I can’t think of a thing that compares to my love of an old-fashioned ghost story. The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James is just such a story. Set in post-WWI Britain, we find unemployed Sarah Piper landing a job as a temporary assistant to the handsome and dashing Alistair Glennis, who just so happens to be a ghost hunter. Sarah’s first case is to rid a country house of the angry and malevolent ghost of Maddy Clare, a former servant girl. As this debut novel unfolds, the sad and tragic story of Maddy is revealed as the ghost hunting team uncovers the events that lead to Maddy’s death. Keeping the suspense and terror building without becoming hokey is no easy task, but St. James manages well. The imagery and atmosphere that St. James creates is dark and even sultry at times, as Sarah and the assistant she was meant to replace discover a mutual attraction. St. James’ writing is clear and fast-paced and suspense-filled. — LH
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 deperate 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, whereshe came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance-before she destroys them all?
Winner of two RITA Awards from the Romance Writers of America and the Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada
About the Author
Simone St. James is the award-winning author of An Inquiry into Love and Death and The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two RITA awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and a spoiled cat.
"Debut author St. James has written an atmospheric and resoundingly old-fashioned ghost story that pulls you in from the first pages...This book is just right for those who prefer suspense to be scary but not too scary. It's haunting but (despite disturbing elements) not nightmarish. St. James's writing evokes the time period without pretension, the pacing is just right, the ghost story plausible, and the love story important but not all-consuming. Recommended." Historical Novels Review
"A chilling start...fans of the modern Gothic novel will enjoy filling up a few creepy hours." Kirkus Reviews
"A novel of chilling romantic suspense that evokes the lost era between the world wars that so wounded the lives of the young men and women of England, and adds to the mix an inevitably dark, gothic ghost story. Read it with the lights on. Simply spellbinding." Susanna Kearsley, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Winter Sea
"A compelling read. With a strong setting, vivid supporting characters and sympathetic protagonists, the book is a wonderful blend of romance, mystery, and pure creepiness. Simone St. James is a talent to watch." Anne Stuart, New York Times bestselling author of Shameless
"Compelling and deliciously unsettling, this is a story that begs to be read in one sitting. I couldn't put it down!" Megan Chance, author of City of Ash
"With a fresh, unique voice, Simone St. James creates an atmosphere that is deliciously creepy and a heroine you won't soon forget. The Haunting of Maddy Clare promises spooky thrills and it delivers. Read it, enjoy it--but don't turn out the lights!" Deanna Raybourn, author of the Julia Grey series and of The Dark Enquiry
"One foggy evening not long ago, I lit a fire in the fireplace, brewed myself a cup of tea, settled in and began to read The Haunting of Maddy Clare. When I looked up again, my tea had gone cold, the fire was out, and hours had passed in an instant. The deliciously eerie, traditionally gothic story grabbed me with its first sentence and didn't let go until the very last, as though Maddy herself reached out from the page and drew me in, insisting that I, along with ghost hunters Sarah, Matthew and Alastair, not rest until I discovered what happened to her one terrible night in the dark and foreboding English countryside. Author Simone St. James gets everything right in this ghostly tale, and I'll be standing in line to buy whatever she writes next." Wendy Webb, author of The Tale of Halcyon Crane
"Fast, fun, and gripping. Kept me up into the wee hours." C. S. Harris, author of the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series
"I don't believe in ghosts, but I believe every word of this fast-paced, compelling story." Madeline Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne