Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

I didn’t know  much about this book before I began reading other than that it was about loss, grief and the hope of something else after death. Doesn’t sound like the cheeriest premise for a book and while there was a lot of sadness in the book, it certainly wasn’t depressing. Jessica’s mother has recently died at a relatively young age, leaving Jessica feeling bereft. I am lucky enough still to have both my parents but can imagine that Jessica’s feelings of loss, anger, abandonment and numbness would be recognised by anyone who has lost a parent. It is the smallest most insignificant seeming things that can bring back a flood of memories and emotions.

The connections between the characters in this book were particularly well developed. At first, there seems to be nothing in particular that Jessica, Finn, Hannah and Alex have in common. But gradually Katy Hogan begins to show just how connected they are. About halfway through the book, it seems that everything has been revealed. In many other books I feel that this would have been the resolution of the story. I was wondering where else the story could go but Katy Hogan had much more emotion in store for her readers.

A major theme in the book is that of life after death and the possibility of communication beyond the grave. I like to think that there is some kind of life after death but am a bit doubtful about spirits communicating through mediums. I do feel though that there is much more to this life than we can understand. You certainly hear about all kinds of strange things happening to people which cannot be easily explained. Katy Hogan’s characters were also sceptical about spirits but their experiences convinced them of the possibility of something more than this physical life.

Katy writes sensitively about her characters’ emotions, conveying the depth of their sadnesses but without being mawkish. The bonds of friendship and love of family are also beautifully recounted. Her atmospheric descriptions really added to the story. One sentence struck me, at the beginning of chapter 33 “Life is about learning to say goodbye”. Throughout life we do have to say all kinds of goodbyes: to phases in our life, to experiences and of course, as in this book, to people we love when they die. I think that whether or not you believe in ghosts or spirits, heaven or another kind of afterlife, this book will perhaps make you feel that there is more to this life than we can ever hope to understand.

five-star-review

My thanks to the author Katy Hogan for inviting me to read a copy of her book. Out of the Darkness was published on 6th July 2015 and is available as a paperback and ebook. You can order a copy here: Out of the Darkness

Book description

DOES EVERYTHING IN LIFE HAPPEN PURELY BY CHANCE? OR ARE WE GUIDED TOWARDS PEOPLE WHO CAN HELP US IN OUR HOUR OF NEED?
Following the sudden death of her beloved mother, Jessica Gibson’s world falls apart. But after meeting a man who seems heaven-sent, she starts to feel she has something to live for again, and soon discovers that their connection holds far more significance than she could ever have imagined. And when Jessica strikes an unlikely bond with Alexandra Green, the two new friends are taken on an emotional journey into the world of the supernatural, where psychic mediums pass on messages from beyond the grave. What — or who — is causing the strange goings-on in Alex’s home? What secret is she keeping from Jessica? And who is the young woman who so badly needs their help? In a series of surprising twists and turns, the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place and a mystery is unwittingly solved — with life-changing consequences for all involved. ‘Out of the Darkness’ is an uplifting tale of friendship and redemption; of love and loss. And life…after death.

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