market Research when not writing. She lives in Devon with her young family and cat. The Secret is her third novel in the series set in fictional Missenham in the Home Counties.
Twitter: @jenwellswriter / Facebook: @JenniferWells
I just want to make a brief apology to Jennifer and the team over at Aria for not posting this review on my day of this amazing blog tour. I think many will agree with me when I say the last few weeks/months have been a bit on the weird side and I’m afraid I have let things slide a little and now I am drastically playing catch up.
So, for all those who missed out on the blog tour, why not check out each of these amazing blogs which participated in this tour and show them some love?