Title: The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Author: Simone St. James
Publication Date: 2012
Sarah Piper’s parents are dead and she is left alone in the world. Struggling to survive, she accepts a questionable temporary assignment with a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis is wealthy, handsome, extremely personable . . . and obsessed with ghosts. His books and reputation have brought on the interest of Mrs. Clare. Widowed and living with her housekeeper, Mrs. Macready, Mrs. Clare has asked for Alistair’s assistance with the ghost of Maddy. Maddy was a young girl who arrived filthy, abused, and mute at the Clare house many years before. Unable to find any family or anyone who knew who she was, Mrs. Clare, her husband, and housekeeper cared for the girl. She slowly began to talk and help around the house but was never comfortable around men and periodically fell into fits of fear. At age seventeen, she hung herself in the barn and won’t leave.
Because of her aversion to men, Sarah is requested to make contact with Maddy and convince her to pass on to the next life. Alistair feels that this experience will add to his book and his assistant, Matthew Ryder, helps with the scientific data collection. Matthew is everything Alistair is not – gruff, moody, and scarred. The three quickly realize that Maddy Clare is no ordinary ghost and her powers are capable to bringing great destruction. Sarah knows that the only way Maddy — and the rest of them — can have any peace and safety is to find out the true story of what happened.
Set in the backdrop of the conclusion of World War I, this story blends the horrors of the war with the supernatural and the evils of man. Although the story has some very thrilling and intense scenes, much of its power in storytelling relies on the supernatural. I admit that I have picked this book up numerous times and put it back on the shelf. I am not sure if the cover or the hint of a chilling story turned me off, but the book is not scary or “creepy,” as the book back summary suggested. I read The Other Side of Midnight, also by this author, and really enjoyed her storytelling, combined with the supernatural elements, relatable characters, and mysterious tone. Although the “what” that happened was very predictable, the “how” and “way” were very intriguing and kept my interest. As this was her first novel, I think that the author has only gotten better and I am looking forward to reading more of her stories.
Who might like this book:
Not a difficult or thinking type of read, but the details and descriptions are very engaging. The fascination more than the thrilling aspect is what kept me engaged in the story. Susanna Kearsley had a quoted review on the cover and readers who enjoy her works will most likely enjoy this as well.