Local author, Jan Mitchell Rogers, achieved publication during 2020 of her fictional ghost story ‘Reaching For The Light’. But there’s no need to be scared, because this is a story of both the past and present, wrapped up around a family.

But here’s a little background about our local author, for those of you who don’t yet know her. For 21 years until retiring in August 2019, Jan and her husband ran a hardware shop – Llanfyllin Home and Garden – at London House Llanfyllin. They still live above the shop, but as no-one was interested in carrying on the hardware trade the shop premises are now let as a dress boutique called ‘Daisy Blue’ (which has unfortunately been temporarily closed due to the Covid restrictions).

Jan had always wanted to write, but had only managed some poetry, short stories and articles for local magazines. After retiring, she joined a Creative Writing Course in Llanfyllin and during the first Covid lockdown, started a Facebook page called MID WALES MAGIC which contains some of her stories and articles as well as photos of mid Wales.  It currently has 1300 followers – mostly in the UK but also a few worldwide from USA, Canada and New Zealand.

In December 2020 and at the age of 71, Jan successfully had her debut novel published. Although a ghost story, you won’t find graphic horror here. So, let’s take a look at the story. Our Editor, Victoria took the time to read the book and can now tell you what to expect.

This book is written in such a manner that you feel comfortable with the characters straight away. Setting the story in the countryside and around familiar areas, it is easy to imagine the cottage of clairvoyant Amy Rae, seated near the Quarry and the river through Shrewsbury. With our author living in Llanfyllin, her local knowledge pours into the descriptive narrative, with the setting of Shrewsbury and she notes at the back of the book that her vision for a range of buildings within the story are even set in the Tanat Valley. Somewhere you are probably familiar with, it being only 20 minutes down the road!

Believing in the spirit world isn’t a requirement to read this novel. It’s not just about that, the book deals with family drama and moving on from and dealing with tragedy.

The synopsis reads:

‘A poignant family drama and ghost story. Maggie Johnson awakes in 2019 from a nightmare in which she has been reliving the death by drowning of her sister Ellie and nephew Tristan in 1994.

An accident involving Opal Graham, a friend and colleague at the time of the tragedy, and the strange behaviour of Maggie’s four-year-old granddaughter Emily, helped by clairvoyant Amy Rae, align to reveal the truth of what happened. Finally, the survivors of that tragedy learn to leave the past behind and move on with lives that had been frozen by feelings of guilt and responsibility.’

Amazon Review: “Lovely atmospheric ghost story. Great characterisation, characters you really care about and a very clever ending. The added bonus for people familiar with Shrewsbury and Montgomeryshire is the author’s great inclusion of the local landscape. A super read.”

This is an interesting and lovely written story. We can hope Jan Mitchell Rogers provides us with more stories in the future and look forward to those.

The book is available to purchase from Waterstones or Amazon as a paperback and for Kindle.