Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis-rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts- has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is haunting the barn where she committed suicide. Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah’s task to confront her in death. Soon Sarah is caught up in a deperate struggle. For Maddy’s ghost is real, she’s angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Alistair’s assistant, the rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, discover who Maddy was, whereshe came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance-before she destroys them all?
I chose to read The Haunting of Maddy Clare because it was a 2013 RITA winner for Best First Book and Best Book with Strong Romantic Elements. This is the first book I’ve read by Simone St. James.
This Haunting of Maddy Clare is one of the books where I would have picked it up off the shelf just for the cover. No, there isn’t any scantily clad men groping half naked women (which is what I’m usually drawn to) but the cover art is beautiful (almost like a painting) and I’m a sucker for a good ghost story.
That being said, it was hard to get into this book. It took me almost a week to finish (my normal amount of time is about 2 days). Everytime I sat down to read I would loose interest. I don’t know if it was the POV that it was written in or the heavy “telling” instead of showing in the begining but each sitting only got me through a few pages. However, I read on.
The dynamic between Allister and Sarah was basic. It was only mildy intriguing because he was a ghost hunter. I think this, coupled with the era the story was written in was the culprit for my lack of interest. If I’m not reading a current romance then it’s a historical romance set in regency or farther back. I think this is the first time I’ve read a story in this era. I kept forgetting what the time period was throughout the book and where this was taking place so when an era reference came along I was momentarily confused. If your like me, then the first few chapters will be hard to get through but hang on, it does get better.
In walks Matthew and the story not only becomes far more interesting but it’s pace picks up with more showing then telling.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. (1) As a ghost story, for me, it was about as scary and intriguing as an Agatha Christie novel (which I am a fan of) but no where near as scary as a Steven King novel. (2) After a few chapters it captured my attention and was a fun read but I have to admit the ending was pretty predictable and tame. (3) Even though it wasn’t my favorite read I am actually eager to check out what other books she has written.
Would I recommend this book?
Yes, but only to the people I know who really like ghost stories or someone who likes to read the books in the era it was written in.