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

Description (from cover):

‘In 1920’s England, a young woman of limited means and even less experience confronts the ghost of a mysterious serving maid…
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 by ghosts–has been summoned to investigate the spirit of the nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is said to haunt the barn where she committed suicide.
Maddy hated men in life, and she will not speak to them in death. But Sarah is unprepared to go alone into a haunted barn looking for the truth. She’s even less prepared for the arrival of Alistair’s associate, rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, also a veteran of the trenches, whose scars go deeper than Sarah can reach.
Soon, Sarah is caught up in a desperate struggle. For Maddy’s ghost is no hoax–she’s real, she’s angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Matthew discover who Maddy was, where she came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance…before she destroys them all?’

My thoughts:

Lately I have discovered that I enjoy historically-set ghost stories and this book really grabbed my attention. I like the mystery surrounding ghost stories that explain how they ended up as a ghost and what in their life made them so obsessed that they couldn’t give it up even after death. Set that in a historical setting and I am all over it. Maddy Clare was a young servant girl whose beginnings are somewhat skewered. She shows up severely beaten, mute and in an overall horrible condition on the Clare’s doorstep one rainy evening. No one knows where she came from and Maddy isn’t offering any clues. Maddy is a troubled soul and soon she can’t face her past and she commits suicide. After her death, Maddy continues to haunt the barn where she took her life and Mrs. Clare calls in a ghost hunter and his associates to finally rid her of Maddy’s ghost once and for all.
Alistair hires Sarah Piper to assist him with this ghost encounter and Sarah is naive and new to the world of the paranormal. She soon realizes that she is ultra-perceptive to Maddy’s ghost and she feels it has to become her mission to solve what happened to Maddy and drove her to be so tormented. At times this book left me with chills, but the other part of it left me utterly disappointed as it was so predictable. I had the ending and the plot twist figured out about halfway through this book and I can’t stand books like that. I really think that if the author had made the plot a little less predictable this could have been a well-rounded book.
I liked the ghosts and the paranormal aspect of this book. The characters had hints of mystery about their own pasts that brought something to this book. However, the lack of surprise and originality in the plot really overwhelms the good aspects of this book and leaves me feeling less than awed by the attempt. A good read if you’re looking for something a little predictable with overly described romantic scenes. Don’t expect anything to knock your socks off with the plot, but it does have some eerie and ghostly scenes that will leave the paranormal part of you wanting more.

Overall Rating: 2

Title:  The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Author:  Simone St. James
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  NAL Trade
Publication Date:  March 6, 2012
Pages:  318
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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