"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."
"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 itbut 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
Sarah Piper ekes out a living working for a temp agency in 1920s London. When she is hired as an assistant to ghost hunter Alistair Gellis, her world turns upside down. Alistair, a wealthy and handsome man who did not escape unscathed from his service in World War I, has taken on the investigation of the ghost of Maddy Clare, a maid who is said to haunt the barn where she committed suicide. Sarah is sent to deal with the ghost, as Maddy, in life and in death, could not abide the company of men. This is no meek spiritshe is physical, angry, and wants vengeance, willing to force Sarah to comply with her final wishes by any means necessary. More help arrives in the form of Matthew, another member of the team, with whom Sarah has a steamy and powerful connection. A compelling ghost story, the book is written quite beautifully, weaving elements of romance and mystery with a gothic twist. All the main characters, including the ghost, have been damaged by the various tragedies that have struck them in their young lives. The book explores post-traumatic stress, loss, and the need to find a way to move beyond the past to claim a future, or in the case of Maddy, to rest in peace. Offering a glimpse of life in England between world wars as the twenty-something ghost investigators stay at a country inn, the book proves a satisfying, chilling read. Reviewer: Erin Wyatt
Sarah Piper, a self-proclaimed modern woman living in London, finds herself living a ghost story in this post–World War I tale. A temp agency offers Sarah a job with a mysterious, handsome writer, Alistair Gellis, who carries scars from the recent Great War. His postwar passion finds him writing travel books—as dry and academic as he can make them—about various haunted sites in England, but his interest is piqued by the case of a haunted barn in the small village of Waringstoke; a young maidservant hanged herself in her employer's barn and has been making mischief and threats ever since, most recently terrorizing a local vicar when he is called to perform an exorcism. According to her former employer, Mrs. Clare, Maddy, the ghost, hates men, so if Alistair is to verify the haunting for his next book, Sarah will have to confront the angry spirit. Feeling adrift in her life and intrigued by Alistair's company, Sarah agrees to the job, embarking on a terrifying journey into the damaged psyche of Maddy Clare. Capable of manipulating her environment and producing hallucinations, Maddy is not resting quietly. Not only must Sarah and Matthew Ryder, Alistair's tough and war-scarred friend, race to discover the truth behind Maddy's life and death, they are soon caught up in Maddy's troubling obsession with Alistair. Through fog, darkness, nightmares and fire, Sarah and Matthew fight to save their friend while also succumbing to their own heated attraction. Along the way, they meet all the mysterious figures one would hope to find in a small English town: the brash new-money aristocrat and his unhappy, beautiful wife; the distrustful gravedigger; the man who watches outside Sarah's window. And of course, Maddy, the one who connects them all and is either seeking peace—or revenge. A chilling start gives way to a more predictable ending, but fans of the modern Gothic novel will enjoy filling up a few creepy hours.