The Haunting of Maddy Clare
by Simone St. James
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?
The Haunting of Maddy Clare is really a type of book I find a little hard to form an opinion on, if only because it was such a fast-paced as well as short-length read. While enjoyable at the time, I found myself looking back and having no recollection of anything that really stood out outside of the setting, some vague character biographies, and the mystery of Maddy's tragic tale.
In a way, I suppose that's actually a pretty good amount of recollection. And have no doubt, I truly DID enjoy this book a lot!
The setting of Maddy Clare stands out because it is set in 1920s London--a time period that, whether in America, Europe, or even Asian countries, is one that I rarely visit in my literary (or other media) enjoyments. It's an era that I'm not very familiar with, save for the tragic war-torn times of Chinese culture (thanks to several Chinese television series and movies I've watched growing up). If Historical fiction is a genre I don't typically pick up, 1920s Historical is definitely a time period I don't usually even glance at.
What I'm trying to say is that, despite my new foray into Historical fiction, this book is definitely outside of my comfort zone, again, because I'm not familiar with that time period. I have read a few books that were set during this time, but I can't say that I ever actually enjoyed them. This is nothing against the time period itself; it's mainly a time period I rarely read about due to my own preferences.
Anyway, back to the book...
Maddy Clare was definitely a page-turner, with great atmosphere and serviceable characters. I'm not entirely sure I was enamored of any of our main characters--Sarah, Matthew, or even Alistair. In fact, I found that the characters I liked the most were some of the side characters, mainly Mrs. Clare and Mrs. MacCready, the ghostly Maddy Clare's keepers. And, honestly, I also kind of had a soft spot for Maddy Clare herself, especially after realizing the tragedy that struck her and caused her to become a vengeful, angry spirit.
I was really sucked in by the mystery surrounding Maddy Clare's death, and despite it being rather predictable as soon as the investigation started, it was intense and hard not to develop some strong feelings about. It was most definitely a sad, sad tragedy for Maddy Clare, and even in death as an angry spirit, I still feel for her.
The romance was one that I did not truly care for. It was equal parts frustrating and unsettling considering the circumstances in which the first sex scene takes place, because CREEPY-STALKER much? Okay, maybe it wasn't entirely a creepy-stalker scenario, because Matthew was never really a creepy stalker type... but the scene felt creepy-stalker-ish. It really did, to me. No matter how much Sarah was already lusting after him.
The sexual tension and chemistry was quite steamy though. I'm not sure if that helps.
The Haunting of Maddy Clare is enjoyable. But as I'd already noted, not entirely memorable. And honestly, I didn't even realize that it was rather unmemorable until I tried to tell my best friend about it, trying to introduce a new book and author to her.
The conversation might have gone a little liked this:
Me: "So I've got a new book for you!" **all excited**
BFF: "What book?" **also all excited**
Me: "It's called The Haunting of Maddy Clare."
Me: "It's about... um... a haunting... by the ghost of a dead girl named Maddy Clare..."
Me: "She's an angry spirit because... stuff happened to her..."
Me: "It takes place in the 1920s... in London. It's Gothic-Romance-Paranormal-Mystery..."
BFF: "That does sound interesting... 1920s, you say?"
Me: "Right. The mystery secret reveal is pretty sad. And then there are people who are supposed to find out what Maddy wants... or get rid of her... or help her move on... You know..."
(This conversation has been edited for blogging entertainment's sake, because I have the memory of a goldfish.)
Anyway, even thinking back on what I had said to my best friend, even though she DID genuinely sound interested, my half-assed summation probably describes every ghost story/haunting story ever written... -_-
I admit: I obviously did this book no justice with that conversation...
And to be honest, I think BFF was more interested in the 1920s setting than the actually book description about a haunted barn itself, anyway.
2016 Reading Challenges:
• Goodreads Reading Challenge
• BookLikes Reading Challenge
• Bookish Resolutions Challenge
• 2016 Halloween Bingo