The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

After making a spectacle of herself by slapping an author she hardly knows, Jane flees to a bed and breakfast near Ingleside. The ghosts know what she’s doing:

This, we thought, is how you reinvent yourself. This is how you disappear.”

Going off the map and pretending to be someone else, Jane works on her old thesis topic. Instead of just researching the asylum’s record taking, she wants to solve the mystery of N., the Victorian girl who disappeared.

While researching the Farrington records and the Whitmore’s records, she embarks on an hasty affair with a younger man, a gardener working on the restoration of Ingleside.

Though this book is ostensibly about missing persons, it’s not really a suspenseful thriller; its a thoughtful, lyrical book that explores how trauma in someone’s past can paralyze and destroy their present.

For more books with themes that involve missing children, try Gilly Macmillan’s What She Knew, Kate Hamer’s The Girl in the Red Coat, or Amanda Eyre Ward’s How to be Lost.

For another narrative set in England about ghosts and museums, try Kate Mosse’s The Taxidermist’s Daughter.


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