17446625

Eloise

By Judy Finnigan

Released September, 2013 by Redhook

Length: 384 pages

Genre: British contemporary mystery/ paranormal-ghosts

Rating: 3 and a half Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

A grieving best friend promises her friend’s ghost to save her kids from him

Set in Cromwell, with multiple references to Daphne du Maurier and her book Rebecca, both from Cromwell, comes a book about a woman who is haunted by the ghost of her newly dead best friend.  At forty-five, Eloise had succumbed to a five year battle with breast cancer. At the surface, it was cancer that took her life. But as her spirit remains, sneaking into Cathy’s dreams and pleading, mysteriously, with Cathy to not trust “him” and protect her girls, a mystery novel is born. Already fragile, having suffered from a clinical depression breakdown, Cathy isn’t the most reliable source when it comes to trying to convince those around her that there was something amiss in Eloise’s death and with Eloise’s husband, Ted.

Although Eloise’s ghost often haunts Cathy, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a ghost story. It is more of a mystery fueled by a spirit, if that makes sense. Nonetheless, Cathy is driven by what her best friend is telling her, alienating her from her husband and family. Part mystery novel, part novel on loss, Finnigan’s first novel is a success. I found myself drawn to Cathy; rooting for her when her psychiatrist husband shames her in front of her children, and everyone else; I could relate to her desperation and need to right a wrong, what wrong she doesn’t find out until the end. And, my the ending. I haven’t read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but know of the twisty, holy hell ending. Let’s just say there was some of that here. I certainly didn’t expect some of what was discovered. Not even just secrets that were kept. It’s events, too.

I am normally not a fan of mysteries. I chose not to read Gone Girl and other similar books. I actually don’t remember what drew me to this book in the first place. I had it on my nook for a while. I picked up at page 30, where I left off two days ago, and promptly finished in one sitting. I’m glad I chose this novel. This wasn’t one of my regrettable choices. This is a solid contemporary mystery debut. The “paranormal” aspect isn’t so much paranormal and aliens are coming after you stuff. It is done in a nice, haunting way that is surprisingly relatable. The novel isn’t just about solving a mysterious case, it is a look at what happens when someone close to us dies; and, sometimes we never feel like they left, and if they did they left with unfinished business. I quite enjoyed this book as a whole. The plot was well-developed; you want to continue demystifying the mystery; Cathy is a great narrator; and the novel is multifaceted.  Well done Mrs. Finnigan on your first novel. I am impressed and look forward to reading another one of your novels.

I hope, my readers, that you will at least take a glance at this novel. It is more than what is at its surface. And, if you liked Gone Girl, I really think you’ll like Eloise.

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