Sarah Piper is alone in the world. She’s working for a temp agency in post World War I England. One rainy afternoon she gets a call to meet a potential client at a coffee shop. While this is a bit unorthodox, she needs the rent money, and so goes to the meeting.
There she meets handsome Alistair Gellis, a ghost-hunter. He needs her to make contact with a potential ghost that apparently does not like men. While scared of the prospect of seeing a ghost, Sarah agrees. It’s the most excitement she’s had in her life, and she’s more frightened to disappoint her employer than she is of the ghost.
The ghost story turns into an investigation of another crime – and Sarah, Alistair, and his other assistant Matthew are in danger as they try to solve the mystery of Maddy Clare.
I enjoyed the setting of England between the World Wars. I thought the author brought in enough detail to give a taste of the period. The author did a good job explaining why the war had such a profound effect on her main characters without having them go on and on about their hellish experiences.
I like being a little bit scared – and the description of Maddy haunting the barn where she hung herself was creepy, not keep-the-lights-on scary.
I liked Sarah. She’s smart and practical yet she isn’t afraid to run screaming from a particularly difficult encounter with an angry Maddy. And who wouldn’t be freaked out by the arrival of hordes of ravens? Those human reactions helped me balance the other-worldliness of the ghost story.
And then there was the love story… The novel could have survived well without it, but I enjoyed Sarah’s budding romance with Matthew. In my opinion, it never hurts to have the promise of a happy ending!
The Haunting of Maddy Clare recently won two Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards: Best First Novel and Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.
Check the WRL catalog for The Haunting of Maddy Clare