Tuesday, June 21, 2011

'The Girl Who Would Speak For the Dead' by Paul Elwork

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Emily Stewart is the girl who claims to stand between the living and the dead. During the quiet summer of 1925, she and her brother, Michael, are thirteen-year-old twins-privileged, precocious, wandering aimlessly around their family's estate. One day, Emily discovers that she can secretly crack her ankle in such a way that a sound appears to burst through the stillness of midair. Emily and Michael gather the neighborhood children to fool them with these "spirit knockings."
Soon, however, this game of contacting the dead creeps into a world of adults still reeling from World War I. When the twins find themselves dabbling in the uncertain territory of human grief and family secrets- knock, knock-everything spins wildly out of control.

First thoughts after finishing this book:   Hmmm....that was interesting and creepy.

What I liked about the book:
  • the author really created a sinister, dark atmosphere. So if you're looking for that type of read this one is it.
  • I couldn't decide if I liked Michael or not. Part of me kept thinking he was an evil, twisted child!
  • Emily- she was born a wise, old soul. It was interesting to watch how she internalized and really thought about how her so-called "spiritual readings" were affecting the people that were involved. She's a very sensitive and inquisitive child and one that I grew attached to while reading the story.
  • The main thread of grief that was woven throughout the story and how people go through that process differently and how the thought of contacting your loved one will make you believe in just about anything!
What I didn't like:
  • the story started out a bit slow for me, but I never wanted to jump ship. 
Personal thoughts:
  • After my mom's mother passed away, my mom was obsessed with contacting her through some sort of medium. No one in the family would really talk to her about it except for me. I was more than willing to take my mom to see John Edward, but she never did get the courage up to buy the tickets. I'm sure plenty of people told her that it was all fake and what not, but much like the characters in this story, my mom NEEDED closure and ACHED for just one more minute with her beloved mother. I wanted that for her more than anything...even if it came from a charlatan. 
Recommend? This book has me sitting on the fence a bit because you sort of have to be in the right mood for this one. It's a well-written story and that's what kept me turning the pages. I stayed connected to Emily and it was my need to know how her story turned out that worked for me. If you're a fan of Amy Einhorn books then you will indeed enjoy this one. I think she publishes quality stories and this one is no exception.

Rating: 8/10

Author: Paul Elwork
Published: March 2011
Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam
Genre: Atmospheric Literary Fiction
Source: Shelf Awareness
ISNB: 9780399157172
* ARC 
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel

© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I do like the sound of this book Staci. I wanted my SIL to see someone like John Edwards, but she had no interest.

  2. I like creepy stories so it seems I would enjoy this one (although I haven't read any Amy Einhorn books but now I think I should look them up!).

  3. If I wasn't in the right mood I will just give up and move on. So it's tricky

  4. I think I would be on the fence with this one too... I think I would have to be in the mood for that topic to capture my moment! :):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  5. Sounds, as you say, "interesting and creepy"!

  6. Interesting write up, Staci....I guess the reader knows going into this one that it's going to be an unusual experience, made even more so if you have "tender spots" from personal experiences or personal grief.

  7. I'll have to think about whether this is a book for me- given the creepy factor. I appreciate your review, Staci.

  8. I think this one looks good, but after reading your review I'm thinking I might need to be in the mood for it. I'm willing to read about this stuff although I have yet to actually believe in it! But I never say never :)

  9. I'm so glad to hear your thoughts about this book, Staci. I have it downloaded on my Kindle to read at some point this summer. I was interested in what you said about your mother and grief. It's a funny thing isn't it? You never know how people are going to manage - some do better than others and some become quite odd in what they for closure or whatnot. And there's no timeline on when grief should end is there? A lot to think about.

  10. No kidding, I have tried to comment three times now and have lost the comment each time. Let's hope this one sticks.

    I don't care for creepy kids but I do like creepy. Funny, because so many of us chose this book for you when you asked us to pick.

  11. I like creepy stories and the WWI aspect has me intrigued!

  12. I do love Amy Einhorn books, so I'll have to give this one a try. My mom's mother told her she would contact her from the beyond if it was possible. It's been 47 years and either she hasn't contacted her or my mom was not receptive to it.

  13. I really want to read this now. I can relate with your mom a bit. John Edward was in town earlier this year and I really wanted to go to see if my father would come through. I had a lot of people tell me that it was silly and I'm not even sure what I feel about mediums, so I didn't go. I'm now wishing I had.

  14. A good reason to keep up-to-date with loved ones as we never know when our last communication could be. I do enjoy Amy Einhorn books.

  15. Wow, this one sounds exceptionally creepy. I do get in that mood quite often. Thanks for the heads up. I have not heard of this author.

  16. Actually his really sounds like my kinda book. I love creepy atmospheres and I love paranormal when it is combined with historical settings. Great review.

  17. I stay away from this kind of stuff, so this book is not for me.

  18. Interesting thoughts on this one Staci. I can relate to your mum needing closure, I would have done just about anything after my baby girl died to have some sort of message given to me. I do like a creepy read but hmm still a bit undecided. Thanks for great review though :)

  19. I really want to read this one. I love creepy! Plus that Is one awesome cover!

  20. it sounds interesting and good for you for listening to your mothers needs.

  21. I'm intrigued. Will have to read the book. I used to watch the John Edwards show. One of the guilty pleasure things and one of those things you'd like to believe but really can't. Bless you for wanting to give your mom a sense of closure.

  22. I love creepy and sinister novels, yet I hadn't heard of this one. It sounds really good and like something I would love to read. Thanks for the great review! :)

  23. This doesnt sound like my kinda thing but I am curious about the story.

  24. I like the sound of this one! It will be perfect for October reading, with Halloween around the corner. Excelletn review :)


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