I am delighted to be kicking off the Blog Tour to celebrate the publication of Jennifer C Wilson’s Kindred Spirits: Ephemera.
This is, I believe, the fifth in a series of books set in the world of historical spirits but this one, rather than focusing upon a small set of characters ‘inhabiting’ a particular location, offers us a collection of short stories using a broad range of ghostly characters in a variety of settings.
The afterlife is alive with possibility…
In this collection of stories, we follow kings and queens as they make important (and history-defying) visits, watch a football game featuring the foulest of fouls, and meet a host of new spirits-in-residence across the British Isles and beyond.
Be transported to ancient ruins, a world-famous cemetery, and a new cathedral, and catch up with old friends – and enemies. Because when the dead outnumber the living and start to travel, the adventures really do begin.
Kindred Spirits: Ephemera is a charming collection of stories about your favourite ghosts!
So, what is my own take on this set of stories?
Well, first I should concede that it is not a book that I would normally read, but I was attracted by the notion of getting into the heads of some key historical figures – with, of course, the benefit of hindsight.
Clearly, because these are short stories, there is no great depth of development, but the writer does show a impressive level of skill and subtlety in how she weaves the characters, often from different time periods, into each story. It is not easy to create a convincing portrait of a dead person, such as Anne Boleyn, who is probably quite familiar to many readers even if they only have a casual interest in history. Not only that, but the character might have been dead for hundreds of years and emotionally they have changed, perhaps ‘moved on’ from whatever misfortunes befell them in life.
As with any collection of stories, some are stronger than others. My own favourite story explores the relationships between Henry VIII’s six wives as they finally have a get-together! Without giving much away, it would be fair to say that there are a few tensions… This story I think displays the strength of the collection and the author’s ability to create connections between people who may never have met during their lives. Characters are also given roles that they may not have had in life – so for example, among the six wives, there is an organiser and a peacemaker too. These roles add further depth to the characters making them far more than cardboard cutout historical figures.
Because of the insight the author shows, this book is both entertaining and interesting. The reader never feels that the characters are stereotypes, chiefly because of the cleverly choreographed interaction between them. I found it a book that was easy to dip into and most enjoyable to read.
Kindred Spirits: Ephemera was published on: June 4th 2020 by Darkstroke Books
Here’s what you need to know about Jennifer C Wilson:
Jennifer C. Wilson stalks dead people (usually monarchs, mostly Mary Queen of Scots and Richard III). Inspired by childhood visits to as many castles and historical sites her parents could find, and losing herself in their stories (not to mention quote often the castles themselves!), at least now her daydreams make it onto the page.
After returning to the north-east of England for work, she joined a creative writing class, and has been filling notebooks ever since. Jennifer won North Tyneside Libraries’ Story Tyne short story competition in 2014, and in 2015, her debut novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London was published by Crooked Cat Books. The full series was re-released by Darkstroke in January 2020.
Jennifer is a founder and host of the award-winning North Tyneside Writers’ Circle, and has been running writing workshops in North Tyneside since 2015. She also publishes historical fiction novels with Ocelot Press. She lives in Whitley Bay, and is very proud of her two-inch view of the North Sea.
You can connect with Jennifer online: