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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Last To See Me by M Dressler


I had to finish out the month of October with a ghost story.  Happy Halloween!  I spotted this novel while looking at upcoming releases, and when I saw the main character was a ghost, I just had to read it.  What I got was part supernatural, part history, part philosophical.  

The novel takes place in Benito, California; a small Northern California town previously known in the early 1900's for the timber industry.  Now it's a quaint tourist stop.  Hunters--ghost hunters--are bonded by law, and hired to clear spirits out of places, and they've done a pretty good job in Benito--except for one ghost.

Emma Rose Finnis died in 1915, and she continues to haunt the town of Benito, and the stately Lambry Mansion.  Alice, the last Lambry, has died, and directed the mansion to be sold and the profits to be divided up between her distant family.  A obnoxious rich couple want to buy the mansion, and completely gut it and change it from the beautiful home it is into a contemporary monstrosity.  Emma won't have it. 

Philip Pratt is hired to clear out whatever spirit is causing all the trouble at the Lambry Mansion.  He teams up with the realtor, Ellen DeWight, to figure out who the spirit is--once he knows their name, he has all the power.  Emma is pretty smart, however, and has had plenty of practice honing her skills, and keeping her anger from allowing her to be seen.  

The novel switches back and forth between the contemporary plot, and Emma's life as a chambermaid in Benito.  Her mother died in childbirth, and her father died from a horrible logging accident, leaving Emma to fend for herself as a teenager.  She was a good girl, and only wanted to have a simple life, and maybe find some peace.  But that wasn't to be. After attracting the attention of one of the Lambry sons, Mrs. Lambry offers her a position as housekeeper to a family hired to help at the lighthouse on a desolate piece of land.  She takes the job, but what should be a means for her to save money and eventually leave quickly turns into a nightmare--and leads to Emma's death.  

You feel for Emma.  She's at times angry, sorrowful, and lonely.  Pratt has a job to do, and sees all spirits as not human, but creatures that harm living people.  When he sends them away, he destroys them--and whatever bits of humanity were left disappear.  It's an interesting novel, in that you see both sides of the story.  It's hard not to sympathize with Emma, however.  

The ending is a bit of a surprise, for sure.  There is more going on that you realize, until the last bit of the book.  And as you move closer to learning about Emma's death, the tension does grow.  You'll start to think about what death really means, and why some souls move on, and others stay.  What is it about a life that keeps us here?  And do those souls deserve a place here to heal?

A different kind of ghost story, and a good one.  The writing is beautiful, and ethereal.  A perfect tale for a dark, spooky night. 

Rating:  4/6 for a ghost story unlike any other I've read, with a compelling spirit you'll be rooting for, even though you wish her peace.  

Available in hardcover and ebook. 

Happy Halloween!!

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2 comments :

  1. This sounds like a winner! Happy Halloween to you Sue.

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    1. Thanks Judy! Yes, it was different. A good different.

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