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The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 8:52 pm    Post subject: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James Reply with quote

I loved this one. It was a terrific ghost story, and I have always been a sucker for a real ghost story.

Beautifully written, interesting characters, and the plot works out. More gothic than romance, perhaps, but highly recommended.
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kris



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 312
Location: Southwestern Ontario

PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved this one as well. Scary in parts and a very satisfying conclusion. The Sarah , Alistair and Matthew team was great. I'd like to see their exploits continued (but only for another book or 2)
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D Rogers



Joined: 31 Jul 2009
Posts: 157

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 12:04 am    Post subject: Haunting of Maddy Clare Reply with quote

I read this a week or so ago and loved it. I'm looking forward to the next book.

Denise
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wasn't it fabulous? I wish the author was continuing with these characters in her next book but alas, she is not."An Inquiry into Love and Death" is about all new characters according to her website. I could have sworn I read a preview for it on my kindle but I can't find it now. Still, I am excited about this author and her work. I expect great things from her.

maggie b.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just picked this up for my Nook!

Linda
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divine



Joined: 31 May 2007
Posts: 97
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Thank you for The HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE Reply with quote

Loved,loved,just loved this book. I'm on vacation in Barbados, but felt chills when reading certain passages in this book. The scene with the crows on the barn was downright Hitchcoockian in that it reminded me of a scene from The Birds. I stayed up all night and finished the book because I needed to know what would happen to the tormented Maddy, Sarah with her search for belonging, Matthew with his multitude of scars and fears, and Alistair who Was anything, but shallow.

Personally, when I find myself touched deeply by a book, I automatically look for the author's backlist. Imagine my surprise when I found out that this was her first book. Well done, Simone St James!!!!
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kari



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally picked this book out of my tbr mountain and read it. Couldn't put it down, truly, and I welcome more from this author. A sequel would be great, but I wouldn't want to separate the heroine from her lover just to make the next book more interesting!

For those readers who enjoy ghost stories, I can also recommend the new anthology The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance, edited by Trisha Telep. I bought it for the Sharon Shinn story, which was as good as I've come to expect from her. I was very impressed by the story by Jennifer Estep as well, and the somewhat steam punk story by Dru Pagliassotti was original enough to confuse me but I didn't lose interest in it. I didn't care for the last story (by Holly Lisle) much at all. Any other readers out there?
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MrsFairfax



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1069

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kari wrote:


For those readers who enjoy ghost stories, I can also recommend the new anthology The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance, edited by Trisha Telep. I bought it for the Sharon Shinn story, which was as good as I've come to expect from her. I was very impressed by the story by Jennifer Estep as well, and the somewhat steam punk story by Dru Pagliassotti was original enough to confuse me but I didn't lose interest in it. I didn't care for the last story (by Holly Lisle) much at all. Any other readers out there?


Thanks for the recommendation! I miss the days when "paranormal romance" meant ghosts, not vampires and shapeshifters, so I'll look for this anthology.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some kinds of paranormal stuff I can read about without a quiver of disbelief disturbing my enjoyment--such things as prescience or even clairvoyance don't bother me too much. But ghosts, especially ghosts that can move things? No way. But this was a truly well-written book, for although all the time I was reading, I kept thinking to myself, why in the hell couldn't this author have written about something halfway believable, I kept reading, I think because the main character's development was fascinating.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrsFairfax wrote:
kari wrote:


For those readers who enjoy ghost stories, I can also recommend the new anthology The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance, edited by Trisha Telep. I bought it for the Sharon Shinn story, which was as good as I've come to expect from her. I was very impressed by the story by Jennifer Estep as well, and the somewhat steam punk story by Dru Pagliassotti was original enough to confuse me but I didn't lose interest in it. I didn't care for the last story (by Holly Lisle) much at all. Any other readers out there?


Thanks for the recommendation! I miss the days when "paranormal romance" meant ghosts, not vampires and shapeshifters, so I'll look for this anthology.


Have you read The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue? If you want a ghost story with a romance, I think you might like it. From the book jacket:

New Orleans, the 1920s. Raziela is in the throes of a magnificent love affair when she dies in a tragic accident. In an instant, she leaves behind her one true love and her dream of becoming a doctor -- but somehow, she still remains. Immediately after her death, Razi chooses to stay between, a realm that exists after life and before whatever lies beyond it. From this remarkable vantage point, Razi narrates the stories of her lost love for Andrew and Amy and Scott's relationship, the young married couple whose house she haunts almost 75 years later. Mercy entwines these two fateful and redemptive stories that echo across 3 generations. From ambitious, forward-thinking Razi, who illegally slips birth control guides into library books, to hip Web designer Amy, who begins to fall off the edge of grief, to the other characters caught between with Razi.
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MrsFairfax



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1069

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Susan/DC wrote:

Have you read The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue? If you want a ghost story with a romance, I think you might like it.


Thanks, Susan - You've pegged my reading tastes perfectly. You're right, I did like it, very much. Smile I just checked to see if she'd written anything else, and it looks like there's been nothing until a fantasy that's just been released.
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ChrisReader



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 739

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I enjoyed the atmosphere in this book and thought the author did a great job making the haunting scenes genuinely scary and creepy, I was pulled out of the story because of inconsistencies in the main character's behavior and things put in to make it seem appealing to a modern audience.

There is a lot of mention made about the heroine being very meek and ladylike in a lot of ways. At the beginning she is hesitant to meet Alistair in a crowded public coffee house (which seemed very safe and respectable to me) and mentions how the girl from the agency is bold and fearless and would go without a second thought. She also is constantly thinking how poor she is- when she does go she won't order a second cup of coffee because she doesn't have the money for that. She is almost out of her cheap flat and doesn't/can't buy hair products because she is so destitute. Yet later on in the story (after the conservative nature of the times is mentioned in creating the setting- how it's seen as scandalous she is dining with Alastair etc.) out of the blue the heroine thinks back to how she was set up on dates by other women she knew from working and how many times she just ended up in bed with the guys because, you know, they wanted to and she wanted to fit in- even though she never enjoyed it. This seemed wildly out of place in terms of the character, the time and her situation. I don't believe there was such a free attitude among the middle class women at the time (and wasn't for a long time) there was also not a lot of cheap available birth control. It seemed crazy to me that a woman living on the ragged edge (she constantly mentions having no relations, money, close friends etc.) would constantly be taking the risk of pregnancy by random guys who weren't even her boyfriends. Put aside the social stigma, how was she going to live? It makes me view her as either extremely stupid (when it's mentioned she is supposed to be smart) or incredibly reckless or both. It didn't fit at all the character at all- at least the one described for the first half of the book and all I can think is it was put in to make her appeal to a modern audience and make it more plausible when she does have her tryst with Matthew.

Also Matthew's language seems very out of place. I find it hard to believe a man in the 1920's would come in (in front of a woman he has never met) in a pub and start yelling the F word so freely. (Also using the word in a way that is very modern.) When so much effort has been made in creating the atmosphere and period details I thought it made him seem over the top and jarringly modern. This is a time where Joyce's Ulysses was banned and burned everywhere for using the word once or twice (in it's true sense) and Matthew is tossing it around (as a modifier?).
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the heroine's character developed rather than showed inconsistency. Even at the first, Sarah suddenly blurts statements that show her reticence is only surface, as when she expresses doubts about Geller's encounter with the ghost at Freddie's house and before that in deciding to take the job at all. And, as the story continues she becomes even bolder, especially after encountering Maddy. Even though she expresses herself diffidently, as the story progresses, she nonethess begins to decide what the team ought to do next, in several instances leading the way.
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LFL



Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 706

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Dick, I thought the things you mention showed Sarah's growth. I had no trouble believing in her sexual past. I saw it as a stage she went through and had later grown out of. I had no trouble buying that she'd sleep with men because they wanted to and not because she wanted to. That to me was part of her initial difficulty in asserting herself and expressing her needs.

(I'll also note here that all that sex took place during wartime, and it isn't easy to say no to a solider who may be going to his death. That may be one of the reasons for the known phenomenon of postwar babies.)

The fact that Sarah had become more careful showed that she had realized she didn't want anonymous, meaningless sex that left her feeling used, and was beginning to consider her own needs and desires. But the investigation into Maddy's ghost helped her get in touch with her courage even much more, and as the story continued she grew stronger and stronger. I saw that as one of the central themes of the book. It wasn't just about Maddy's ghost, but about Sarah learning to be more assertive and to go after what she wanted.

In all, I thought the portrayal quite consistent. I also think it's a misconception to believe that past times were nearly as lacking in premarital sex or profanity as readers seem to think. There have always been some forms of birth control such as withdrawal, and condoms certainly existed before the 1920s. So did illegitimate births.

Other information you may find interesting (I'm more familiar with the Victorian era so I'll refer to that):

Victorian era doctors prescribed vibrators to women as a cure for "hysteria."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria

I have an entire book called When Passion Reigned: Sex and the Victorians by Patricia Anderson. The blurb begins this way:

"Was sex once sexier than it is today? This book answers with a resounding yes. Patricia Anderson argues that far from being the prudes of modern legend, the Victorians were avidly engaged in the erotic side of life. They were, Anderson boldly proclaims, actually sexier than we are, despite the sexual revolution."

She describes photographs of women in partial undress (for example, wearing only shoes and boots) which were displayed in middle-class parlors.

She also states that the hooped crinolines worn from 1855-1870 were worn without anything under the petticoats, making some women afraid to go up stairs or on the tops of buses, and prompting some men to take advantage of such opportunities. She gives quotes from the era supporting this. And there is lots more in this vein in the book.
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ChrisReader



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LFL said
Quote:
Like Dick, I thought the things you mention showed Sarah's growth.


I don't doubt that the author intended to show Sarah gaining in confidence and being more assertive the more she connected and identified with Maddy. My point was it seemed inconsistent to have the character be so afraid to meet with someone in a public coffee shop over propriety issues yet be having sex with random dates.

My bigger issue was that it made her seem reckless to the point of foolishness or that she was completely self destructive to engage in such risky behavior being destitute and completely friendless.

While there were always questionable methods of birth control such as withdrawal (which goes back to Onan in the bible) it seemed inconsistent that Sarah would worry about an extra cup of coffee pushing her over the edge financially, but that an unwanted pregnancy whilst unmarried never was addressed.

Lfl said
Quote:
I also think it's a misconception to believe that past times were nearly as lacking in premarital sex or profanity as readers seem to think.


Premarital sex happened all throughout history, as did the use of profanity, however I feel many authors apply very modern attitudes and language in books that are otherwise period specific. Historically, women who were very free in engaging in sex as Sarah is said to have, were rarely middle class. With no system for financial support, and the huge social stigma attached to unwed mothers and illegitimacy, women in Sarah's position were unlikely to be so cavalier about it.

Regarding the profanity, my point was the F word was not used in the modern manner Matthew used it at that time and it was not tossed around as openly, particularly in a conservative rural pub where Matthew was yelling it. It reminded me of the series "Deadwood" where the F word was used in place of the period appropriate swearing because it carried more weight with a modern audience.
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