Brighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she'll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees....Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.
Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She's not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever....
Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.
©2016 Sarah Painter (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Mina Morgan knows that something bad is about to happen when a siskin appears in her room one morning, watching her with beady eyes. It has been years since she has seen one of her “ghost birds”, the harbingers of doom only she can see. Mina is not surprised – she has been unhappy with her life choices lately, living a lie and yet too mired in regret and grief to take her fate into her own hands. But before she can take action, a serious car accident leaves her fighting for her life in a hospital in Brighton, unable to remember large chunks of her life including the circumstances which brought her here.
80 years earlier, young Grace Kemp also enters the hospital doors, a decision which was as much forced upon her as Mina’s coma. Disgraced and estranged from her family she is hoping to make a new life for herself as a nurse, and that the hard labour will wipe away the sorrow and grief she carries in her heart. Little does either woman know that the hospital will change their lives in ways they could never have imagined.
It is hard to assign a genre to this unusual book, which I would call a “coming of age” story as two young women born generations apart must overcome the hurdles of the past and take their lives into their own hands in order to stop being victims. In the Light of What We See contains elements of several genres: there is mystery and suspense, an element of the supernatural, historical detail of nursing in the 1930’s, friendship and a sprinkling of romance. Linked only by the historical building of the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton, the two women connect through a thin ghostly thread as both their lives are hanging in the balance.
I loved the way the author managed to connect these seemingly two separate stories in the most unusual way, as well as the attention to historical detail which brings Grace’s story to life. I found the characters of both women thoroughly engaging and felt a definite connection and empathy for their plight as the details of their lives stories slowly unfold and they grow more confident as they start taking their lives into their own hands. The author does a great job of connecting the two story lines and tying together all the loose ends in the final chapter. Whilst the supernatural element is often overdone in other novels, it is perfectly executed here, a thin mysterious thread, a window in time. In the Light of What We See was a mystical, engaging read which kept me thoroughly enthralled from beginning to end, despite its relatively slow pace (which suits this story perfectly). I loved it!
A disappointment. The 2 different time-lines in the plot just never fit together, and there was no flow to the story. Honestly, the current-day characters were boring and unlikable. I would have preferred more about Grace, circa 1938, and less about Mina, present-day. There are so many better duel narratives out there ( I highly recommend "A Memory of Violets" ); pass on this one.
"A Good Start"
The story held such promise and in fact I had hoped for more. I loved the interactions between Grace, the ghost and Nina and wish there had been more. It seemed a long time to tell the story. While I am glad that I listened to the story I somehow long for there to have been more.
"Well written but just OK"
An OK story, told from 2 different perspectives, belonging to 2 different time periods. I enjoyed both stories on their own - one more than the other - but didn't see a lot of point in their juxtaposition in this book. Grace's story, set in the '30s, felt more interesting to me. Whereas Mina got on my nerves with her "I was such a horrible person before I lost my memory" act. Ugh! What a cliché. I saw all of the twists coming a mile off but, to its credit, the book was very well written.
I don't think it'll stay with me for too long but I'm glad I listened to it. The narration is very good. No complaints whatsoever on that score.
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