Michael Gallagher is the author of two series of novels set in Victorian times. “Send for Octavius Guy” chronicles the attempts of fourteen-year-old Gooseberry—reformed master pickpocket—to become a detective, aided and abetted by his ragtag bunch of friends. “The Involuntary Medium” follows the fortunes of young Lizzie Blaylock, a girl who can materialize the spirits of the dead, as she strives to come to terms with her unique gift. For twenty-five years Michael taught adults with learning disabilities at Bede, a London-based charity that works with the local community. He now writes full time. Follow Octavius Guy @sendforOctavius. Author photo courtesy of Elaine Jeffs.
The Bridge of Dead Things (US Edition)by Michael Gallagher
Murky Victorian London. Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Blaylock has done her best to fill her absconding mother’s shoes, but her father is lazy and feckless, and her little sister is riddled with tuberculosis. When Lizzie has a fit at school, for which she is expelled, she and those around her slowly begin to realize that she may have special powers…powers to
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Murky Victorian London. Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Blaylock has done her best to fill her absconding mother’s shoes, but her father is lazy and feckless, and her little sister is riddled with tuberculosis. When Lizzie has a fit at school, for which she is expelled, she and those around her slowly begin to realize that she may have special powers…powers to communicate with the dead.
“Please!” Miss Otis wailed. “Please! For the love of God, step back!”
And suddenly the man did. A murmur ran through the crowd.
“Did you see that?”
“It looked like a hand!”
“No, not just a hand: an arm. I saw a whole arm!”
“A young girl’s arm!”
“Yes! Reaching right out of her! Out through the poor girl’s chest!”
“You mustn’t touch her!” Miss Otis screeched over the din. “She is a bridge! She is a bridge and people will cross!”
“A bridge?” murmured Lady Caroline slowly. “A bridge to the other side?” Light dawned in the big woman’s eyes. “Billy,” she whispered as she clawed her way out of her seat. And even as she dropped to her knees, something small and gray and shadowy was already rising out of my chest to greet her.
US English edition
Cover photographs by Captain Console, Harris & Ewing, Inc, and whatsthatpicture
Cover design by Negative Negative
Published by Seventh Rainbow Publishing, London
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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.
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
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.
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.
Though Lizzie Blaylock doesn't realize it, she is what is known as a 'bridge' for the dead. She unknowingly channels spirits, scaring quite a few people, and ending up in bad situation after bad situation. Eventually, she is discovered by Simeon, a con-artist who uses young children to create séances and trick people into believing in the afterlife. This young adult novel is set in Victorian era London which is one of my favorite eras and places to read about. Séances were popular in that time and many 'mediums' took it upon themselves to make a pretty penny by communicating with the dead for rich and gullible people that were hoping to see or hear a loved one just once more. This novel was a good look into the 'parlor tricks' part of séances in the 19th century. Though Lizzie Blaylock was considered the 'real thing', having brought forth a spirit several times, her employer, Simeon, had an entire set up for such parlor tricks and it was interesting to learn a little more about the inner workings of it all. While I personally do believe in spirits and/or an afterlife, I think it was rather interesting how people took that sort of spiritualism to a whole new level. As for the character, Lizzie, I did connect with her and felt sympathy towards her. She lives a hard life and things just seem to get worse for her over the course of the novel. She eventually find that she has true friends to rely on in the end. Overall, this ebook was enjoyable, but perhaps only because I really enjoy reading any book set in the 1800's and because I love anything to do with ghosts. I tend to stick to the haunting type of ghost stories but to read a little more about séances was very interesting. I think any young adult with a love for anything dark and macabre would really enjoy this book.
We start the story in a setting where even electricity is a indulgence. It was quite fun taking a step back in time and reading some of the items of the book and how things worked. Lizzie is the main character, she has a life of which she takes care of her Father and her little sister. However, in those days she had to work to help support the family, even if her father wasn't working. Lizzie has some strange things happening to her, spirits taking over as she seems to be the Bridge to Death. This is her struggle of figuring out who she is, and who she wants to be, even as people try to mold her into someone they can use for profit.