The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James
I said to myself sometime after the new year, “Mandy, pace yourself on Simone St. James novels. Her next book isn’t out until 2018, and there are only about five more you can read until then. A book every other month should do it.”
And then I read this book, and I’m still currently in a Simone St. James author binge read that I can’t seem to get out of. Welp.
Let’s start off with the basics and a little help from Goodreads should do the trick:
London, 1925. Glamorous medium Gloria Sutter made her fortune helping the bereaved contact loved ones killed during the Great War. Now she’s been murdered at one of her own séances, after leaving a message requesting the help of her former friend and sole rival, Ellie Winter.
Ellie doesn’t contact the dead—at least, not anymore. She specializes in miraculously finding lost items. Still, she can’t refuse the final request of the only other true psychic she has known. Now Ellie must delve into Gloria’s secrets and plunge back into the world of hucksters, lowlifes, and fakes. Worse, she cannot shake the attentions of handsome James Hawley, a damaged war veteran who has dedicated himself to debunking psychics.
As Ellie and James uncover the sinister mysteries of Gloria’s life and death, Ellie is tormented by nightmarish visions that herald the grisly murders of those in Gloria’s circle. And as Ellie’s uneasy partnership with James turns dangerously intimate, an insidious evil force begins to undermine their quest for clues, a force determined to bury the truth, and whoever seeks to expose it…
Whatever it is about the 1920s setting and atmosphere that Simone St. James loves, I’m beginning to love it, too. St. James is the master of atmosphere and mood in her novels, and this book was no exception. She created a haunting, chilling setting that never bordered on too creepy or scary, but just enough to make you want to curl in a good blanket by a fireplace at night and…maybe rethink about locking your doors and not looking out the window in case you make eye contact with any unsettled spirits sticking around. She creates such a lovely setting and mood that you become so absorbed in it that you never want to leave – which creates a major problem when you have a huge stack of library books you really want to read but are now sucked into the endless St. James void.
Ellie is fantastic heroine. I enjoyed her a lot. She’s strong, she knows what she is and isn’t willing to do, but she’s also lonely. She’s easy to relate to for these reasons, and even though some of her choices weren’t exactly some that a lot of people would make – who really wants to go after the killer of a girl who had helped destroy your mother’s career? – you could see why she did decide to make them. I liked her a lot, and it was fun to go on her journey.
The romance between Ellie and James was great as well. They had a bit of a background, so it wasn’t as instalovey as The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which I’m not going to lie was another amazing book by St. James. It was another hate-to-love kind of situation, but as the story goes on, you could understand why both of them had the feelings in the beginning, and you could feel the relationship growth. The feels were well deserved with this one.
The storyline was interesting as well. Instead of it just being a good ghost story like a good deal of her other ones, there is much more of a mystery element to this one, and the whole psychic aspect was well-researched and never forgotten as a key element along with the ghosts. The search for a killer definitely provided twists and turns, and I totally didn’t see the ending coming. However, it did feel like it might have gotten a bit too outlandish at the end, but it was still very interesting and tied the story together nicely at the end. However, I did give the final reveal a skeptical eyebrow raise.
Overall, though, this was such an enjoyable read. St. James has easily proven herself to be a talented writer. If you’re in any way a gothic ghost story fan that is looking for a touch of mystery and romance, St. James is perfect for you. Or if you’re looking for a way into the genre, this is definitely a great book for that. This was also such a breezy read that I devoured it a matter of hours. I’m going to try and stop fangirling now, but it’s so hard. Also, please, someone help me get out of the void and tell me to read something else. 😄
A five crown rating, and Rapunzel and Aurora rating for this gothic ghostie novel!
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What do you think? Have you read this book or any of her books? Have you ever done an author binge? What do you think of them and how do you make it stop??