For fans of Lauren Oliver and Kazuo Ishiguro, a sophisticated, literary ghost story that reminds us the past is never, ever forgotten.
In a small logging town along the coast of northern California, young Emma Rose Finnis was born and died. Now, no one remembers her hardworking life and her grand dreams--but she remembers. She remembers everything. Emma Rose still walks the coves and cliffs of her village, one hundred years after her death . . . and she doesn't plan on leaving.
But when a determined hunter arrives with instructions to "clean" Emma Rose out of her haunt, the stately Lambry mansion, death suddenly isn't the worst fate imaginable. Emma Rose refuses to be hounded from the only place she's ever found peace, even if it means waging a war on the living . . . and the dead.
Lyrical and haunting, this spellbinding American ghost story alternates between Emma Rose's life and afterlife as the past and present become entwined in a compelling tale of love, loss, and tenacity over a century in the making.
M Dressler's work has been praised by the New York Times as "splendid" and by Library Journal as the writing of a "natural-born storyteller." Her stories and essays have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, the Washington Post, and many other journals and magazines. She always knew she would one day write a book about a ghost. "Characters," she's written, "they come to you. It's very strange how it happens. They're like ghosts, in the beginning. But ghosts who haven't lived, or even been born yet. So you work backwards . . . looking for clues about them, about who they might have been, from the way they haunt you. And in this way you never get away from them, and they never leave you." She writes from her homes in Utah and in North Carolina, where she is a professor at Guilford College. You can read more about her work at mdressler.com.
Gothic in tone, a ghost story told with a new twist, and given a modern interpretation. Emma Rose Finnis has been dead for a long while, but she still walks this Earth. The Lambry house and the Lambreys themselves is her favored haunt. She has reasons, big reasons, but now the last known Lambry has died, the house up for sale. A rich couple has come to see the house, want to buy and gut it, make it their own. Emma, angered reveals her presence causing a terrifying ordeal for the couple. A hunter is called in, people have realized for a while that ghosts walk this Earth, resulting in a new form of employment. Hunters are highly paid, and this couple can afford the best. So a cat and mouse game ensues, the hunter hunting the haunting. Emma needs to stop him from learning her name, he needs to know about her existence before he can find her. There is, however, another presence waiting in the background, with it's own plans.
Extremely atmosphere, literary, while reading this I could not help thinking of Collins, Lady in White. Who can outsmarted whom? That is the goal, the end game. And Emma Rose has no desire to be interred in the ground. The story goes back and forth, Emma's backstory, to the present and to what the hunter is doing, thinking. Suspenseful, and the suspense ratchets up the more we learn. I felt so sorry for the young Emma, a product of her social dividing times. Wanting only to love and have a future. Provides just enough shivers without freaking the reader out completely.
I enjoyed this immensely, one of the better ghost stories I have read in a long time. Can we ever be sure that what we see and feel, is the only thing there? I can't help but wonder.
The Last to See Me is a fascinating story set in a world where ghosts are real and if they're hanging around, they can bring down property values.
So, if you find you have an unruly poltergeist in your closet, you call a hunter to put them into the "eternal sleep."
The tale is told from Emma, a ghost's, point of view.
"My hearing is so much finer than when I walked alive and with a heartbeat. It's something I've had a century to ponder: how much does the beating heart of one creature drown out the heart of another?" pg 6
I found this story to be absolutely captivating.
"At the turn of the millennium, when the hunts began, I was as scared as any ghost could be. But fear, in the end, does a body no good. If you let yourself be afraid of what can kill you, it weakens you. So you can't let yourself be afraid." pg 21.
Inbetween Emma's fight to remain alive, in a manner of speaking, we get to learn about her life before her death. So, there's a bit of historical fiction thrown in the mix.
I think M. Dressler has written a fantastic ghost story.
"But I can tell you that the reason you felt something was hiding under your bed, all those years ago, is precisely because it was. It just knew better than to show itself to you." pg 102
I found myself cheering for Emma, even when the story takes a few surprisingly dark turns.
"But understand and hear me, my friend. Nothing dead, no matter how interesting or difficult, is worth keeping." pg 129.
Also, I was amazed at how Dressler managed to weave various elements of the story into its conclusion.
Take your time and read carefully, I think you'll be as delighted with this tale as I was.
Highly recommended for those who like not-so-scary stories or slightly spooky historical fiction.
Once I started this book, I could not put it down. The haunting tale is told through the eyes of a ghost, Emma Rose Finnis, who has haunted the same mansion and its environs on the coast of Northern California for the past century. As the house is being prepared to be sold, a ghost hunter is employed to ferret out Emma Rose and end her haunting forever. Refusing to leave, Emma Rose takes the ghost hunter, Phillip Pratt, on a game of cat and mouse that builds up to the final heart-pounding struggle. I loved the book until the very end when I was not totally clear about what exactly happened. I found the end a little disappointing so I gave it a 4.5 instead of a 5. The rest of the book is fabulous. UPDATE 10/29/2017: My husband just finished this book and explained the ending to me. I had missed one sentence which completely changed the ending. I changed my star rating to a 5. I am glad he read it!
I do not read a lot of ghost stories because most are too creepy for me. This book is beautifully written and well worth the read. It did not keep me from sleeping after I read it, and it certainly changed the way I thought about the concept of ghosts. I loved that the author sets the tale in the present day but has added a paranormal layer to the story. In her world, ghosts exist but are feared. Fifteen or so years prior to the opening of the story, most ghosts were extinguished by ghost hunters. Whole towns were declared “clean” and ghost-free. But as we see when the book opens not every ghost actually passed on… I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s creativity and was very glad I read the book. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.
This is a very unusual book. It's a paranormal/suspense novel, written first person by a ghost. But somehow that description falls wonderfully short of the character herself. The author has woven together history, loss, and family secrets against the backdrop of a small but beautiful town and its equally beautiful Lambrey house. The narration is lyrical and the story is a page turner. Recommended.
This may be only the second or third time I've ever given a 5 star in this genre. And it was one I picked myself randomly. Completely unknown author to me, also unknown for any reviews or reactions or recommendations, just from the back cover detail and the cover itself- my serendipity fiction pick of the month. I'm shocked. I really am. This process has resulted in some very low starred and abomination picks. No more so than in the last few seasons. I'm lucky if I get a 3 star. What a turnaround!
This novel is one of those books (and SO FEW of them in recent years) that has from the very first page to the last page an absolute surge. After the beginning which completely intrigued me, I thought that that level of personality and self knowledge felt by the narrator ghost to the introduction scenes, that would never be able to be sustained to depth of plot or story lines. Especially not within reaction and result of progression events occurring a century later. Or any other time within this "life and personality memory" construct. But was I wrong.
Emma Rose is one of those characters. The type you know are conflicted and their choices always ones of intellectual savvy. Regardless of the station, the class, the job, the surrounds of her days.
It will be slow for those who want head rolling zombies around each corner. Or feel that the evil lecher ghost who chases you off cliffs is the kind of "action" in this type of story you prefer. This isn't quite like a study such as "Yellow Wallpaper" either. Although the psychological balance is actually far more interesting; to me it is. It does NOT come out of any insanity, as much as it comes out of a common sense spirited loving of being ALIVE tripped up with bad lack gone sideways within a terrible confrontation of momentary dueling major events. A royal mess up.
But these particulars you will never know until close to page 200. YET! YET! All of those pages before 200 was reached-you STILL never NEEDED to know all of "it" either. Because it was SO delightful and entertaining the journey itself, that exact type of game playing going on between this female ghost and her "hunter" who needs to "clear" her.
This also has got to be the only book, debut author or not, that I can remember in some years, my guesses being SO FAR off the track and super surprised at a twist and then another kink- not once, not even twice. More. Plus also a ringer in the mix on top of it.
This M. Dressler is GOOD. She knows resentment. She knows unfairness. She knows service. She knows unrelenting WILL!
Spend some time with this ghost. You don't need the gore - just the mold. The mold?? Read it and find out what that means. Highly entertaining and a MUCH better rendition to a ghost buster role than the old movie of that title depicts.
Enough paintings, description and poetry too for those of you who require to have the "better arts" sensitivity for emotive fount of tears eruption quotient to make a book "good". Or need to feel swooning in empathy over dead tunnel boys to consider your own benevolence levels satisfactory.
Probably the very best pick for pure entertainment that I found serendipity this year.
It's NOT Stephen King. It's patience of a ghost hunter who PARTICULARLY tries to go slow. This is NOT a meat and limb eating evil monster coming out of a sewer. It's psychological sparring supreme. Exactly the opposite.
Is it the start of a series? I sure hope so. It was fully a 4.5 star in form of prose, but the tone and continual "movement" language of Emma Rose made me round it up. The only flaw I could realize (even at the very time I was reading this and not afterwards in pondering)- was that Emma Rose's narration was put into the pattern of others speaking or other transportation information without any quotes or pattern of speech in which you "knew" it was hers. So we had a two sided conversation and then a 3 or 4 sided conversation. CLUE: no quotes and no he said, she said or intro phrases mixed within the conversation? Then it is usually Emma Rose's side of the parley. But the flow was still continual and this did not break the plot progression or tension in any way for me. Nor did the 100 year before sections do that- because they were part of the very event or idea or nuance for the location that was happening "now". Not that usual obvious switching to any entirely different story line to "meet up" somewhere in the last 40 pages. This connected in mood, context, motives.
Can't forget; there's boatloads of superb language. Not obtuse, nor overblown flowers. (But there is a lot of yellow roses and arbors.) How about this quote below. (Emma goes into all kinds of spaces and locations, remember. And her senses are super sensitive on top of it.)
"I've woven myself into spider's nest hanging on the porch. So little do the living understand: when you brush past a web it may seem fragile, but's it's a powerful lacework; a thing made of pure will."
The Last to See Me by M. Dressler is a different kind of haunted house books with it being the ghost herself that is telling the tale. Emma Rose Finnis died a century ago, but she doesn't plan on leaving the place soon. Not even when an experienced ghost hunter arrives to clean the house and make it ghost free. No, she will do anything to stay...
The Last to See Me is an interesting ghost story, a bittersweet story about a young girl that grew up in a small village, but never got the chance to get the life she wanted. Instead, is she still there, haunting the Lambry mansion. The present story is what I found the most interesting, I usually love flashbacks to the past, but I have to admit that I was not always that interested in Emma Rose's life. It just dragged on a bit and as a character, before she died, was she just not especially interesting, nor had Emma Rose an interesting life. You know, young poor girl meets a rich young man that is not suited for her...
I was more interested in the battle between her and the ghost hunter, with the ghost hunter trying to figure out who is haunting the place. One thing I really liked was that the writing was so imaginative. It was easy to picture the landscape and the village. Loved the beginning of the book when the couple that was interested in the mansion got spooked. It was not that hard to pick a side in this book, whom you wanted to win. The ghost or the ghost hunter. I mean, who has been there the longest?
The ending of the book felt a bit confusing and I had to re-read it. Still, a couple of weeks since I read it does it still feel strange. However. I did find the book interesting and I would definitely read more books by the author.
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!
I can't say I've ever read a ghost story quite like this before, but this literary paranormal tale is beautifully and lyrically told. I loved both the sections of Emma's past during WWI and the present day battle with the ghost hunter. The ending is a little difficult to figure out, but if what I think happened happened, I'm very happy with the outcome of Emma and Pratt's battle. By the way, in my mind Pratt wore a lot of flannel! I couldn't help but think of Sam and Dean from Supernatural and the Maitlands vs. the Deetzs from Beetlejuice.
I commented to a bookseller that while I love ghost stories, it's hard to find one that's good and original, and she pressed THE LAST TO SEE ME in my hands. I'm glad she did! It's told largely from the point of a view of the ghost, which might seem gimmicky or trite in a less accomplisher author's hands, but M. Dressler succeeds convincingly. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to be a ghost, you'll get the chance reading THE LAST TO SEE ME .
There is a house on the hill over looking a village and the ocean. The house has belonged to the Lambry family for over 100 years. It is up for sale and Ellen is showing people round the house but they are scared out of their wits when a ghost turns up. They want the house but not until the Ghost is gone for good.
Pratt is our ghost hunter and together he and Ellen will track down who it is and get rid of it. Emma Rose has been a ghost for 100 years and we follow her in the telling of this story, her own life will be told in flashbacks and as the story goes on it builds to a violent ending.
This was a book club choice and I am not sure if I liked it or not the last 20% I did enjoy. There is a book 2 to this story but am not sure weather to read it or not.
This was an unexpected delight to read. I was drawn into the story from the very beginning. I loved going back and forth with Emma's story, from the past to the present. Even if ghost stories aren't your thing, this was just so...good. Its not a scary story, not terribly sad, but not exactly uplifting either. I loved the writing and will definitely read more by this author.
This is a beautiful ghost story. Not spooky ghosts or horror ghosts, but instead a ghost with a history. It's about a life filled with dreams and ambitions left unfinished.
Spanning about a hundred years, it has both a gothic and a modern feel to it. Set along the Northern California coast in a town called Benito, the estate of the Lambry family, wealthy lumber barons, is up for sale. But it appears to have an otherworldly essence who opposes this.
The writing is beautiful, creating an almost dreamlike quality in the narrative. It is complex and heart wrenching. I found quite a bit of it open to interpretation, especially the ending. No tidy answers, but very thought provoking.
I love a good ghost story, and this one, while not as atmospheric and menacing as some, was original, suspenseful, and lots of fun. The story is told by the ghost herself, Emma Rose Finnis, who matches wits with the “cleaner,” Phillip Pratt, a renowned expert at extinguishing the last mortal vestiges of the likes of Emma Rose. A lucrative real estate deal hangs in the balance, and Pratt is on notice to get the job done pronto. Phillip Pratt is a ghost buster to be reckoned with, but where Emma Rose is concerned—maybe, just maybe, he’s met his match.
3 stars--I liked the book. The only reason I gave this 3 stars instead of 4 is there was an animal death (not graphic) that I felt was unnecessary, or even confusing to the plot, and I had to reread the ending to figure out what happened.
I read a lot of ghost stories, but I've never read one like this! It's hard to be original in such a time-tested genre, but the world of ghosts and ghost hunters Dressler created is something I haven't seen before.
Characters were vivid and interesting, and it looks like the story will continue in a sequel, which I'm looking forward to. A quick read and I'm eager to learn more about the characters in the next book.
"There is no death. There is only a transition to a different sphere of consciousness."
This is a well told ghost story set in a small northern California town. Dark, moody, and at times sad. The book was shrouded in a thick blanket of fog that must be read carefully or you will get lost and end up falling off a cliff to be bashed up against the rocks. Or will Emma push you?
Emma Rose Finnis has been dead for a long while, but she still walks this Earth. She haunts the Lambry house, a house she was employed as a housekeeper one hundred years ago. The matriarch banished her to the lighthouse to keep her away from her eldest son Quinn who had taken a liking to her. This set into motion a cruel set of circumstances which lead to her death at the young age of eighteen. Now the house is up for sale and Emma is angry. A ghost hunter, Pratt, is called in to hunt Emma and banish her forever.
This is not Oda Mae Brown and Sam Wheat or Beetlejuice. The ending was a little confusing. I admit i did get lost in the fog but i retraced my steps and found my way. A sequel?
It's an atmospheric and beautifully written story. I ask you...who doesn’t like a good ghost story with a twist? In this particular story there are several twists as well as some really nasty turns. If you add a tragic love story...a blood-thirsty rose bush... the ghost of a beautiful young girl who is struggling to remain "alive" in the only home she has ever known...you have the makings of a first rate series that should please any ghost story enthusiast. A great beginning. I'm looking forward to more.
I was really enjoying this book. It was a solid 4 stars for me... until the end. I have no idea what happened. I’m so confused. I have so many questions. It’s like the author just suddenly got tired of writing it and decided she better just go ahead and bring it to a quick and confusing conclusion.
A ghost story set in current times but where ghosts are common and hunted and eliminated by professionals. The ghost is of Irish decent, her parents arriving in America at the beginning of the 20th century. The story goes back and forth between her life and relationship with the owners of the seaside mansion she's haunting and her struggle with the hunter in present day.
I'm a fan of an atmospheric ghost story and this one certainly had an interesting premise but I found it lacking in atmosphere and the characters were a bit flat. The most successful part of the book for me was the ghost's backstory. The ending I'm still not sure about. My reading experience was 2.5 that I'm rounding to 3.
This started out eerily similar to Margaret Atwood's "Alias Grace." Set in the early 1900's a young Irish girl with no family support works as a maid and eventually finds herself in a bit of a situation. I won't ruin this for you if you haven't read "Alias Grace" but this leads her needing to flee. The basic story is essentially the same except it takes place in a Northern California logging town and not in Toronto. Even the voice of the main character Emma sounds like the titular Grace. I felt that the writing style also strongly emulated Atwood and the whole thing gave me a bit of déjà vu. The difference between the two stories that drew me in and kept me reading was that Emma is a ghost. Just imagine "Alias Grace" told by an undead Grace Marks and you'll have the idea.
The supernatural element turns this story into something else entirely and I ended up really enjoying it. There were several twists and surprises and a few red herrings too. It made for an exciting read and one that I found difficult to put down. I'm a huge Atwood fan so being an homage to "Alias Grace" isn't a bad thing. Dressler takes the basic bones of Atwood's story and transforms it into something all her own.
What is a ghost, except a voice in your head you should pay attention to, but don't?
This was fantastic - a surprisingly touching story about a slightly alternate world, where ghosts will sometimes roam and the living desperately put them down to avoid confronting their inevitable mortality.
It's told from the point of view of a ghost, one who has managed to elude (so far) all previous "cleanings" that have kept her seaside home town ghost free. But a new ghost hunter is soon on his way - and his attitude is that the dead are the dead, and ghosts are just echoes. And do you need to be humane, or compassionate towards an echo?
It all spins up into a game of cat and mouse between them, interwoven with the very beginnings of our ghost. It's all beautifully balanced and told, with the story never allowing the horror to overshadow it, but instead allowing it to lurk quietly amongst it, unleashing it at just the right moments to ensure the best effect.
I believe this is the first full novel from this author, and I'll be keeping an eye out for the next.
An extremely imaginative tale with beautiful writing. (I mean, like BEAUTIFUL writing!) The ending was rushed and pretty confusing. Not in a let-me-fill-in-the-end sort of way, but in a way that felt like the author just needed to wrap it up. And, I felt like the final battle kinda petered out.
Un cacciatore ermetico, un fantasma intelligente e deciso a rimanere in questa realtà.
Emma Rose Finnis. Figlia d’Irlanda. Nata testarda. Cresciuta per essere tenace di fronte alle ferite.
In una realtà dove le apparizioni sembrano all’ordine del giorno, esistono i cacciatori che riportano l’ordine e la pace. Ogni luogo viene ripulito da tutto quello che non è vivo.
“Al volgere del millennio, quando cominciarono le cacce, ero preoccupata come ogni altro fantasma. Ma la paura, alla fine, non fa del bene a nessuno.[…]A molti di quei poveretti che ho visto ricacciare nella terra è successo perché non prendevano in giusta considerazione il proprio diritto, la propria luce.”
Ma quando la casa dei ricchi Lambry viene messa in vendita, le cose non vanno per il verso giusto e un fantasma rivela la sua presenza. Viene chiamato il cacciatore Pratt, figura enigmatica e fredda, convinto che i fantasmi siano meri contenitori senza sentimenti né emozioni.
Deciso a disfarsi della presenza ostile, inizia un gioco d’inganni e sotterfugi.
I've been wanting to read this for a really long time. I loved it, but didn't like the end because it leaves you with few answers. I see there are two sequels but they aren't available on audio. I also don't like the fact that you have to read the sequel to get an answer on this one. That's totally not cool.
This book was so different than others I’ve read. I found it a bit slow at times but overall it was quite interesting and I enjoyed it. To give a description would give too much away, but it is about society and love and ghosts...
This is a well-written ghost story. Without over dramatization, the author tells a tale from the perspective of Emma Rose finnis, who died 100 years ago. With dreams of having a good life, a grand life, employed by the wealthiest family, she continues to haunt the Lambry mansion. Her dreams did not rise to the level of the least satisfaction.
Stubbornly, she holds fast to her right to live specturally in the many rooms of the mansion. But, alas the town has proclaimed that it will be cleaned of all spirits and the "hunters" are paid well. Lambry mansion is in the process of being sold to a rather wealthy couple.
When Emma Rose follows them with the realtor throughout the house, she learns many things, including the fact that they will gut the inside totally. All the charm and beauty will be demolished. Emma will not let that occur. She mightily haunts the perspective buyers who are just as determined as she to win.
As she fights, a "hunter" is called. He slowly tries to work his magic in taunting her spirit to come forth so that he might send it to the grave where it belongs.
The fight is brutal. The story of Emma is a sad one. At times, I routed for huner Pratt to put dear Emma at peace, and yet, Emma, whose lonely life never rose to anything but a mere chambermaid, is bound and determined to stay. She's earned that right, and she will continue to claim it.
"The Last to See Me" is a riveting, fascinating ghost story focusing on the life and the death of a young Emma Rose Finnis. For nearly a hundred years, she's been haunting the grounds of the Lambry house. After the owner's death, Alice, the house is put on the market and a couple wants to purchase it and gut it. Emma, refusing to let them make the property their own, scares them with an attack, prompting them to contact a ghost hunter. From then on, it becomes a game of cat and mouse: the hunter is trying to catch Emma and Emma is trying to avoid getting caught.
I thought that the story was lovely. It was well-crafted and I liked the transitions between the past and present. The reason I didn't rate the novel higher was because I found myself skimming it toward the last third of the book. The pacing was either too slow or too fast, and I couldn't stay invested in the story. I was also confused by the ending.
I found the book enthralling—-until the end, when I went, “ What just happened?!” Emma worked as a maid 100 years ago in a small logging town. She catches the eye of the son of a wealthy family, who offer her a better paying job out at the lighthouse. Quint is a determined young man who rides his horse out to visit once or twice a week, no matter what his folks say. A hundred years later, the town is fading away, and the remaining family members decide to sell the mansion the wealthy family lived in. The couple eying the house insist they are planning to essential rip out the interior. Emma isn’t pleased and interferes. So, the real estate agent locates a ghost hunter. I’m a big fan of the shows Buffy and Supernatural. This novel sounds perfect. However, the end is lacking in clarity.
This only lost a star because some of the scenes played, in my mind, like Hollywood shock factor.
This is a ghost story not totally new and unique, but written in a way that is unique and beautiful. Not necessarily the perspective, but the language and prose Dressler uses are poetic, haunting, and atmospheric. A handful of times, we lose that thread of atmospheric for the sake of those Hollywood moments I mentioned. But the first couple lines capture the author's voice and style in such a way that the reader knows they are in for an authentic ghost story. While not necessarily scary, and sometimes a little scifi, this is the ghost story I've been waiting for without knowing I've been waiting for it. I devoured this in a day and enjoyed every page.
Discovered this book & author by accident on Facebook when a few posted about going to a reading of this book by the author at our local Indie book store Scuppernong. The author is a creative writing professor at Guilford College. I absolutely fell in love with this ghost story! Told from the viewpoint of the ghost, the reader is taken thru twists & turns that have you saying "Wow! Really? Let me read that again". This ghost has wit, spunk and perseverance. Great read!