“The Last to See Me” by Mylene Dressler, New York, NY : Skyhorse Publishing, .
A rose without thorns pricks in a perplexing fashion when a ghost feels more human than the living. Such is the motif in M Dressler’s supernatural novel “The Last To See Me.” Emma Rose Finnis, a stubborn Irish born housemaid lingers in the coastal Californian town of Binito where she haunts Lambry house.
“Never make peace with the thing that’s trying to kill you,” Emma chants as Philip Pratt, a burly cleaner of the dead that have risen—seeks to cleanse the estate, passing her over to the other side from which she inhabits.
Lambry house is for sale and Ellen DeWight is its realtor who’s tasked with the challenge of selling such a tormented residence. She finds herself aiding Pratt in his pursuit of strengthening his understanding of Emma and discovering her own pursuits narrowing by the past and the ghost of Lambry house.
As Emma reflects on her life before death around the year 1915, her work for Lambry house and the towns lighthouse keeper unfolds into a current relevance that a century past gives light to in today’s conversation on women’s rights, sexual assault and the willpower of taking your life into your own hands.
The pressures of the Lambry family and their wealth over the small coastal town hinges Emma’s pursuit for independence from their large thumb. Her love for Mr. and Mrs. Lambry’s oldest son Quint brings to light the status of the times and connects it to the relevance of the present.
This is not just an investigative case to eradicate a ghost. Dressler doesn’t dive into the ghost hunter minutia, rather focusing on the importance of character and the guidance of their paths to fulfillment. Emma whispers, advising the living with their struggles while discovering her tragic century old death that ties the past to the struggles of those hunting her then and now.
Emma haunts the town to a boiling point that leads to a finale that’s set for the movies. M Dressler’s nimble and poetic prose gracefully lifts the reader as if they were flying with the ghost herself. Emma Rose Finnis exudes many poignant sensations that heighten with such fluttering and vibrant language you won’t believe a ghost could ever feel more alive than those still breathing in the story.
“The Last To See Me” is an honest novel about escaping through one’s own past to find that space inside us all that can carry on living, only when we have the will to seek it out.
Robert Linens, Jr. is a Circulation Assistant at The Mebane Public Library. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.