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The Haunting of Maddy Clare Paperback – March 6, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"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 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

From the Back Cover

In 1920s England, a young woman of limited means and even less experience confronts the ghost of a mysterious serving maid...
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 said to haunt the barn where she committed suicide.
Maddy hated man in life, and she will not speak to them in death. But Sarah is unprepared to go alone into a haunted barn looking for the truth. She's even less prepared for the arrival of Alistair's associate, rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, also a veteran of the trenches, whose scars go deeper than Sarah can reach.
Soon, Sarah is caught up in a desperate struggle. For Maddy's ghost is no hoax--she's real, she's angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Matthew discover who Maddy was, where she came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance...before she destroys them all?

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; 1 Original edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451235681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451235688
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simone St. James is the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two prestigious RITA® awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She writes gothic historical ghost stories set in 1920s England, books that are known for their mystery, gripping suspense, and romance.

Simone wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school. She worked behind the scenes in the television business for twenty years before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada with her husband and a spoiled cat.

Customer Reviews

The book captured my attention immediately and kept me turning the pages.
Overall I would highly recommend it to someone who's interested in ghost stories and/or love stories.
The characters are well developed and the story kept me very interested to the very end!
Kira Krivanek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Frank L. Hicks Jr. on March 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Wow! At last a really good book on a ghost and ghost hunting. It seems either the writing in such books are not very good or the story is so wacko it is not worth reading. This is not your normal run of mill ghost story. Maddy Clare (The ghost) has an attitude and this is intended to go far beyond scaring people. She is after blood. The four major characters all have their own issues (including the ghost) and the book really is a resolution of all these issues. The author Simone St. James does a good job in bring this all together with introspection, fear, love and fulfillment. He lets the characters develop themselves and you the reader become a part of that development. You will care what happens and will be sucked into this story in the very first couple pages. It is all here; sit back, turn up all the lights in the house and enjoy a really good ghost story.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Sadierose on May 18, 2014
Format: Paperback
I very much wanted to like this book, and I don't like the idea of upsetting an author or her fans. I'm only writing this negative review because I wish we could start a conversation about the setting, dialogue, and background culture. I wish so much that North American fiction writers who decide to set their books in the English interwar period would work harder on English (vs. North American) idiom, expressions, and customs. The reason reviewers here feel that this book could have been set in any time is simply that the author used modern North American language and set her book in modern (I'd say, post-1970s) culture. As a result the book is replete with anachronisms and problematic expressions and behaviors. For example, characters use phrases like "input" and "hung up on" -- (and many others) -- phrases that weren't even invented until the 1970s or 1980s. Some of the behaviors are very modern, too; e.g., the interactions between the main character and her love-interest. I don't want to go into too much detail to avoid spoiling the plot.

I would never say that North American writers can't or shouldn't write stories set in interwar England, but if they decide to do that, they should immerse themselves in the English idiom and at least try to give it a period flavor. I imagine getting English English (as opposed to American English) right can be difficult, but surely it's worth the effort? (Am I the only reader who was bothered by the modern dialogue and behavior?)
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By AgnesMack on March 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
I don't typically care for ghost stories or love stories, so when I received a copy of The Haunting of Maddy Clare from the publisher, I wasn't expecting to particularly like it. While there were certainly flaws in the story and the writing was a bit clunky at times, overall it was a surprisingly good read.

The story is that of a lonely, broke woman who gets a most unusual temp job: ghost whisperer. Sarah Piper, our protagonist, is skeptical of her new boss Alistair Gellis, but she needs the cash, so off they go to woo a disgruntled, man-hating ghost into sharing her life story with them.

I will admit that I'm easily spooked and I don't particularly enjoy the necessity to check under my bed after reading a scary book. I was glad, though some readers may not be, that this book was much more spooky than it was scary. It was certainly tense and full of twists and turns, but at no point did I feel I had to protect myself by putting the book in the freezer.

Overall I would highly recommend it to someone who's interested in ghost stories and/or love stories. I found it to be entertaining, surprising, and ultimately successful even for a non-appreciator of the genre.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mason Canyon on March 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ghost stories are told around the campfire late night and have a `got-you' moment at the end.

Rarely does a ghost story slowly draw you in, seep into your bones, hold you captivate, and send shivers down your spine all while propelling you to want more. Author Simone St. James has accomplished this with her suspenseful debut, THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE.

The protagonist is Sarah Piper, a lonely young woman living in 1920s London. She works for a temporary agency and has long given up any hope of happiness or family. Life as she knows it takes a dramatic change when she takes a job the agency sends her on.

Rich and handsome Alistar Gellis needs a female assistant. The charming young veteran is a ghost hunter and has a particular case that he needs a women to help with. At first Sarah refuses but soon is drawn in and agrees.

They are to investigate the ghost of 19-year-old Maddy Clare, a maid who hung herself in a barn in the rural English countryside. Maddy now haunts the barn and hates men causing havoc when a man is present. The mistress of the land wants Maddy to leave so it falls to Sarah to convince her.

The assignment gets a bit more complicated for Sarah when Gellis' regular assistant, Matthew Ryder, shows up. Also a war veteran, Ryder has scars inside and out. He and Sarah clash as a volatile relationship between them begins to grow. Meanwhile, Maddy's destruction increases and answers must be found before her vengeance does them all in.

The author pulls you in to this sleepy little village where the citizens have far too many secrets and are suspicious of newcomers. The desire to know what happened to Maddy grows as her powers defy reason. The gothic atmosphere only adds to the tension and suspense.
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