The Lost Village
March 17, 2021

Book Review

The Lost Village

Camilla Sten

reviewed by Carolyn Scott


Alice Lindstedt had always been fascinated by her grandmother’s tales of the ghost village of Silvertjarn, a small mining town in Sweden. Her grandmother grew up there but married and moved away from her parents’ home.

In 1959 the village was found to have been suddenly and inexplicably deserted by the nine hundred people who lived there. Only a dead woman found in the town square and a newborn baby girl in the schoolhouse remained behind.

Now a documentary film producer, Alice has raised some funding to make a documentary on Silvertjarn and has assembled a team for a five-day scouting party to film some initial promotional material in the remote and isolated village. When they arrive in Silvertjarn everyone feels the spookiness of the deserted buildings and almost immediately, mysterious things start to happen, putting everyone on edge. 

Alice is also beginning to regret hiring her old classmate Emmy to film the documentary. They were best friends at one time, but the friendship ended badly and it’s clear they’re not going to get alone well. However, Emmy is a brilliant filmmaker and Alice knows she is lucky to have hired her, even if they have trouble trusting each other now. Alice herself seems to be quite a fragile character, annoyingly naïve at times and not always making the best decisions. Another member of the crew is also behaving oddly and has secrets Alice has kept from the others that may impact their ability to carry out their original plans.

The events leading up to the desertion of the village and the current day exploration of the village by the film crew are told in intertwining threads, leading up to the discovery of what really happened in 1959. The historical narrative describing the desertion of the village was the more interesting of the threads with the closing of the mine at Silvertjarn in 1959, the arrival of a new charismatic pastor and the identity of the dead woman all vital factors in the escalation of events that sealed the fate of the village. However, the gradual development of the changes in the villagers that led to their final actions was inferred rather than shown and it would have been good to see more of how this came about.

Although the present-day events were often creepy, they often seemed almost predictable with the team not following the basic rules of exploring old buildings. Nevertheless, The Lost Village features an original premise, and the haunting setting of a decaying, isolated village makes for a dark and intriguing tale.

Thanks to St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy to read. Expected publication March 23, 2021.

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