The Lodger by Helen Scarlett

Gothic literature would, I imagine for some, be a genre confined to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, yet it has always continued, albeit predominantly in the background of the preponderance of mainstream fiction.  However, there has been a revival (of sorts) of this rather unique genre during the past few decades with some of the more well-known books being televised and even film versions being produced.  With this revival, some great new books have been published, including The Lodger, by Helen Scarlett, released in March 2023.

The Lodger is Helen Scarlett’s second novel (following The Deception of Harriet Fleet in 2020) who, once again, delivers a tale of mystery and intrigue set amid a gothic atmosphere set amid a period of mourning in 1919 following the First World War.

Following the story of Grace Armstrong, a journalist for a small paper, mourning the disappearance of her fiancé at the Battle of Ypres, and led on an investigation following the mysterious disappearance of the lodger residing at the family home.  What follows is a journey which will lead Grace to self-discoveries of her own past, the intrigue of a mystery from the past and her realisation of the ghostly presence of loved ones lost to the war.

One of the main attractions of The Lodger is not only a good story, but the characters are both identifiable and sympathetic, with Scarlett’s narrative making the story even more believable by making the characters, the scenes, and the story perfectly believable.  With this re-emergence of Gothic fiction’s prevalence to the modern reader, The Lodger will sit firmly at the top of the genre, with great storytelling from an author at the top of her game. There is so much to The Lodger that I actually felt compelled to buy Helen Scarlett’s first novel!

  • The Lodger by Helen Scarlett is published by Quercus Books (£18.99). To order a copy go to

Tom Stanger
Host at Supernatural People podcast, Editor/writer at The Pilgrim Magazine, curator of the Pontyddim archives, tea drinker, hat wearer and autism advocate. PhD researcher on Gothic Literature & religion also does book reviews bad photography and other bits and bobs

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