THE BRIDGE OF DEAD THINGS
August 16, 2022
I have had this book on my shelf for a long time and finally got around to reading it. Why did I wait so long?
I was captured from the first page. Some people have shelved it as "horror" which it certainly is not. It is a well written, well researched book which draws you in to the story and life of Lizzie.
I have already opened up the next book in the series "The Scarab Heart". I just cannot wait to see what comes next for Lizzie.
January 05, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well formed and believable. Lizzie has the spunk needed to get herself through some trying times in Victorian England, even on her own. When she finds out her special talent of communicating with the dead, she finds herself as unbelieving about it as some of the others around her. Slowly she begins to take stock of her circumstances and come to terms with her life and her talents.
November 22, 2021
A great mystery and paranormal story with characters that draw you in. Don't want to give away too many of the secrets. It was such a fast read and you'll enjoy discovering everything along with the main character, Lizzie. I couldn't put the book down. Lizzie is a gifted medium who uncovers truths others want to keep hidden. Would recommend this for young adults who want some paranormal topics without it being too scary.
paolasp, LibraryThing Reviewer
November 06, 2021
Starts out light-hearted and funny, with a Huckleberry Finn sort of vibe, and gets creepier and eventually horrific. Great characters and story. Everything comes together well in the end. I do wish the resolution to Ophelia's story hadn't been so quick. I look forward to reading the next book.
November 07, 2020
Wow what a fantastic book to read! My mind was conjuring up all these fantastic images based on how descriptive the prose was in this lovely book. I liked the mystery, the story telling, and most of all I loved Lizzie Blaylock! I will definitely read the next one and I am sure I will not be disappointed. I rate this book five stars.
October 27, 2019
This book is intriguing, mesmerising and totally enthralling; full of mystery, excitement, wit and poignancy in equal measure; packed with wonderful characters and dialogue, as ever, in an authentic Victorian setting.
As with all his books, I could easily see this remarkable tale being adapted for a television audience.
A thoroughly entertaining and satisfying read.
October 5, 2019
I had the pleasure of stumbling across Michael on Twitter when I was looking for some writers to support with a #writerlift once I read and review their books. I also had the privilege of chatting with him a few times as I was reading the book. These are my thoughts on the book:
This book is very well written. It grabs the readers attention from the very beginning and keeps them guessing even on the last page. Having just finished this exciting, suspenseful, historical mystery, I am already ready for book 2! Lucky for me, I can pick it up and start reading now!
A few things that were interesting to me about the book:
1. There are several times where the author doesn't give everything away, the reader is left to their imagination to figure out what actually happened. This is a lot of fun to me and I enjoyed sitting there guessing what it was all about.
2. Though the story is about "powers" and connecting to people who have already died, there is a seemingly always present Christian undertone to the story. References to God and the church are made on several occasions. It was nice to see this included in a book about a topic that many Christians dismiss as being impossible, communicating with the dead.
3. Unexpected twists were never in short supply. I was amazed at the creativity and the thought process and even when I thought I had everything figured out, the ending still shocked me and left me wanting more!
The characters are fantastic and their descriptions allow the readers to almost visibly see the characters standing in front of them as actors on a stage. The descriptions of the world make the reader feel like they have stepped back in time.
Overall, it is a fantastic book written by a very creative mind. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes mystery, historical fiction, surprise twists, good writing, and realistic characters.
Thanks, Michael, for the opportunity to read and review your book!
August 19, 2019
This is the second series by Michael Gallagher that I have recently begun reading. I was slightly concerned that it would not measure up to the 'Send For Octavius Guy' 3 book series that I read in quick succession and adored. I was not at all disappointed in 'The Bridge Of Dead Things' - the first in 'The Involuntary Medium' series. Don't be put off by the title - it is cleverly explained in the unusual and entertaining plot.
Michael Gallagher does a brilliant job as the voice of the somewhat reluctant teenage medium Lizzie Blaylock who finds herself pulled into the growing Victorian fascination for seances and the paranormal. A memorable cast of characters had me hooked early on and I will definitely want to read the second book. If you like a cosy mystery with a historical setting I'm sure you will enjoy this absorbing story with a neat ending.
April 14, 2019
I have seen this book described as a Young Adult read and while true, I don’t fit that description and loved it all the same! What drew me was that the book is an historical fiction crime mystery ghost story. The Bridge delivered on all accounts. Fast paced and action-packed, the story immerses you in the life of distinct socio-economic groups in London’s late 19th century as seen through the eyes of a bright, precocious, and sincere young teen.
The era of psychic mediums and conversing with the dead was a real phenomenon that swept Europe and North America during the late 1800s and the early 1900s. The concept enthralled everyone regardless of social standing and The Bridge of Dead Things was a wonderful conduit for sweeping the reader into that aspect of life. The Bridge is entertaining and well-written providing authentic insight into the world of the era. Lizzie Blaylock, the main character, is a loveable and naive guide through the times.
The only disappointment during the journey was when it came to an end. But - aha - there is a next book in the series and I cannot wait to read it!
A little bit Flavia de Luce, a little bit Nancy Drew and a little bit ghost story, The Bridge of Dead Things is a lot of fun.
March 31, 2019
I loved it! The story of Lizzie was extremely descriptive and the historical details are very well researched. I read most of the book in one night simply because I couldn't put it down and when I finally did it was five a.m. Wonderfully haunting and exciting it receives five stars from me and I fully intend to read more of Michael's books.
October 19, 2018
Loved it. It was eerie, as well as funny at times, with great characters, dialogue and an excellent plot. I really liked the Victorian setting and descriptions, the language that the author used added to the overall theme of the story and made it very easy to read.
Lizzie Blaylock was an excellent main character, I really enjoyed her witty internal monologue and various escapades.
Will definitely check out the next book in the series.
October 11, 2018
This Young Adult book is the first story about 13 year-old Lizzie Blaylock, the involuntary Medium. Set in late Victorian London, Lizzie has been fortunate in receiving an education despite the poverty of her family. But this ceases, when a strange fit in the classroom causes teacher, Miss Smutts to expel her. Miss Smutts’ motives are suspect since she arranges employment for Lizzie as a maidservant in a rather odd household. Lizzie’s fit has revealed her special power to allow ghostly manifestations to return from the dead. Soon this gothic novel becomes darker as Lizzie is taken under the wing of Simeon de Florence, who purports to expose false mediums. There is relief from the weird experiences in the humorous characters we meet, such as Miss Otis, the kindly clairvoyant and the obsession with seances by many wealthy Victorians provides an exciting setting. I feel that Lizzie is more like a 20th century heroine in her speech and actions but the Victorian context is vividly described.
August 17, 2018
This story is set in Victorian London of 1885. A 13-year-old girl named Lizzie Blaylock has fits. Just before her fit she always smells rotting pears and finds herself lying on a beautiful hill of lush green waving grass. It is a place of comfort. It is her astral place and somewhere she feels safe. When she emerges from her fit, those around her are shaken by the unsightly experience. Many saying that ghostly manifestations emerge from her chest. Lizzie loses her place at her school because of this. She is given an opportunity by the teacher to be a young maid at a house close by. From here Lizzie stumbles into a bizarre world of charlatans and well-intentioned people when they witness her having another fit.
There is a scientist/psychic investigator named Simeon de Florence who is fascinated by Lizzie’s powers of a medium. He has exposed false mediums in the past and has an interest in electricity. All for more diabolical projects concerning mediums contacting the dead. There is also Miss Otis, a sort of clairvoyant lady who does medium demonstrations before gatherings of people. Lizzie’s school teacher Mrs Smutts continues to be close at hand with all manner of other interesting characters.
Lizzie begins to realise that her strange powers have consequences and others want to use her for their own ends. Gradually the young girl must come of age via adolescence as a young woman and a medium. Lizzie Blaylock is told that she is a conduit. A bridge linking the real world to that of the dead. She is the Bridge of Dead Things.
If you like medium or strange phenomenon style stories, this is an absolute must! As the story progresses, there are some, around the young girl, who are all caught up in some past diabolical wrongs. I can’t say much more without spoiling the story for a future reader. It will all come to an exciting climax - very gripping and compelling all the way.
March 28, 2015
I got the two Involuntary Medium books as a gift from a friend last year, and I have got to say, these books are unlike any other I have read, the language is very good and easy to read, the story is exiting, and the characters are captivating, and both books are almost impossible to put down. The only bad thing about them is that I would like them to be even longer! Can't wait for the next books in the series!
Helene Gårdsvold, Amazon.com
March 18, 2014
I received this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers and I'm so glad that I did because I absolutely loved it! I don't give out 5 stars very often, but I did for this book! It grabbed me from the start and didn't let go. The characters were well defined and it was easy to visualize them in my mind as I read. I found the story itself gripping. It kept me reading well into the early hours of the night!
I've always been interested by the Victorian fascination with seances and the Other Side so the setting and premise of the book was right up my alley. Lizzie Blaylock is a young girl from an impoverished family where her mother has run off and her father is an irresponsible alcoholic and thief, along with a little sister sick with TB. Not a pretty picture, but one that was all too common for the lower classes of the time. Lizzie, however, is not an ordinary young girl, but one who is "the rarest of the rare"...a material medium. Souls from the Other Side can use her body as a bridge to cross through to this world for a short period of time, and they can not only appear but also speak and interact with their loved ones. This ability is at first confusing to Lizzie until she learns what she is and what is happening during such episodes.
Knowing how desperate the times were for those in need, and taking Lizzie's young age and naivety into consider, it's no wonder that she falls into situations in which she doesn't know who to trust or if good fortune that falls into her lap will be snatched away without warning. She is resourceful and feisty, as well as intelligent and loyal. Mysteries abound and Gallagher does an amazing job creating an atmosphere of rising fear and creepiness. The characters known as Mr. and Mrs. Silver are an excellent example of the latter. They made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end and I think the author could do an excellent horror novel on them alone!
I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It was an exciting read and I was sorry to come to the last page. I hope that there are many more additions to the Lizzie Blaylock series because I now consider myself a firm fan! 🙂
March 20, 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual and intriguing YA book. It is part of a series, and unlike me, I suggest you read this one first.
The book is set in Victorian London and the heroine is a thirteen year girl called Lizzie Blaylock, with a gift she doesn't understand. She is a "materialising medium" or a bridge for the dead to contact the living.
The story opens with Lizzie suffering a seizure at school. She doesn't understand why her friends seem scared of her afterwards and is perplexed the following morning when she is expelled from school for impersonating a class mate who died a few months earlier. Confused and unaware of her "gift" she takes the position of a live-in maid.
All is not as it seems in her first placement. Her inability to control her ability leads to an extraordinary series of events but also brings her to the attention of other mediums working in London. Some wish to exploit her for financial gain while others wish to protect her. She is taken in by Simeon de Florence a renowned medium, where with the help of her friend Albert she discovers the truth about her predecessors.
Short chapters, lively dialogue, diverse characters and plenty of action drove the story forwards at a cracking pace. Suspense built towards an explosive ending. Very enjoyable.
As well as an entertaining read, there is just a subtle hint of a deeper reading of the story; the risk of exploitation of girls "coming of age."
The only criticism I could make (Please bear in mind I could be completely wrong as I only read a handful of YA novels and rarely historical fiction) but to me Lizzie felt like a contemporary teenager.
I've already read the second book in the series The Scarab Heart, which now makes more sense and I will be looking out for the third book, The Cat Who Fishes.
March 20, 2014
Lizzie Blaylock, a resident of Victorian London, was not having a good month. First, she is expelled from school for having some sort of fit that scared her whole class. She goes home to her terminally ill sister, to learn her father has lost his job. She lands a job as a maid, but that quickly ends when she has another of her fits. She arrives back home to discover that her whole family has just been thrown out of their home because the rent was due. She has still another fit while hiding out at a meeting of people trying to contact their dearly departed friends and relatives. At this point, she is taken under the wing of a woman who proclaims that Lizzie is a Bridge (those who have crossed-over can cross back again via Lizzie), and she finds herself living with a group who provide a regular service to those wishing to contact the deceased. The ins and outs and what-just-happeneds will keep you turning the pages as Lizzie explores what she is and, also, finds out more than she wanted to know about running a Victorian-era seance for profit. How much is flim-flam and how much is honest psychic abilities? You will have to read the book yourself to find out.
Nightwing Whitehead, Goodreads Reviewer
February 01, 2014
"The Bridge of Dead Things" is the beginning of a series of Lizzie Blaylock books about a teenage girl with supernatural powers. We're introduced to Lizzie as she is experiencing for the first time her gift of "bridging" the world of the living with that of the dead.
The setting is Victorian London, and throughout the book the author contrasts what that period looked and felt like from the perspective of the destitute with that of the privileged. Lizzie is growing up in extreme poverty with a disappointing father figure and an entirely absent mother. She is mostly left to look after herself and her younger sister who suffers from tuberculosis. Her father eventually abandons her, leaving her homeless.
When Lizzie unintentionally transforms into a bridge during a public seance, an opportunist named Simeon spots her and offers her a home with luxuries that are foreign to the world of poverty from which she comes. Although Lizzie slowly begins to comprehend that her body is a bridge between the living and the dead, she doesn't know how to control it. Simeon's motives are financially driven as he begins exploiting her at seances staged at his home, which has been kitted with fantastic props and illusions that are just convincing enough to provide a good income for him and his household.
As Lizzie discovers Simeon's secrets, she realizes that she is a threat to his livelihood and that some of her predecessors had mysteriously disappeared. She fears for her own fate, but along the way she makes allies with some colourful characters who offer to help her.
The setting in Victorian London provides good atmosphere. The characters are well developed, and the plot itself was interesting. Once I was about a quarter of the way through the book, I felt so engaged that I finished it within a couple of days.
Lizzie is an interesting heroin worthy of her own series. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of young adult fiction.
I received this book as an Early Reviewer, but that did not influence my review.
Kate Rutjes, LibraryThing Early Reviewer
January 28, 2014
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was amazed by the authors accurate depiction of the 1800s. He does it in a way that you feel as though you are back in time. This is a story of a girl who realizes she is "the bridge" to the other side. She tries to find herself while spirits take over. This book didn't seem to leave me with any questions, just wanting more.
Melissa P., LibraryThing Early Reviewer
January 14, 2014
Eliza Blaylock, Lizzie, is having a rough time. Her dad's been fired; her sister has tuberculosis; she just had some sort of fit at school for which she's getting kicked out and having to start working. When she has another fit, slowly she and those around her begin to realize that she may have special powers to communicate with the dead.
While not action packed, it's not exactly that kind of story. There are parts containing a good deal of action, but this is a primarily character driven story.
A good deal of background and detail, sometimes subtle detail, go into developing the characters and narrative throughout the tale. Scenery is time appropriate and described with flair.
Without giving too much plot away, I will just say this, the underlying mysteries/dilemmas are interwoven nicely.
Overall, a fun read.
catya77, LibraryThing Early Reviewer
December 16, 2013
I thought this was a pretty good book. I thought that the main character Lizzy was likable. I enjoy supernatural books and thought this did a good job with taking on mediums. I didn't find it all that scary although some parts were a little creepy. There were several characters throughout the book that had interesting backstories and related to Lizzy in different ways I found that made the story enjoyable. It had me wondering how they would all end up connecting. I plan on reading the sequel to The Bridge of Dead Things; it definitely left me wanting more.
Kellerdean, LibraryThing Early Reviewer
December 08, 2013
This was SO good! The story of Lizzie and how she discovered she is a 'bridge' to the dead. Some shivery parts and an historically accurate look at mediums, spiritualism and the way Victorian people, especially the poor lived. Gallagher always does his homework and you can feel how much he loves this era and these characters. Speaking of characters, there is a genuinely terrifying character in this book that blew me away! One of the scariest I have read in a long time-I won't give it away but when you meet her/him/it, you will leave your light on!
My only criticism and I had to really search to find ANYTHING!! The cover creeps me out which I guess is the point! Also, this is a YA novel set in 1885 but in a few places the 21st century shows through-mostly minor dialog that doesn't interrupt the flow. Ignore those parts and a few formatting errors. This book is worth your time and the second book in this series (The Scarab Heart) is also very good. I can't wait for more!! 5 stars.
I received a copy of the book to review-my opinion is my own.
Chris Keen, LibraryThing Early Reviewer
November 13, 2013
If you're a fan of the old penny dreadful (like Sweeney Todd) then you'll enjoy reading about Lizzie Blaylock and what happens to her after she has a "fit" during class.
After giving an "impression" of a deceased classmate, Lizzie can't return to school and must get a job to provide for the family. There are those who would take advantage of her or do her harm but she also gains friends.
Unlike the penny dreadfuls the characters are fully drawn and the plot is cohesive.
astults, LibraryThing Early Reviewer
October 18, 2013
I enjoyed this book very much. The author described the surroundings incredibly well, and the characters were developed nicely. I was able to "see" the furnishings, clothing, even the people, in vivid detail--and I don't have the best imagination. This is such an interesting subject to me, that I actually did a little bit of research into the real people that were talked about. The author gives details about actual events, which I found fascinating and appreciated the information and resources. I look forward to a follow up by this author. I didn't feel like this was a five star book, but only because there were times at which I felt a bit lost...as if I wasn't understanding what was being written. I gave a valiant attempt to clear up the muck by re-reading, but was unsuccessful.
Shelly Wills, LibraryThing Early Reviewer
October 05, 2013
I originally picked this book up looking for a ghost tale. What I got was a fantastically detailed historical fiction novel ~ rich with period details from 1800 London, colorful characters, AND a very gripping ghostly tale. This book was branded YA, which I could see since the protagonist is a young girl (13 or 14), but beware ~ this is no 'love triangle' YA book, or 'OMG, I just had my first kiss' kind of YA. This is a well written, entertaining story about a young girl who has powers she doesn't understand. As usual with the young and naive, there are always those looking to exploit. I especially detested the 'wolf in sheep's clothing' in this story, and could not have been happier with the outcome they found for themselves. The haunting mystery in this book, drew me in and I was very satisfied when given answers to ALMOST all the questions swimming around my mind. I was both shocked and pleased to find this book to be only the first in a series, so I am eager to get my hands on the second installment.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, or a good thriller. Read this book, you will not be disappointed.
Paula Fetty-King, Smashwords Reviewer
July 30, 2013
Lizzie Blaylock is a young lady who discovers, quite by accident, that she is a conduit for the dead. Worse, she can't control when or where the "bridge" will form. Set in the 1800s, Lizzy's "talent" leads her to seances and sideshows while she tries not just to figure out how to control her new gift, but also what exactly the dead have gotten her mixed up in.
The development of the primary characters is quite enjoyable. Lizzie, specifically, has an interesting journey, although I do feel there were some non-essential elements utilized to "help" the reader empathize with her. In particular, the sassy, know-it-all attitude of Lizzie Blaylock is wonderfully done, and it is especially poignant when that, too, experiences change. There are a few important secondary characters who remain a bit steadfast even when confronted with a resolution, but it didn't detract from the overall story.
Bridge is a quick read, and Mr. Gallagher's pacing is outstanding. Even in the few description-heavy scenes, everything is essential and helps modify the tension. I didn't read it in a single sitting, but I could easily have done so had I the time.
This is a terrific first book for Mr. Gallagher. It's listed as a YA title, and I think that's exactly where it belongs. It is an outstanding introduction to several genres that are traditionally set outside the realm of YA, the most significant of which is that of the gothic. Personally, I would have liked to see a slightly stronger focus on the gothic elements, but I'm not certain that would have rung true with the YA categorization. As it stands, it is more of a mystery and historical fiction novel than anything.
I'm looking forward to book 2 in the series (The Scarab Heart) to see where Mr. Gallagher takes young Lizzie.
May 13, 2013
Seances are hugely popular in Victorian England and there are more than a few con artists willing to provide their audience a chance to 'speak' to their dearly departed relatives in exchange for a bit of ready cash. However, every now and then someone comes along who's legitimate. Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Blaylock is one of these although she doesn't know what she does or how to control it. But Lizzie is more than just a link to the other side; she's a bridge allowing the dead to 'cross over' into the land of the living. And there are a lot of people who recognize her power even if she doesn't and they are not above using whatever means necessary to control her.
From the title and cover of The Bridge of Dead Things, I was expecting a horror story. What I got was so much better. This paranormal historical novel is great fun to read. Although aimed at a YA audience, I suspect most adults will enjoy it just as much as the target audience - I know I did.
Maxine McLister, LibraryThing Early Reviewer