The Lost Girl by Rosie Goodwin: lose yourself in the heartaches, drama, and wonderful storytelling – book review –

The Lost Girl by Rosie GoodwinThe Lost Girl by Rosie Goodwin
The Lost Girl by Rosie Goodwin
Add a welcome ray of light to the dark days of winter as Rosie Goodwin, one of Britain’s best-loved saga queens, conjures up her storytelling magic for a drama-packed tale of hardship, mystery and restless spirits.

A former social worker and foster mother, four-million-copy bestselling author Goodwin has penned over forty beautiful, heartwarming novels, exploring life and love in days gone by. She was also awarded the rights to follow three of the late, great Tyneside writer Catherine Cookson’s trilogies with her own sequels.

And now she’s back to win our hearts again with a gritty tale which features the battles and hardships of two siblings forced to live with their cold and uncaring grandfather, and delivers Goodwin’s winning blend of romance, intrigue, an engaging cast of characters, and richly detailed, authentic and atmospheric settings.

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When their gypsy father Django goes missing and their mother Constance, a vicar’s daughter, dies suddenly, 13-year-old Esme and 15-year-old Gabriel are forced to leave their gypsy caravan in Nottingham and track down their estranged clergyman grandfather, Septimus Silver, in Lincolnshire.

Strict and unwelcoming, he is reluctant to take them in at the rectory but, aware of his standing as the village’s vicar, he knows must protect his reputation and is persuaded by his housekeeper Mrs Sparrow to allow the children to stay with him.

Esme’s relief at finding refuge soon turns to despair when Gabriel is sent to boarding school in Skegness, leaving her alone in their grandfather's unhappy home. But the house isn’t as empty as it first appeared and Esme, who has the rare gift of being able to see spirits, begins to encounter the ghosts of young women in the abandoned rooms and dark corridors of the rectory.

The women are trapped between this world and the next, and seek help from Esme, leaving her with a mystery to solve if she is to stand a chance of ever finding a peaceful, happy life. Can she lay the ghosts to rest to save herself... and can she find the new life she so desperately needs?

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Unsurprisingly, Goodwin is one of the most borrowed authors from UK libraries and here she packs in all those human events and emotions – births and deaths, loves and losses, good people and bad people – that have made her novels so beloved by readers over the decades.

Esme and Gabriel’s struggles after their father’s disappearance and their mother’s death proves to be a gripping emotional rollercoaster with plot twists aplenty and a story full of cruelty and sadness, but also friendship and determination.

Full of Goodwin’s wisdom and warmth, and with the author’s delicious recipe for a classic apple pie to tickle the taste buds, this is a story to cuddle up with by the fireside and lose yourself in the heartaches, drama, and wonderful storytelling.

(Zaffre, paperback, £8.99)

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