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The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St.…

The Haunting of Maddy Clare (edition 2012)

by Simone St. James

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2752241,194 (3.78)25
Title:The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Authors:Simone St. James
Info:NAL Trade (2012), Edition: 1 Original, Paperback, 318 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Mystery, Ghosts, Fiction, Historical, SCCL

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The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James



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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Wonderful characters, amazingly suspenseful. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was wonderful as well. This was my first book by Simone St. James but it won't be the last. ( )
  sroot | Nov 5, 2015 |
When the book opens, it’s shortly after the end of World War I, and Sarah is trying desperately to make ends meet. When she gets offered a temp job as an assistant to someone claiming to be a ghost hunter, she takes it, though she doesn’t believe they’ll find any real evidence to support his ghost story.

Once they start their investigation, she quickly changes her mind. The women who knew Maddy Clare say that something terrible happened to her when she was a girl, something which ultimately led to her suicide. The ghost of Maddy Clare is very real, unstable, and looking for vengeance.

At its core, this is really just a classic, well-done ghost story. Sarah is a heroine that’s easy to relate to - she’s quiet and reserved, but she’s not really shy, and she’s certainly not timid. She’s strikes the perfect balance between having a nuanced and distinct personality and being sensible enough that you never want to scream “Don’t go in there!” at her.

St. James also really sinks you into the time period through both her descriptions of the setting and the characters themselves; both Sarah’s new boss and his friend are clearly still struggling with the aftermath of serving in the war, and Sarah herself has significant struggles dating from that time as well. Additionally, there are a lot of small touches here and there regarding gender relations that felt very fitting for that era.

And that’s just the backdrop. Maddy Clare herself is absolutely terrifying to both the characters in the novel and the reader; she terrorizes people in deeply personal and invasive ways, and she’s utterly apathetic about harming bystanders in her quest for vengeance. Every interaction they have with her reinforces the feeling that she’s wholly other - she’s so detached from the world that there’s absolutely no reasoning with her, which is part of what makes her so terrifying even as her backstory begins to come out.

It does have its weak points; while Sarah’s clear attraction to her love interest does sell the romance overall, there are a few points in which it feels a bit rushed and one early sex scene in particular that’s a little unbelievable. I also wished that the two men had been developed a little more, and I didn’t feel like the malicious attention Sarah faced from people as a result of her involvement in the case always made sense.

Those were fairly easy to overlook, though, and at the end of the day, it’s a very enjoyable and creepy book. ( )
  thirdasstlibrarian | Oct 23, 2015 |
Strong finish. Maddy was hurt monstrously, and when she finally remembered vengeance was going to be hers. Sarah Piper is lost in a cold city and in her own grief when Alistair Gellis offers her a job. She has no idea that it will lead to her coming into her own soul's strength to fight Maddy's anger. ( )
  bgknighton | Sep 11, 2015 |
A well-written ghost story/mystery that kept me turning pages well into the night. At first, I was worried when it veered into a romance, but the author kept that focused (as a sub-plot) and I wasn't rolling my eyes. This is first and foremost, a ghost story. I just bought her latest novel, "An Inquiry Into Love and Death," and will be looking forward to reading that. ( )
  ClarissaJohal | Apr 25, 2015 |
I love reading about the time period between the World Wars, which is when THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE is set. The book started out strong as a spooky ghost story/mystery. The main character, Sarah, gets a temp job working for Alistair Gellis, a ghost hunter. They travel to a remote village in the English countryside, where Sarah ends up at the mercy of a very trouble ghost named Maddy. She, Alistair, and his assistant Matthew must uncover Maddy’s tragic past and find out why she’s still stuck in this world.

The mystery surrounding Maddy was intriguing and rather sad, but not too hard to figure out. The mystery could have been stronger, but that story line derailed somewhat with the strained romance (if I could call it that) between Sarah and Matthew. Matthew’s character just wasn’t as developed as Sarah’s, and I didn’t feel the chemistry between them.

Overall, I thought THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE was a good, not great, start to the series, with some very creepy moments. The 1920s time period fit well with this Gothic ghost story.

Rating: 3.25 Stars ( )
  bookofsecrets | Dec 11, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simone St. Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wait, DeirdreCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The day I met Mr. Gellis, I had been walking in the rain.
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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