My rating: 5 of 5 stars
1 – If this hadn’t been written by Lily Morton I would never have read it as I don’t really do ghosts and ghouls any more.
2 – It was set in York, a city that was almost a second home to me in my younger days and which I love, living as I do only 35 miles away.
So, the book. As you can probably tell by my rating and where I’ve shelved it, I absolutely LOVED it. Lily is without doubt one of my absolute favourite authors, and this had all the hallmarks I’d expect from her, but it was also quite a departure in storytelling.
Not that all the Lily Morton elements aren’t there. This book still has two characters who will steal your hearts. It’s still full of British banter and snark and it still has a heart-meltingly good romance anchoring the narrative.
BUT helpful ghosts and malevolent spirits are not the usual fare from Lily.
Painful pasts and dickhead exes and a real sense of place, which is vividly drawn in the location and the interactions between the main characters and their surroundings, are her hallmarks and are executed with flair here.
Lily slowly builds up the tension as poor Levi’s unexpected bequest of a house which overlooks Minster Yard (and OMG can I be jealous of a book character because those properties are stunning!) starts to feel just a little bit dangerous.
I do love a good ghost story, I just don’t usually read them any more, or visit York Dungeon, or walk down spooky streets late at night, because I’m no longer the devil may care young person I once was and I couldn’t run away if something did pop out of a gravestone 🤣
But not only did I read this one, I read it all in one go, not finishing it until gone midnight and I couldn’t put it down. Everything is perfectly placed.
The slow reveal of the mystery (and okay I guessed it at the start but that’s just because I usually do – I think it comes from years of devouring Agatha Christie as a teenager) was so very well done. I loved the different feel of how all the spirits interacted with both Levi and Blue. My heart hurt a lot at times but there’s also great joy in this book.
And, can I say, as secondary characters go, Lily not only has such a knack with creating ones which linger in the conscious and make you want their own stories, but she crafts them so real you can totally visualise a small bookshop, tucked away in site of the Minster, with a crotchety old man being rude to his customers but with a twinkle in his eye.
I LOVED Tom. I also vividly pictured Will and, while I know there’s another book at least for Black and Blue (and can I just say I love this title!), I wouldn’t be averse to seeing Will fall on his arse in love with someone (a rare breeds farmer would be perfect here, just saying Lily…)
If you hadn’t considered this book because it’s not Lily’s usual fare, please, please pick it up and read it, I promise you won’t regret it, because it pays homage to all the best things about this time of year.
And, if you’re ever up in York, take yourself on a Ghost Walk, they’re worth every penny to find out more about the secret side of this ancient and most beautiful cities. Pop in to the Minster while you’re there too, the Undercroft is worth the entry price alone.
As ever, all gushing totally my own work. I will be in York seeing Lily and a lot of other lovely book peeps in a week or so and I cannot wait to spend time in one of my favourite places ❤
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.