Welcome to the latest stop on The Lost Child release blog tour. I’m so pleased to be hosting today and hope that you all enjoy my review. Do head on over to Amazon afterwards and buy your copy, it is a phenomenal read!
Mandy Miller disappeared from Hallow’s End when she was just 3 years old. She was never found.
Thirty years on, Elaine Ellis is carrying her mother’s ashes back to Hallow’s End to scatter them in the place that she once called home. Elaine has never been there, but it’s the only place Jean talked about while she was growing up – so it seems as good a place as any.
As Elaine settles into her holiday cottage in the peaceful Devonshire village, she gets to know the locals; family she never knew she had, eccentric and old-fashioned gentry, and new friends where she would least expect them. But she is intrigued by the tale of the missing girl that the village still carries at its heart, and which somehow continues to overshadow them all. Little does she know how much more involved in the mystery she will become…
The mystery surrounding Mandy Miller, ‘The Lost Child’ is encircled around you as a reader from the opening paragraphs of this book. Set in a small Devon village it is very easy to get your bearings and visualise the countryside settings including all of the people. It is easy to see how such a shocking event as the disappearance of child would turn such a village into a time capsule and the sense of the trauma affecting almost everyone who lives in the village is evident.
Our main protagonist Elaine is very hard to read at first but it becomes more evident as the book continues that she is very shy, withdrawn and has been held back socially for much of her life. She is quite unsure of herself and the death of her Mother whilst leaving her free to pursue her life in the way she has always wished for has also left her completely unsure of how life is supposed to be lived without this very overpowering character in her life.
This is most evident in the fact she wants to get away from the home she lived and grew up in with her Mother but the only place she could think to go to was the village where her Mum came from to scatter her ashes rather than somewhere for her to actually relax and unwind.
I connected with Brodie straight away. The young girl from the council estate, always wearing black baggy clothes and angry. Her negative feelings towards Mandy, her sister, were understandable given the impact Mandy’s disappearance, long before Brodie’s birth, had on her life. Despite her outwardly negative appearance she has the feel of someone who wants love and attention and it seems natural that her and Elaine connect in the way they do and find comfort in each other.
The other characters comfortably, and at times, uncomfortably, weave in and out of the story at the appropriate times building the suspense and drama of the situations that Elaine and Brodie encounter through the weeks the book covers.
One of the things I was most impressed with was that various mental health issues are tackled, some in passing, some more directly, but given that mental illness is such a huge part of our society (as a reviewer with bipolar I know a little about this) I sometimes get a bit disheartened by the number of books I read where this is never brought up, or it’s only ever in a very negative light. This book covers it in a very normal way, showing people with mental illness can be good, bad or indifferent. Very much like people without mental illness.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable book and very easy to read, I highly recommend it to readers who like a mystery but something that isn’t too dark.
About Ann Troup:
Ann Troup tells tales and can always make something out of nothing (which means she writes books and can create unique things from stuff other people might not glance twice at). She was once awarded 11 out of 10 for a piece of poetry at school – she now holds that teacher entirely responsible for her inclination to write.
Her writing space is known as ‘the empty nest’, having formerly been her daughters bedroom. She shares this space with ten tons of junk and an elderly Westie, named Rooney, who is her constant companion whether she likes it or not. He likes to contribute to the creative process by going to sleep on top of her paperwork and running away with crucial post-it notes, which have inadvertently become stuck to his fur. She is thinking of renaming him Gremlin.
She lives by the sea in Devon with her husband and said dog. Two children have been known to remember the place that they call home, but mainly when they are in need of a decent roast dinner, it’s Christmas or when only Mum will do. She also has extremely decent stepchildren.
In a former incarnation she was psychiatric nurse, an experience which frequently informs her writing. She has also owned a cafe and an art/craft gallery. Now she only makes bacon sandwiches as a sideline, but does continue to dabble with clay, paint, paper, textiles, glue…you name it.