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Still She Wished for Company

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My thanks to Margaret Irwin, Agora Books and Net Galley for the ARC of STILL SHE WISHED FOR COMPANY. I love time-slip and this novel was done beautifully, not just in the writing but in the construction. Of course, at the moment, historical fiction is very popular and any new novel needs to be excellent to pass muster. This certainly does. Stunning!
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Originally written in 1924, the novel’s is split between that date and the 1770s giving us a different heroine to follow in each timeline, I’m a big fan of historical mysteries with a gothic element so this seemed perfect for me. Our modern heroine Jan, works in an office job and has a young man interested in her, although she seems underwhelmed by both. In the past we meet Juliana Clare, a young woman from an aristocratic family who also feels disenchanted with her quiet life of gardening, writing in her journal and pottering round the family home in Berkshire. One thing she does know, is that excitement won’t be found with one of the eligible young men her mother wants her to choose. 

When Juliana’s father dies, change does come knocking at the door, in the shape of her eldest brother Lucien. Lucien was sent abroad by their father due to his dissolute lifestyle, but now he’s back to claim his inheritance, Juliana is the only member of the family wanting to see him, and confides in her brother that she has seen a strangely dressed young woman in the house who could only be a ghost. Lucien has also seen her, in his imagination or a dream. He recognises the description Juliana gives and realises that she might be his only chance of seeing her again. This strange apparition is Jan, who visited the country house while on her holidays. Jan saw Juliana, and assumed she must have seen a ghost, despite Juliana seeming too vital and alive to be a ghost. What follows is very unexpected. 

The author keeps the story simple, neither heroine has a long complicated back story. For some reason Juliana’s world, rich in period detail, is so much more vivid than the 1920s. I thought this was an earlier, more quiet version of a genre I love. It’s interesting to read it as a precedent of books like. Kate Morton’s. I would recommend reading it to others.
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Jane Austen meets The Haunting of Bly Manor in this Gothic historical fiction. I love Gothic fiction, particularly the slow tension building, but this one just didn't do it for me. 

Set mostly in 1700's England - with another narrative taking place briefly in the 1920's - I found that although the characters were believable, betrayed typical behaviour of the time (a patriarchal England) and so were very unlikeable. It's one of the reasons I tend not to read period pieces but the 'gothic' element caught my eye. Examples include: a lot of conversation about marrying off the 17-year old heroine to a man "who has loved her since she was a child" and a manipulative older brother who is not only obnoxious but makes remarks about women in the same taste. 

I did like the, very brief, ghostly aspects of this story but unfortunately they played second fiddle to the main storyline of marriage, duty, honour and family positions. This was unfortunately quite unforgettable.
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Um, this was not at all the time-travel romance I envisioned when I read the phrase "In her enchanting first novel, Margaret Irwin weaves a hauntingly gothic tale full of magic, desire, and fate." In fact, I'm not sure this story is about time travel at all - yet neither is it the tale of a gothic haunting. It's a novel of manners first and foremost, and not the best I've read.

This story could have worked for me if it had not been written in the 1920s but in the 21st century instead. Alas, it falls victim to its contemporary habit of neglecting any actual characterization. Instead, it gets wordy about Juliana's family history and life in approximately Georgian England. While this is the first time I recall reading about interdimensional/inter-timeline travel from a "past" person's perspective, the mechanisms behind it are poorly explained. There is little to no interaction between flapper Jan (whose POV only opens and ends the novel) and dainty Juliana. Just a lot of... rambling.

In the end, I'm glad I was born in the 1990s and have all the genre fiction I desire at my disposal.
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This was beautifully written, with compelling characters and a really intriguing plot. I'm a little confused about why this book is on NG, but it was a lovely read.
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In London in the 1920s, Jan Challard leads a respectable life, dates a respectable man. But it all seems dull. It’s only the hope of a dashing and a bit dangerous “Gentleman Unknown” that gives her life a bit of excitement. Jan has seen him in dreams, in a picture, almost in flashes, but he doesn’t truly appear in her life.

In the English countryside in 1779, Juliana Clare is the pampered youngest daughter of the late Lord Chidleigh, enjoying a fine life at a large estate. At 17, adulthood is just around the corner, and there are hints of marriage in her near future. She has family and friends she cares about, but Juliana feels a lack of … something … in her predictable life. Then her oldest brother, the newest lord of the manor, comes home after being away for several years, and he indicates he understands her longings. Juliana and Lucian talk of some of the unusual things he’s seen and been involved with, and he works with her secretly to encourage her spirit to “wander.”

At times, Juliana is shocked to find herself seeing people she doesn’t know, in strange dress, on the estate, and her brother seems to be longing for one particular young woman she sees several times. It’s disturbing and unnerving for Juliana but also exciting, relieving the boredom of endless days shut up in her country house, occasionally going to other country houses, being potentially promised to marry someone in another country house.

Tragedy brings it all to a head, however, and difficult choices must be made that will affect the course of Juliana’s, Lucian’s and even Jan’s lives.

Still She Wished for Company is a book originally published in 1924 and recently treated to a new release. It’s described as gothic, a ghost story, and it is, but even as it was appropriately atmospheric and slightly paranormal, it all fell slightly flat for me. I never felt it went where it could have gone; it just tiptoed around and then came back from potentially more interesting territory. It all made sense and came together; I had just imagined it would be more.
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Still She Wished For Company by Margaret Irwin is a historical fiction ghost story with time travel and fantasy elements to the story. We see two main protagonists Jan and Juliana, both of which live a very content and dull life. This was originally published in 1924 and is set in 1s70s and between that time era.

The story starts pretty slow and I did not find anything haunting about this story. A lot of information was thrown on the past life of Juliana but nothing was moving forward in the story is what I felt. However, the time travel and difference of time between the two stories and two characters was done well.

I loved the idea of the book, but the ending was kind off rushed. The execution could have been done better. The stories and two characters are different, yet similar in  their own unique way. I liked how the time gap between them of more than a century explains the cultural differences.
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Thanks to Agora books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Still She Wished for Company is the best book I have read in quite a while. A historical, fantastical, unusual novel that gently carries you into the 1700s and grips you like a classic gothic ghost story. 

I will admit that the first paragraph didn't draw me in right away. The language was very lyrical and felt a little too flowery. I found it hard to get into after reading a lot of contemporary fiction. But as soon as I accepted this was historical, meant to be read as if it had been written at the time, it gripped me, in fact, the first part, which feels like it is happening sometimes between post-world war I and world war II, was less engaging than what quickly follows. However, the absent-minded wordy tone is explained by the very nature of the often confused and day-dreaming main character. She would like to live in a different age and she keeps thinking it is almost there, at her reach. 
And that's when the novel does a backflip and sends you into the life of a 1700s aristocrat, who is just 17 years old. She is bored and both scared and fascinated by the return of her mysterious elder brother as the new heir of the estate, the fortune and her future. That does not make much of a novel but the tone is amazing.
Everyone knows the cliches of the gothic novels around the Bronte sisters time. This book does it beautifully, and while the heroine has no idea what is going on, we can read all the occult hints sprinkled between the lines. This is not the usual ghost story at all, in fact it turns the ghost tales inside out. What if the ghost could look right back at you from their very own life? And while I would love to say more I do not want to spoil anyone's fun. I really enjoyed that novel and highly recommend it to anyone who likes classics, who loves to see the supernatural done differently, who loves gothic novels, who loves the occult, who loves to read those great country novels of the 1800s. It was fantastic.
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The haunting tale of two women, Jan from the 1920s and Juliana from the 1770s, whose lives intertwine over the centuries in unexpected ways, I found it a surprisingly convincing ghost story, a genre I am not normally drawn to, but here the separate narratives mesh well to great effect. It’s no scary ghost story, there’s no horror here, but a haunting tale of love and loss that feels perfectly real, with characters who are authentic, and into whose trajectories the reader is absorbingly drawn. The period detail is accurate and atmospheric and overall it’s a beautifully written novel from the hand of a master storyteller. Gentle, slow-paced, measured, it’s a book to curl up with and simply enjoy.
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An excellent and gripping story that kept me hooked till the last page.
Great character development and world building, a tightly knitted plot.
It's the first first book I read by this author and won't surely be the last.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I greatly enjoyed this read. Sure it’s dated but it was written so long ago. It’s a fine ghost story with loads of ambiance. Clever and slightly unsettling.
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A wonderful debut novel with intertwining narratives. An easy and enjoyable read! Juliana's story was my favourite and I felt like I could have stayed in that era for the whole novel!
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Nope, this one did not chill the socks off of me like I had hoped. I did not think it was gothic enough to create atmosphere and, whilst Irwin has created a really interesting premise, I do not think it was as gripping as it could have been.

I was really surprised to discover that this book focuses mostly on the past, Juliana’s story. As she begins to see sightings, readers get the impression that this is linked to Jan, the character we are introduced to in the opening chapter. However, I largely found the narrative to be rather dull and could not care less about the French Duke and his storyline. 

All in all, I found this story to be rather monotonous – a bit like how Jan is described! I was yearning for there to be more ghostly, supernatural episodes. Instead, this was a particularly slow narrative that, by the time the gothic really strengthened, I had already lost interest. This was a book that I had to keep plodding away at; it felt more like a chore than a spine-tingling reading experience.

This is the second time I have tried a book by Irwin and again my expectations have been dashed. I love trying new authors and was excited by this promise of 1920s gothic fiction, but this really did not work for me. As for as Irwin is concerned, I don’t think this is a novelist that I will return to in the future.

With thanks to Agora books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I love the idea of this book but the ending was a little rushed and left me wanting for more. Also, some aspects that would have been really interesting, were left superficial.

Still She Wished for Company is the story of two young women. Both live simple, withdrawn lives. Jan lives in the 1920s and looks on her life with the conservative office job and her fiancé whom she might love or not. Because there is still the portrait of the unknown gentleman that she can't get out of her head. Juliana lives a secluded life in her family's mansion in the 1770s that is very foreseeable until the moment her father dies and her oldest brother, Lucian, returns to the estate.

The book was originally published in 1924 by Margaret Irwin who is best known for her historical fiction. This story was advertised as a gothic ghost story and loved its atmosphere. Every description was on point and it was super easy to imagine the world Jan and Juliana live in.
I loved reading about both of them.

There is a supernatural aspect to the story - I would have loved to explore it further, but the book was very short in this regard. The book is carried by the way the characters and their surroundings are described. I missed the "how" and "why" in some places and felt a bit cheated by the ending but ultimately, although the story has been around for nearly 100 years, I haven't read something similar in ages. Loved the concept and the twisted approach to a ghost story. It certainly is not nearly as spooky or creepy as the marketing tries to make you believe but I had fun reading it.

Before Still She Wished for Company I haven't read anything by the author but strongly consider picking up one of her historical fictions. Any recommendations?
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I tried but this book was just sooo slooow. It's a historical fiction with some sci fi and ghost story involved. Neither one of these three are strong. It was first published in 1924 and maybe back then it would have been a great book, but to me it just wasn't that interesting .

The characters, of what I read, were boring to me. There was no real meat to them. Lucian and Juliana took up most of the part of the book I read.

Even though, I didn't care about this book, it doesn't mean you want. If you like slow books this just might be for you. Everyone reads a different book with the same title.

Thanks to Timeless Fiction and Netgalley for the Kindle version of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Still She Wished for Company by Margaret Irwin

This book tells the stories of two young women - Jan Challard in 1920s London and Juliana Clare in the 1770s at Chidleigh House, a country estate.  The novel is part historical fiction, part time slip (backwards and forwards), part gothic mystery and part ghost story, all in one!  I really enjoyed Juliana's story and the background to her family in and of itself, so the supernatural elements were just a bonus really.  An intriguing book and not like anything I've read before.  

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book.
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Thank you to Agora Books for the copy of Still She Wished for Company.

This was a strange tale originally published in 1924. Usually I love classics, but this one was difficult. It took me weeks of puttering through to finish, and honestly, I will forget by the next. While the premise sounds interesting, what it delivers is not what you expect. It is a ghost story, science fiction, historical fiction, but also none of those with strength. Most of the tale is told between Juliana and Lucian, her brother, and neither particularly fascinated me. 

If you enjoy a slow-paced tale, this may be for you. However, this was highly forgettable for me.
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Thanks to Agora Books and Netgalley for providing a review copying exchange for honest feedback.


First of all, I did not even expected that I will be reading a book that almost reached a hundred years old. Nevertheless, it's fine, i still can proceed. I enjoyed the Juliana's part however Jan's part is so short I kind of is this all Jan's have? 

A bit of dissapointed that I hardly understand the time travelling thing happened. I seems lost or probably it's classics. I understand that Jan's life is like this and Juliana's life is that. I must be missed out or misunderstood whenever these two characters switch their soul or something. I might need a movie to understand better. A visual retelling. 

A bit odd to me why is the relationship of a brother and sister seemed so close. Lucian and Juliana almost acted like lovers. I then grasped on the understanding when I read the reviews here. However it seems to be off for me on why Jan's screen time is so little, is it because she's in Juliana's body the whole time? I was so confused till the end. I just can't see the magic happened but surely this can consider gothic thriller. 

I believe others would find it entertaining and enjoyed to be read.
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This book is well written and quite an interesting concept as it definitely makes you consider your own mortality and connections between generations.  It is also good to read a different style of writing as this book was originally published in the early 1900s.  Overall though I was disappointed that there wasn’t more interaction between the two time periods, and a bit more ghostly gothic goings on.  I wasn’t quite sure at times what was going on and the relationships all seemed quite difficult.
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Loved this book from the opening pages.I consumed this book in one day.So beautifully written wish it went on longer.Time travel two stories that come together seamlessly.#netgalley#agorabooks
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