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Summary

London, 1880. When accounts clerk Ernest Stibbins approaches the World's End investigation bureau with wild claims that his wife Albertina has been warned by her spirit guides that someone is out to harm her, the bureau's owner Lily Raynor and her new employee Felix Wilbraham are sceptical. 

How are the two private enquiry agents supposed to investigate threats from beyond the grave? But after she attends a seance at the Stibbins family home, Lily comes to realize that Albertina is in terrible danger. And soon, so is Lily herself....

©2019 Alys Clare (P)2019 Oakhill Publishing

What listeners say about The Woman Who Spoke to Spirits

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Better than expected

I expected something fun and easy to read.
I got that but also more grit on the lives and deaths of Victorian women than I expected.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • K
  • 23-01-20

Yesterday's prose.

This is a book but not a novel. The word novel implies something new or original and this story is far from that. In fact, the plot and characterisation in general is rather demode. It's not only that Lily is often reliant on the men around her, I assume the Victorian setting is a nod at making these stereotypes acceptable, but it is incongruous with the rest of her characterisation: we are supposed to believe Lily is able to defy convention so far as to set up her own private detective agency and hire a man as a subordinate and yet ,soon after, she often defers to him - it's confusing.

There are also clanging notes aplenty when the writer's choice of historical setting doesn't seem to have affected the modern morality that she peddles out. Writers can't select a historical period and then shoe-horn in modern scruples - it doesn't work. Why do so many writers patronise us in this way? We DO notice these incongruities.

It may just be me but I'm bored with being presented with these old gender tropes, even if it is in a crinoline. I don't want to see fainting females coddled or bullied or even validated by the men around them - give me something novel. Please.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Very enjoyable

Very easy listening and brilliantly narrated, I love the spark growing between the two main characters and looking forward to more in this series

1 person found this helpful

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Absorbing !

Very atmospheric and intriguing. Also kind to the listener by not making the story over long.

1 person found this helpful

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  • John S.
  • 03-02-20

Promising series start

I try to to cut some slack for first book in the series, as in addition to plotting the author has to introduce an entire world for the main character to inhabit. I felt she did that well enough here, while still maintaining some sort of mystery about Lucy's father's death, and implied tragic episode in India. Felix proved an interesting enough character, though I kept seeing him as perhaps a bit older than intended.

In critic mode, I'll say that I did get a feel at times that these were modern characters dropped into a Victorian setting. Was "the F Word" really all that common, as Felix uses it on more than one occasion? Similarly, the journalist's feminism was a bit heavy-handed for the time I thought. It's possible that a woke male might have existed, but here it felt contrived.

I do hope that he, and the actress, are both intended as regular series secondary characters. On the other hand, I'm a bit concerned that the sailor might prove part of a love triangle, which really would be a negative for me.

Excellent narration! The present tense was something I got used to, though it never really bothered me much.




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  • Meoww09
  • 17-12-19

Better than I expected. Well nqrrated.

Good storyline and characters have depth. Reminded me of the Barker and Llewellyn series. looking forward to book 2

1 person found this helpful