Cover image for Some old lover's ghost
Some old lover's ghost
Lennox, Judith.
Personal Author:
First Quill edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Quill/William Morrow, 1999.

Physical Description:
479 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Reprint. Originally published: Doubleday.
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Combining the eloquence and compassion of great English storytellers such as Rosamunde Pilcher and Joanna Trollope with a keen sense for how we reconcile the present by connecting to our past, Judith Lennox comes to America with this international bestseller.

Rebecca Bennett, thirty-one, financially strapped and reeling from a disastrous love affair, has just taken on the biggest project of her career: writing the biography of Dame Tilda Franklin, considered England's angel to needy children.

Mining the past of this distinguished child welfare activist, Rebecca is amazed to discover a history riddled with the passion and pain of mysterious kin and unpredictable love. Delving further into Dame Tilda's life, Rebecca finds parallels with her own experience and begins to regard this woman as a soul mate. Soon a romance blossoms between Rebecca and Tilda's grandson, Patrick, and she is drawn even closer to the family. Yet, just as their relationship begins to grow, Rebecca uncovers a family secret that threatens to destroy her newfound love.

Set against the stark beauty of the Fen country and peopled with memorable characters, Some Old Lover's Ghost is an addictive novel of tragedy, recovery, healing, and love that will raise you up and touch your heart.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Set in East Anglia, Lennox's latest romance is a fulfilling, enriching story of how the past determines the present. Rebecca Bennett, who has just lost her newborn child and been abandoned by her lover, is at first diverted and then absorbed by the task of writing a biography of the elderly Dame Tilda Franklin. Tilda has spent her life caring for neglected and abandoned children, and children both wanted and unwanted are at the book's core. As Rebecca delves into Tilda's past, an intricate tapestry of secrets, betrayals, revenge, and even murder emerges. The rape of a servant girl by a wealthy landowner in 1914, which resulted in Tilda's birth, still haunts the family years later. Love, misplaced and confused, has led to animosities as well as marriages that pair the wrong partners. But happiness awaits as Rebecca slowly realizes that she has been chosen to solve the puzzle of the past, and that her quest has lead her to Dame Tilda's grandson, and to her becoming an integral part of the family. --Holly Cooley

Publisher's Weekly Review

Popular British writer Lennox (Footprints in the Sand) frames her romantic mystery, spanning a century's worth of family intrigue, adultery and betrayal, with a modern-day dilemma. London biographer-documentary filmmaker Rebecca Bennett is 31 years old, bright and ambitious, but after having been left abruptly by her selfish lover when she miscarries his child, she's devastated. Depressed, Rebecca almost turns down the chance to write the biography of Dame Tilda Franklin, an activist who devoted her life to saving orphaned or unwanted children. Rebecca knows that saints make for dull stories, and she's interested in the "skull beneath the skin." But Tilda reveals a wealth of skeletons in a long-locked closet and Rebecca is drawn to Tilda and to her handsome lawyer grandson, Patrick. Gradually, frail, elderly Tilda recounts her complicated early life; her mother was raped by wealthy Edward de Paveley, who connived to have her sent to an asylum, and Tilda was raised by a strange, vengeful aunt. Her first love, Daragh Canavan, marries de Paveley's legitimate daughter, but never stops loving Tilda, though Tilda weds journalist Max Franklin and has a family of her own. Decades later, as Rebecca is researching Tilda's story, a body is discovered, believed to be Daragh's. A mysterious caller accuses Tilda of murdering Daragh years ago, so Rebecca plunders the family history, chasing ghosts and rumors in hopes of revealing the truth. Little does she know she's in danger herself from an unexpected source. Believable characters and a tale rife with shocking scandals make for a chilling mystery, though at times the plot whips through historical eras and switches narrative voices with little warning. Readers may sympathize with Tilda's mother, whose life was ruined in 1914 by bearing a child out of wedlock, but will have a harder time understanding modern-day Rebecca, an emotional basket case who seems to make a habit of getting pregnant at the outset of her romances, and seems powerless in directing her life, despite her description as a worldly, enterprising career woman. Agent, Robin Straus. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Readers of Rosamunde Pilcher and Angela Thirkell should enjoy this very entertaining novel, a contemporary tale that intermingles flashbacks to 1930s and 1940s Britain. Thirty-one-year-old Rebecca Bennett is still recovering from a disastrous affair when she is asked to write the biography of Dame Tilda Franklin, a highly regarded social activist who has devoted her life to rescuing children from appalling situations. As Rebecca becomes increasingly involved in her subject's extraordinary life, her research into the sinister disappearance of Tilda's first love decades ago strains her new relationship with Tilda's grandson, Patrick. The author effortlessly blends moments of suspense with pathos and humor (including one hysterical scene that anyone who has ever wished to take revenge on an old flame will appreciate). The shift between Tilda's past and Rebecca's present is never confusing or annoying, and both lives are equally interesting. This well-written and thoroughly enjoyable novel will have readers eagerly turning the pages until the end.ÄElizabeth Mary Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.