An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James: A Book Review

An Inquiry into Love and Death
Author: Simone St. James
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Berkley 
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 368
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: In 1920's England, a young woman searches for the truth behind her uncle’s mysterious death in a town haunted by a restless ghost… 

     Oxford student Jillian Leigh works day and night to keep up with her studies—so to leave at the beginning of the term is next to impossible. But after her uncle Toby, a renowned ghost hunter, is killed in a fall off a cliff, she must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. 

     Almost immediately, unsettling incidents—a book left in a cold stove, a gate swinging open on its own—escalate into terrifying events that convince Jillian an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost who haunts Blood Moon Bay? And who beside the ghost is roaming the local woods at night? If Toby uncovered something sinister, was his death no accident? 

     The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken, a former RAF pilot with mysteries of his own, leaves Jillian with more questions than answers—and with the added complication of a powerful, mutual attraction. Even as she suspects someone will do anything to hide the truth, she begins to discover spine-chilling secrets that lie deep within Rothewell…and at the very heart of who she is.  

     My Review: Jillian is a studious Oxford student. One day, she learns that her uncle, Toby, a ghost hunter, has been killed while investigating a ghost in a small seaside town. Jillian has been forced to take a leave of absence and go to town to collect his belongings. Once Jillian arrives, she notices that there is something sinister about the town. She also realizes that her uncle’s death was no mere accident. She teams up with a detective from Scotland Yard, Drew Merriken to solve the mystery of her uncle’s death.

   Jillian is a very hard-working student and is very devoted to her studies. She is upset when she has to leave Oxford to collect her uncle’s belongings. However, Jillian is very observant. When she arrives at the cottage where her uncle stayed, she notices that something is wrong. She is also very curious and wants to look into the death of her uncle. I also love Jillian’s interactions with Drew. They made a great team.

  Overall, this book is about love, secrets, and ghosts. The characters were very engaging. The mystery was predictable, and the ghost only made a brief appearance. Frankly, I was disappointed that this was not very much a paranormal book. I thought the ghost story in this novel was confusing and made very little sense. However, there is still enough chemistry between the main two leads that will keep you interested. The minor characters are also very intriguing because there is a sense that they are hiding something from the protagonist. The spectral landscape is shadowy and mysterious that will keep you entranced with the story. An Inquiry Into Love and Death are perfect for people interested in Gothic romances, mysteries, and spooky settings. Simone St. James has proved that she is an author not to be missed, and I am excited to get my hands on her other novels!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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