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The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St.…
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The Haunting of Maddy Clare

by Simone St. James

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In post-World War I England, Sarah Piper is working for a temp agency and is hired by an earnest, good-looking young ghost hunter to be his temporary assistant. They go to investigate a haunted barn, the other assistant shows up, and sparks ensue.

I certainly would not call this horror, even though it was shortlisted in the Horror category for the ALA Reading List Award, which was how I came to pick it up. It is romantic suspense, heavy on the romance. As a ghost story, I felt this was fairly predictable and not at all scary. I just never felt the menace of the ghost--a servant girl who committed suicide after being gang-raped. Surprisingly, it works much better as a romance. I'm not a fan of romance, generally, but the chemistry between Sarah and Matthew felt genuine to me. If you enjoy romance with a dash of supernatural, this would be a good choice. If you enjoy being scared and could care less who goes to bed together, this is not your book. ( )
  sturlington | Jul 9, 2017 |
I've been wanting to read more of Simone St. James books since I read Lost Among the Living a couple of months ago. I love books with either very much paranormal or just a hint of it. And, ghosts I find is a fascinating subject. So, I hoped that The Haunting of Maddy Clare would work for me.

The Haunting of Maddy Clare has all the right ingredients for a great story. A vengeful spirit, a budding love story, a mystery, and great characters. I did find Sarah Piper a bit too timid for my taste at first, but as the story progressed did I find myself liking her more and more and I did like Matthew and Alistair very much. But, unlike Sarah, I think I did find Alistair a bit more to my liking than Matthew, but at least it was not written as a triangle drama (thank God). I think Alistair tragic love story with a married woman and his past experience with ghost hunting just made him quite alluring. Not that Matthew had a less than interesting back story. I especially liked how they met during the war and that, despite the class difference they become friends.

As for the story itself, it was tragic, intense and very much engrossing. I felt so sorry for Maddy, especially when the truth came out about what she had suffered. And, without giving away the ending, was the conclusion of the book very satisfying.

The Haunting of Maddy Clare was a very good book, and I look forward to reading more of Simone St. James books! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
Protagonist and temporary employee Sara Piper, currently between jobs, is saved from financial despair when she receives a call from the temp agency. Alistair, a young wealthy ghost hunter has requested a female to assist him in the investigation of a haunting. Believing she will be performing secretarial duties, she quickly learns that the ghost is a Maddy Clare, who was taken in by a family when she appeared at their door, disheveled with little memory of her past. After a short while, she is discovered hanging in the barn dead by an apparent suicide. Maddy hated men before her death and this hatred continued after her death. Sara discovers that she has been hired to make contact with Maddy and discover why she has not moved on. Alistair, who has published several books on hauntings, has been told by the family who took in Maddy that unless they can rid her house of her malevolent ghost, the owner will not grant permission to write about their findings.

I have only read one additional book by Simone St. James, which was also a ghost story. Her novels contain plot elements that draw me into the book's pages: ghost story, historical fiction, romance and a mystery. Who could ask for more? I have only one complaint. Her novels seem to be standalone. I have found myself falling in love with some of the characters but their is not sequels. ( )
  John_Warner | Feb 17, 2017 |
The Haunting of Maddy Clare
4 Stars

In post WWI England, there are few jobs available for young women so when Sarah Piper is offered a position as an assistant to a ghost hunter, she accepts because beggars can’t be choosers. Summoned to investigate and perhaps exorcise the spirit of Maddy Clare, a 19 year old serving girl who took her own life, Sarah and her partners, Alistair Gellis and Matthew Ryder, must learn the horrific details of Maddy’s traumatic life and pitiful death before she takes her revenge out on them all...

A classic ghostly revenge tale with an intense romance and immersive descriptions of the time period.

The supernatural elements are gripping and add an extra layer of tension to the mystery which is otherwise quite simple and straightforward. The spirit of Maddy Clare is far from sympathetic, however. Although she has been the victim of a horrific crime and her desire for vengeance is more than understandable, she is a vicious and vindictive ghost who takes her anger and angst out on those who would care for and help her.

The main characters are also fleshed out well and the details of Alistair and Matthew’s wartime experiences highlight the personal and social intricacies of post-war England in which returning soldiers, traumatized with both physical and mental scars, have difficulty assimilating back into a society that fails to comprehend and accept their suffering.

Matthew and Sarah’s romance is one of the highlights of the story. While their love/hate romance appears at first glance to be based on physical attraction and lust alone, it grows into a deeper and more emotional connection.

Sarah initially comes across as meek and unassuming, but reveals an astounding strenght of character as the story progresses. Matthew is particularly tortured by his time in the trenches and this plays a significant role in his relationship with Sarah as he feels undeserving of her feelings for him and struggles to accept them. She, in contrast, is somewhat insecure about Matthew’s regard and is bound and determined to prove to him that she is a worthy partner and someone who accepts him unconditionally.

In all all, a really good ghost story with engaging characters and just the right amount of steam. Looking forward to reading more by this author. ( )
  Lauren2013 | Nov 19, 2016 |
Twenty-five-year-old Sarah Piper gets a call from the temporary agency that she works for. A male writer is requesting an assistant and he is asking for a female. Sarah is to meet him at a coffee house in Soho, London.

Sarah goes to the coffee house and meets Alistair Gellis, a young, handsome man. He tells her he documents ghosts. A vicar contacted Alistair recently because the vicar had tried to exorcise a ghost and failed. The ghost physically attacked him. It seems the ghost really dislikes men and doesn't want any men near it. So, since Alistair can't check the ghost out himself, he needs someone (a woman) to do it for him. And then he will write about it.

Sarah can't believe what this guy wants her to do, but he is dead serious. She is hard up for money, and does need the job, so she reluctantly agrees.

They go to Warringstoke to meet elderly Mrs. Clare, whose barn the ghost is haunting. The ghost is called Maddy (who was nineteen when she hung herself in the barn) and the old woman is tired and can't put up with this anymore and just wants Maddy to leave (it seems Maddy has been causing chaos). She wants Sarah to go out to the barn and tell Maddy to go. Mrs. Clare makes Alistair leave and go back to the inn he and Sarah were staying at. Then Sarah goes out to the barn with a camera and a recorder that Alistair gave her so she can document the meeting with the ghost. And she has an experience with Maddy...

This was a very spooky, atmospheric book. The scenes with the ghost Maddy were positively creepy. Sarah was a likable heroine. I also liked Alistair (cool, calm, polished, nice) and his friend Matthew, who is also interested in ghosts (dark, brash, scarred from the war.)

Another very enjoyable read by Simone St. James. ( )
  SandraLynne | Nov 5, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simone St. Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wait, DeirdreCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Adam
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The day I met Mr. Gellis, I had been walking in the rain.
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The air was swollen with cottony drizzle that did not quite fall to the ground, and pressed my cheeks and eyelashes.
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"In 1920s 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?"--… (more)

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