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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

In the Light of What We See

In the Light of What we see

ISBN: 9781477849965

Publisher: Lake Union

Publication Date: 4/1/2016

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 4 Stars

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.

My Review

A special thank you to Lake Union and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Sarah Painter combines magical realism and dual timelines IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT WE SEE --two women which may have more in common than they know—Spellbinding! When I first began reading the book (and listening to the audio) my first thoughts were of contemporary United States NC author, Sarah Addison, and VA, Mary Ellen Taylor, which I adore. Readers will be pleased to have both sides of the world covered by two talented and magical dreamcatchers--two Sarah’s mixed with a little Kate Morton style. A captivating blend of magical realism with a supernatural twist, mixed with history and intrigue. Flashing back and forth from the present (Mina) 2014 to Brighton 1938 (Grace) we meet two interesting women: The book begins Mina Morgan dating Mark, her boss--head of radiology from work at the hospital. After her PhD but she wanted to be good. To balance to scales. Doctors helped diagnose and treat cancer. That had to make you good. Her lover for the last year and a half. She is seeing birds again. A pattern. Ghost-birds. She believed in them. She knows she is no crazier than the next person. She knows the difference between reality and a figment but she also knows deep in the marrow of her bones-something dreadful was going to happen. A warning. Flash to 1938 Grace Kemp, a nurse at Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton. Flashing years later to Mina in a hospital, recovering from a car accident. Both women have gifts, and Mina sees an imaginary nurse in her room among other strange sightings. Mark-Mina is not sure about him. A warning. A flat-mate, Alex—her twin brother Geraint had an effect of women. Mark shows up drunk and wants to talk, she is not interested. She wants him to leave. He is drunk, so she agrees to take him home. An accident. Blackness. She doesn’t remember. Slowly she recalls the missing memories. Grace senses danger in the hospital. A past. Years later at age ninety-seven she is back. People always regress to earlier memories- Scrubbing floors and bedpans. Two women, separated by time are intertwined by a shared need to save lives—a haunting, yet memorable tale with a supernatural flair.

An exploration into relationships, the author draws readers into their individual lives surrounding by lurking dangers, desires, and regrets of two different women woven together—a mix of mystical and psychological. My first by Painter, and look forward to reading more. My first book by Painter, and look forward to reading more. I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Fiona Hardingham, an ideal choice for the voices of both women.

Review Links:


Sarah Painter

About the Author

Sarah Painter writes contemporary fiction with a touch of magic. Her debut novel, The Language of Spells, became a Kindle bestseller. The follow-up, The Secrets of Ghosts, is also available now. Sarah lives in rural Scotland with her children, husband, and a grey tabby called Zelda Kitzgerald. She drinks too much tea, loves the work of Joss Whedon, and is the proud owner of a writing shed. Read More

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