There are large moments in life; but sometimes it is the small moments – the casual moments – that change everything.
Published: March 6, 2021
Length: 10 hours (eAudio)
Series: N/A – Standalone
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 with ghosts—has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is haunting the barn where she committed suicide.
Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah’s task to confront her in death. Soon Sarah is caught up in a desperate struggle. For Maddy’s ghost is real, she’s angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Alistair’s assistant, the rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, discover who Maddy was, where she came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance—before she destroys them all?
Trigger Warning: Sexual assault/rape, suicide
And I’m back, working through Simone St. James’ backlisted books! I love Simone St. James, her books always have my favorite elements; historical romance with ghosts and spooky shit. So fun and so comforting, in an odd way!
This was actually a super backlist in that it was St. James’ first novel, releasing in 2012. Like her other early books, this takes place around World War I, with the main male characters having scars (physically and emotionally) from their service. Similarly, the heroine in our story is struggling through life and this job opportunity seems like it could be just the thing that pulls her through the rough patch. Little does she know, this job is about to turn her life and her belief system upside down.
I really enjoyed this novel, not as much as I’ve LOVED her newer books, but still classic St. James nonetheless! This story takes us to a little village with a lot of secrets, some of which were decades in the making. Sarah thinks she’ll be simply taking notes for this ghost hunter, but she’s suddenly thrust in the role of being the ghost hunter herself. She connects with Maddy in a strange way and when Maddy begins to infiltrate her life outside of her experiences, Sarah can’t bring herself to back out. Not to mention she’s fallen for a certain assistant whose job she’s taken.
I thought the historical elements and the spooky elements were very very well done. The author has crafted something that was much more than a ghost story and Maddy Clare is not your typical specter. She was a supremely creepy element to the story and she felt so sinister and just downright scary. It took the book from a mystery to a horror/mystery mashup. It left me guessing at just about every turn and I didn’t know what had happened to Maddy up until the very end.
I wasn’t a giant fan of the narrator or the romance between Sarah and Matthew. The narrator’s voice for Matthew was literally the biggest turn off in the romance moments and it took me out of the story quite a few times, it was like she was trying to make it comically bad. That being said, I’m not really sure the Sarah/Matthew romance worked for me, at least in the beginning. I did grow to like them together, though.
Overall I think this was a really spooky and fun read! Mystery elements were well done, it was the romance that felt a little off to me. I enjoyed the characters, too. I thought they were a little quirky and a little mysterious at times, but the characters felt dynamic and interesting. I can’t wait to read through more of her backlist!
Other Novels by Simone St. James