Book Club: Lost Girl

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Author: J.C. Grey
ISBN: 9781489220509
RRP: $29.99

Lost Girl is the second novel I have read by J.C. Grey, though the first was quite a while ago when Southern Star was released early in 2014.

I have had a huge couple of weeks which have left me super tired and drained, thereby leaving me in need of a nice easy read…. Lost Girl was not it. The time line jumps from the present day to periods over the last couple of years allowing past and present to slowly come together and paint a complete picture of the lead character and the events that lead her to where she ends up. It was beautifully written and hauntingly put together, a heartbreaking story that is sure to have an impact on readers, but it wasn’t one that you could just escape into for some light relief or one that needed little concentration.

Emerald Reed-McAllister seems to have it all but when things get too hard to handle she runs, it’s what she’s always done. It doesn’t take long to discover that running is her survival mechanism, this time she ran with no destination in mind and it was purely by chance that she ended up at Lammermoor House. A dilapidated old house that seems welcoming; even though it seems to be fading away into the overgrown gardens and retreating from the world it offers a sense of sanctuary to Em.

Time is what Em needs most, to heal and to move forward and to find herself in the wake of the disaster that tore down the walls of her Sydney life. It isn’t until late in the book that we discover what the disaster was though there are hints from much earlier. Let me just say that reading the chapters about what happened to make Em run was very hard for me, it was absolutely heartbreaking but it all fit perfectly with the story and was extremely well written.

Lammermoor House has a disturbing reputation and Em finds herself strongly urged to leave every time she heads into town, but she won’t be swayed. Lammermoor House offers her the safety and comfort she needs to heal and in return she finds a spark of creativity to build upon and bring the life back into the house.

Em is a complicated character, running is her default position when things get tough. It’s something she’s been doing since long before she met and married Marc. The past she ran from is something that we know very little about until late in the story but we can form some educated guesses early on.

The history of the house is fascinating and the way Grey unveils the information is captivating.

I think the dynamic that touched me the most was the one between Em and her husband Marc, who she has run from in the wake of tragedy. He is a wealthy businessman with an upperclass family and a mother who does not approve of Em, which does not help when Em is already feeling like the whole relationship is a mistake. She’s just waiting for the day that Marc comes to the same realisation, not feeling worthy of him so not recognising that Marc sees her much differently to the way she sees herself.

Lost Girl is a captivating and beautiful story of finding yourself when you feel like all is lost and in the process finding the things you never really knew you had. The characters were realistic and well drawn and the house was just fascinating. This is definitely a book I would recommend, the suspense was mild but the slow unfolding of past and present events to form a cohesive story was well paced and beautifully done. Just be warned that there is heartbreak and an empathetic person will not walk away untouched.

J.C. Grey can be found on Facebook.

Lost Girl is published by Harlequin and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading  Lost Girl so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

20 thoughts on “Book Club: Lost Girl

  1. Lost Girl by J.C.Grey, thankyou for the opportunity to read this book.

    The book is easy to engage with and read.
    It is appealingly narrated by the main character Emerald Reed McAllister. Em’s narration of her life is sometimes with humour and sometimes heartbreakingly sad.

    Em appears to “have it all”. She falls in love with and marries Marc, they have not known each other long.
    Em has secrets from her past.
    After a tragedy Em takes off and “runs” which is what she has always done in the past.

    In the mist she becomes lost and stops a an old house to ask directions. She believes is to be empty and stays the night. It is a mysterious house with its own secrets. She finds the house mysteriously welcoming and rents it.

    You keep reading as you want to know the answers to the questions, what is she running from, will Marc find her, what has happened in her past, what has happened in this house.

    The time line jumps from present to the past and in time you have the complete picture of her life, the highs and lows and why she has run.

    It is a good read with an unusual twist!

  2. The Lost Girl by J. C. Grey centres around the main character,Emerald ‘Em’ Reed McAllister.
    It took me a while to figure out the storyline, I was about 100 pages in to the story before it started making sense to me as the story slowly unravelled to reveal Em’s past, and her current state of mind.
    Em is married to Marc, who comes from a rather upper class background, and she has had to put up with her mother-in-law’s disapproval during their relationship.
    Em seeks refuge in a house that she stumbles upon when she up and runs away after a tragic period in her life. This house become a place of healing for Em.
    I thought that there were a few inconsistencies within the story, but it was still good overall. It is not a book that you could just sit back and enjoy easily as there is a lot of movement back in forth in the timeline, which at times makes it difficult to keep up.
    The element of a spiritual being within the story felt a little out of place and not very believable, but it was important to Em’s character, and that’s why I believe the writer added that character into the story.
    I would’ve liked to have more characters in the story; I felt that it was so centred on Em. It would’ve been good to have a few extra characters thrown in.
    Overall, though not an easy read, it is a tale of a woman who finds herself again after a tragic situation, and learns how to forgive herself and others.

  3. Thankyou Beautyandlace and Harlequin for the opportunity to review ‘Lost Girl’ by J.C. Grey.
    Emerald Reed-Mcllister, (Em), she’s an It girl, a beautiful, photogenic model married to Marc a handsome, successful businessman. He’s totally devoted to her, but she has a feeling of inadequacies, is insecure and is searching to find her real self.
    Em leaves the relationship just for a break finding herself in an old house Lammermoor in a rural area. She loves Marc but somehow doesn’t feel good enough for his wealthy family and is not really acceptedby Marc’s mother Yvette.
    The story is in chapters of the past and present but I found it very easy to follow, I can’t go into further details without giving away the secrets in this amazing book.

    Did I enjoy it? I really, really did! It was amazing, a wonderful story. Em was an interesting, likeable character who I really felt sorry for and parts were rather sad, J.C. Grey is a super author and it’s a book I could very easily re-read!

  4. This was a great book to read as a mum of teenage girls (and equally for the girls to read themselves) with their lives revolving around social media and being the IT girl.

    I loved the way the story was told, by the central character Em – the IT girl exploring who she is and what she is actually all about. Its always fascinating being in the mind of someone else and the way Em describes her feelings and why things are happening provides and insight into all of us and how what we think is going on can be perceived differently by others.

    This book raised many questions about Em which made you want to read more simply to close those questions off and understand her all the better. The characters were well thought through and whilst some did seem out of place do tie into who Em is and why they are there.

    The timeline in the book flips a little between past and present to tell the whole story of Em’s life and overall this flows really well. It is not what I would call a ‘summer read’ where its light and airy and asks nothing of you, but is a well written and insightful book which opens your mind a little more than it was prior to reading it.

    Well worth the read.

    1. I read this bok very slowly, was absolutely enthralled at the way the old Lammoor House was written up about, and even though the story line does revolve around both the old house and the main character Em, it does bring both items in to my thoughts… we are not always sure that our judgement is right, and marriage is a big jump from being only one person to consider, to suddenly have to consider another as well, plus the relatives that come with such marriages. I can understand Em felt that she was not good enough, but then in life, are any of us.. this made me sit and think about my own life as well. All in all I did enjoy the book, even though it seemed to jump about a bit.me stop to ponder and think about what I have done over the course of years as well. This is a book I shall put aside to read again, and look for any other books by the same author… happy reading to all who have the time to indulge it….

  5. Lost Girl by J.C Grey was a beautiful, haunting and enchanting story. I was immediately drawn into the story and couldn’t put the book down, reading it for hours until late at night so I could unravel more. I was so intrigued and wanted to know what happened. It does have differing time lines though, which were a little hard to piece together at the beginning, but came together nicely meeting at present time in the end.

    Emerald is described as the “IT” girl – she has everything she could dream of, but something makes her run from it all. You find out what it is about halfway through the book, and she finds herself questioning all her thoughts and herself. She escapes with no destination in mind, and finds herself at Lammermoor House – an old, creeky yet full of charm house that has had no one living there for years. She takes comfort in the house, to figure out her situation and what to do, how to move forward. All while her husband back in Sydney is trying to give her the space but desperately wanting to find himself again too.

    It is definitely not a light summery read, there are deeply sad moments, that are very emotional, but there are also moments of happiness, intrigue and hints of mystery that tie it all together nicely and not have the story too dark and depressing. Can I also just say her husband, Marc, is amazing. Not only does he give her the space and time to heal while he does as well, he also seems like such a great support to Emerald. Yes they have their times when bickering and fighting, but you could just see he loved her so much. Emerald was an interesting character, she seemed to want everything to go wrong when it was going so nicely. But I am happy with how things all sorted themselves out at the end.

    I really loved Lammermoor House – I felt like I was there with Emerald in the garden thinking how to best restore it to its beauty. And the mystery surrounding the house got me hooked. I really liked how it was sort of a mystery to solve, and there are moments where I had chills. Towards the end when the mystery is solved felt quite emotional as well, I think this will be a story I will remember. I wish there was more of the spirit though, it came in bits and pieces and could have been fleshed out more, but I just thought this part was amazing.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace for letting me read and review Lost Girl by J.C Grey, it would be a book I would go back and read again.

  6. Wow, this book intrigued me from the start whilst I am normally not a fan of books with jumpy timelines, I really enjoyed the set of of the scenes in the book. I think this helped me stay interested.

    Em is a very imperfect character and she knows it.. Without giving too much away the timelines explains why and the end of the novel was quite satisfying.. This book is not airy fairy not an easy read but it definitely worth the time

  7. “Lost Girl” is not an easy read. I really enjoyed it, didn’t want to put it down, but it did drain me a little emotionally
    This is Emerald’s story. She seems to have it all. Yet she is running from it all willing to give it all up
    Emerald ends up in an abandoned house, a house with its own secrets. The story flits from the present to the recent past and back again. As it progresses we learn a little about Emerald, her character, her lives and dreams are slowly revealed.
    It’s not until the final chapters that we finally discover why Em runs.
    I would recommend this book. It is haunting, very confronting at times, yet it is comforting and empowering also. When you have finished you will be glad you read it.

  8. Lost Girl

    What an emotional roller coaster it was reading Lost Girl.
    Emerald Reed McAllister is the ‘IT girl’ that has it all or so everyone seems to think but she is hiding some dark secrets. Em is married to Marc the good looking investment funds manager and their life seems picture perfect but all is not as it seems. Em is a runner whenever things get tough and she runs from Marc after a devastatingly tragic period in their marriage. Em ends up at Lammermoor House an old house which she comes across purely by accident.
    This is where the story becomes like a haunting gothic tale of past and present. Em feels the house is healing her and it becomes her sanctuary while she comes to terms with her life but there is more to the house than just a garden that needs tendering.
    I loved the way the book was written in the past and the present and although it could have been confusing it wasn’t as there were clear headings and boundaries to keep you enthralled in the life of Em, Marc and Lammermoor House.

    A truly great story of romance and mystery.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read.

  9. Lost Girl is like a gift wrapped up in an enigma, topped off by a riddle. The novel is a wistful romance by J.C. Grey. It is a first person narrative where the titular character is the narrator. What ensues is a dark and mysterious novel filled with love, loss and heartbreak.

    To outsiders, Emerald Reed-McAllister has it all. She’s the “it” girl around town. A successful model and stylist, she’s nabbed herself an adoring and clever husband in the form of a sexy man named Marc McAllister. But all is not as it seems. Em is the kind of girl who runs away from her problems and they don’t get much bigger than the one she suddenly finds herself in the middle of.

    So Em seeks sanctuary in the form of a strange, old house named Lammermoor. This building has had a chequered history to say the least. Some of its previous inhabitants have been subjected to unfortunate accidents or other inexplicable things. The locals are scared and convinced that the place is haunted. Em is encouraged to leave but she wants to fix the place up and remains steadfast in her plans.

    Over the course of the novel we learn more about the house as well as Em’s own history and the nature of her relationship with Marc and his family. The prose is well-written and nicely-paced and overall it is a rather clever, romantic mystery. The beginning is a bit of a slow burn as things are put into place and the alternating timelines can jar a little bit but if you can see past these things you will be rewarded with an intriguing and extraordinary novel. This book is so much more than your average love story, it’s ultimately a mysterious and atmospheric look at the past and it proves that some relationships are in fact, built to last.

  10. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read Lost Girl by J. C. Grey

    I have to admit the first few chapters didn’t draw me in.
    At first I couldn’t get into the style of writing, a narrative by the main character Em.

    But once I got passed the first chapters I realised there was a story that I really wanted to reveal. I eventually couldn’t put this book down!

    J.C. Grey has thrown in a couple twists to this book.
    The novel goes back and forth from past to present, to eventually blend just into to the present.

    It is mysterious, heart warming, a tear jerker and keeps you in suspense.

    I see this book becoming a movie in the future

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book.

  11. I found this book slow to start and get into but once I had gotten past a few chapters the story line started to intrigue me. Jumping from past to present gives us some in depths moments in the character and her life. The house , Marc and herself and her thoughts. Even though she may have everything one could want her life was certainly far from perfect.

    I think the back and forth from present to past gave us some depth into the story and I very much enjoyed the authors imaginery along the way. You could almost smell the mint and the surroundings and even see what she was describing. I love this in a story ! Such vivid details ..

    Emerald is a character with demons, so to speak , so this can come across as a hauntingly insight read into her reasons and why she feels the way she does. . How it helps her along the way , its more then just a house its a means to Emerald and finding herself so to speak.

    There are some deep moments within the story so if your the kind of person that gets teary eyed this may pull at your heart strings.

    Overall, was an ok read for me. I was intrigued enough to read it to the very end and was happy with the delivery of the end of the story as it gave us some closure and answers.

    The writing was well delivered, keeping the reader intrigued, initially at first a slow start, but as inquisitive reader it did grab me enough to want to find out all about the house, Emerald and her relationship with Marc .. .. her moments and thoughts and her progress with the house.

    The characters were like able enough and the story line and prose interesting.

  12. Wow, what an amazing read. Ended up reading the second half of this book in one session just because I really wanted to see what would happen in the end.
    The story follows the story of Em who through circumstances finds herself at Lammermoor House which is an abandoned mansion that hides it’s own secrets. Through a story that switches between the present and the past we find out Emerald’s story and the tragedy that led to her running off into the countryside.

    Reading her back story you wonder how she ended up at Lammermoor as her devoted husband Marc is a successful rich businessman and can offer her everything she could ever need. But her own past makes her feel unworthy of the love he dotes on her.

    Once she arrives at Lammermore House she seems to find herself again and it’s good to see her become a stronger women. Meanwhile the town tries to stop her from living in the house but she won’t be deterred.

    It’s an enjoyable novel and my heart was breaking for her at times. But it’s definitely not a novel I would consider light reading as it draws you into this house full of mysteries.

  13. Lost Girl is not a book that grabs you from the start. The 2 page prologue hints at something intriguing but then the first chapter is written in such a different style that had I not been reviewing the book I probably wouldn’t have continued. In the end I’m glad I did persevere because as the story unfolded it became hauntingly captivating.

    The story is written from the perspective of Em (Emerald) Reed-McAllister, recently married to Marc McAllister, a wealthy funds manager who as well as being brilliant in his field comes from a wealthy family. Em’s background is hidden for much of the book, although early on we learn she has spent much of her life running away from pretty much everything, and whenever things get too much her response it to run.

    Marc’s family, particularly his mother, are not impressed with his choice of wife. For someone who has such a low level of self confidence as Em, this reinforces her belief that she is not good enough for Marc and her expectation is that one day Marc will wake up and realise the mistake he has made in marrying her. Predictably she does what she does best, and runs before she is pushed.

    The story flips between the present and the past, at times quite confusingly, as we discover that Em meets Marc at an art show where she is the subject of the photographs taken by her friend Brendan. Fleetingly her fashion student housemate Claire is referenced before we are treated to the lust filled intensity as Marc and Em meet.

    Those parts of the chapters that reference the past allow us to learn slowly where Em has come from, the development of her relationship with Marc and the tragedy that causes her to leave her home and life with Marc and run again. The parts of the chapters that deal with the present and recent present see Em developing a relationship with the small town of Lammermoor, it’s people and particularly Lammermoor house, a deserted and desolate place where she finds herself as she seeks sanctuary.

    But Lammermoor house has a past, the townsfolk won’t talk about it, yet they all keep warning Em not to stay there, that if she stays something bad will happen. However Em feels that the house is healing her, despite the feeling that she is not alone there, and slowly the house begins to yield up its secrets.

    At the end I enjoyed this book, although I found some parts of it quite disquieting. For those with an empathetic nature parts of this book will touch deeply, while those who dismiss the spiritual may find this aspect of the book to be unbelievable.

    Overall not an easy book to read, but once it grabs you it is hard to put down.

    Thank you for the opportunity to read and review Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books.

  14. Lost Girl by J C Grey is a very thought provoking read.

    Emeradl Reed-McAllister(Em) the main character is a high profile model who does not want anyone to see the real her, not even her husband Marc really knows the real Em.

    Emerald has everything that she could dream of, especially her doting husband, but she runs away from it all. When you are about half way through the book you find out what has happened and why Em is questioning herself and her thoughts. When she leaves she has no plans as to where she is headed but ends up accidently at Lammermoor House, a house which has been unoccupied for years. Here she takes comfort in the house and tries to work through her life and where and what to do from here. Marc has stayed in Sydney to try and give her the space she wants but he is hurting to. The towns people do try to stop her from living in the house but she will not be deterred.

    The chapters are of past and present and tell the whole story of Em’s life and this flowed really well. A great tale of a woman with much sadness after a tragic situation who learns how to forgive herself and others and find happiness in her life again.

    Not the lightest of reads, but I must say that I wanted to keep reading to find out what was going to happen at the end. A great read and highly recommended.

  15. ‘Lost Girl’ by J C Grey was an absolutely fantastic read. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s been my favourite book so far this year – and I’ve read quite a few! The storyline really spoke to me, especially when Emerald arrived at Lammermoor House and made contact with her special little friend there. That part of the storyline I was not expecting at all. It was something different that made this book stand out from all of the other books that I’ve read this year.

    The characters were relatable, although I don’t know how Emerald’s husband, Marc, put up with her. He must have loved her very much and had so much faith in her. Emerald’s difficulties with pregnancy were a subject that I think a lot of women will be very familiar with. It was so nice that it all worked out in the end, for everyone.

    This is a book that is difficult to put down, so only start it if you have plenty of time.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for another great book to review >:o)

  16. What a great book!
    Allebout Em and her “perfect life” married to Marc and everything is rosy… so it seems.
    After a tradgedy, Em runs away as this is how she has always coped with things that don’t go right.
    She finds an old house with the hope of getting directions, but realizes it is empty and decides to stay the night….this house turns out to be be a safe place in her mind where she can take time to think.
    As the story goes from her past to her present and back many times, youreally get to know Em.
    It definitely is a book I would recommend, loved it!!

  17. Give me a bottle of wine and some snacks and I would have finished this cover to cover in one sitting. It is so beautifully written – such vivid descriptions of the characters and house.. It’s one of those stories you never want to end and feel a sense of loss when it does. This book will be a best seller, I can’t recommend it enough.

  18. Things are never as they seem, and for Emerald who has the enviable life; the husband, career, friends and status these are all a cover for the secrets she carries with her.

    Running away from her problems, Em seeks refuge in a small town to try and focus herself and ends up on a path of discovery. The neglected and abandoned manor Em finds herself drawn to almost mirrors her life; beautiful ruins with well kept secrets and ghosts from their past. Em is not deterred when she is warned about the house as she begins to form a deeper connection with the Lammermoor House. As Em starts to unravel the secrets of the house, she reflects on her own past and realises she and Lammermoor House have a lot in common.

    Lost Girl is at first glance a mystery novel set in a decrepit and rundown manor which is a shadow of what it once was. But the story delves a lot deeper than haunted houses and the occupants who once resided there. This is also a story about facing the heartache and sorrow from the past and accepting in order to move on. Em has never felt worthy of the life she has built with her perfect husband. She has reservations as to when this will all be taken away from her, so her impulse is to run. We are given snapshots of Em’s life in conjuction with the present over the course of the novel; this reveals allows the puzzle to start to be pieced together as to why Em is so impulsive.

    This book takes a little time to get used to as it jumps around the timeline of the narrator Em’s story. As the book progresses we are given the two versions of Em’s character; the one she portrays to people and the one she hides inside. The impression that Lammermoor House has within the book is more of a character than a location. The exaggerated I loved the descriptions of the house and what it came to meant to Em as she got to know the house better. The drama of Em’s life combined with the dark secrets lurking within Lammermoor’s walls made Lost Girl a compelling read.

  19. Lost Girl is a mystery novel set in a decrepit and rundown manor which is a shadow of what it once was. But the story goes a lot deeper than haunted houses and who once resided there. This is also a story about facing the heartache and sorrow from the past . Em has never felt worthy of the life she has built with her perfect husband. She has reservations as to when this will all be taken away from her, so her impulse is to run. We are given snapshots of Em’s life in conjuction with the present over the course of the novel; this reveals allows the puzzle to start to be pieced together as to why Em is so impulsive.

    This book jumps around the timeline of the narrator Em’s story. as you progresses you are given the two versions of Em’s character; the one she portrays to people and the one she hides inside. The impression that the drama of Em’s life combined with the dark secrets lurking within Lammermoor’s walls made Lost Girl a compelling read.

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