Review: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James


Set in post-WWI England, the story follows Sarah Piper as she takes a temp job working for Alistair Gellis.  Alistair turns out to be a ghost hunter and is investigating the haunting of a barn where a 19 year old maid hung herself.  The young maid, Maddy Clare, hated men when she was alive, and Alistair hopes that bringing Sarah in to the investigation, that maybe Maddy will talk to her.  Alistair has an assistant, Mathew Ryder, whom Sarah feels drawn to.   Things go down hill fast when Sarah confronts Maddy in the barn.  The frightening and strong ghost is filled with rage and anger, and will do whatever it takes to make Sarah listen to her.  Matthew and Sarah end up in a deadly race to find out what is driving Maddy’s vengeance before it’s too late.

Sarah is a very lonely, soft spoken woman and it is through her eyes that we see the story.  She is a very honest woman who takes her job seriously even if, at first, she thought the whole idea of ghost hunting was rather silly.  Through the book you see Sarah grow, and find her strength and voice.  She even finds love when she least expected it.  The author had such a delicate way of writing, that really fit Sarah’s soft, quiet voice.

I thought this story was going to be more of a straight up ghost story, but it ended up having enough romance scenes in it that I would definitely put this in the Paranormal Romance genre.  The romance wasn’t too over the top and it had a nice slow build.  I’m not a huge fan of romance in my books, and I could have personally done without that angle to the story, but I have to admit that it was very well written.

This was a book that was picked out for my book club.  I had never heard of this author before that.  I don’t know if I would have picked it out on my own because of the whole romance angle.  I’m glad that I did read it because I really enjoyed it.  You feel drawn in right away as we are introduced to characters that have great chemistry together and are very relatable.   You do not have to wait very long at all for the story to drop you in the middle of the haunted barn.  When we get introduced to ghost girl Maddy, things really pick up.  Such a tortured and angry ghost.  The mystery of what happened to her wraps you up tight and doesn’t let you go.  The main bad guy was predictable, but it didn’t hurt the story any and it was actually fun waiting to see what was going to happen to him.

Inside the jacket flap, it says that this was the author’s debut novel from 2012.   It is a stand alone novel, so if you are struggling to find a book that isn’t in a series,  check out Simon St. James.  When I got done with this book, though, I actually was wishing that it had been a series.  The ending was more then tied up and didn’t really leave anything for a sequel, but I just loved these main characters so much, I didn’t want their story to end with this book!

I really enjoyed this book and would not only recommend this book, but this author as well.   Fans of ghost stories and paranormal romance will enjoy this.  If you don’t like romance, but like ghosts?  I would still recommend this book.  If you are looking for more terrifying horror, this might not be for you.


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