War leaves no one untouched…
The horrors of the Great War are not the only ghosts that haunt Helen Morrow and her late husband’s reclusive cousin, Paul. Unquiet spirits from another time and another conflict touch them.
A coded diary gives them clues to the mysterious disappearance of Paul’s great-grandmother in 1812, and the desperate voice of a young woman reaches out to them from the pages. Together Helen and Paul must search for answers, not only for the old mystery, but also the circumstances surrounding the death of Helen’s husband at Passchandaele in 1917.
As the mysteries entwine, their relationship is bound by the search for truth, in the present and the past.
Ease of reading:
Approx. 280-320 pages. Super easy to read. The writing just flowed like running water. This only took me 2 days to read and I had to do those annoying humanly things like eat, work and sleep in between.
Where to buy:
Gather the Bones popped up on my radar through a group challenge on Goodreads. I didn’t know anything about it, but the synopsis enthralled me and I felt like a bit of a change of pace, having not read many historical fantasy/romance books. It also simultaneously surprised and delighted me to find out that Alison Stuart actually lives in Australia too?! Even better! Now I can read a promising sounding book and support a fellow Aussie writer.
The story… well that just blew me away.
The beginning chapters of the story was a little flat, I think it could have been placed somewhere else in the story and worked better, but it quickly flowed past that and drew me in and I became completely engrossed in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting to know Helen, the lead female and her sweet daughter (Alice) and I secretly (ok maybe not so secretly now) adored Paul Morrow, our dashing, yet reclusive male lead. Alison brought these characters to life and very eloquently weaved her tale around the reader in such a way that you felt included in it. You weren’t just a fly on the wall, you got to see, hear, feel and experience the range of emotions, senses and experiences that each of the characters did.
Because of the historical romance genre, you do get your fair share of the bitchiness and gossiping that was rife in that time/genre. Alison did a fantastic job of bringing all that to the fore without going overboard and drowning out the storyline.
I especially enjoyed the paranormal element to this story. It added brilliantly to the already strong historical romance tale. It didn’t overpower the rest of the story, this was a truly well-balanced mix of genres which had a surprisingly wicked plot twist I didn’t see coming.
So, why 4 stars and not the sought after 5 star review?
The simple answer is, this:
I wanted a little more. There are unanswered questions in my mind, which isn’t to say that you have to end a story with a pretty pink bow of closure, but I felt a little let down when I didn’t get those answers.
Still, Gather the Bones is a thoroughly enjoyable read (that I was up till midnight reading last night!) that historical romance fans should enjoy, fans of paranormal books might enjoy the light theme too, mystery buffs may find the mystery a little too light, but might enjoy it. I think, your general all-rounder reader will probably enjoy this the most, because of its blend of genres. Ultimately, this is a well written and well executed story.
Thanks for the great trip back in time Alison!