When Jesse Graham unlocks the door to the deserted house she inherited from her Aunt Helen, she doesn't realize she's unlocking secrets that had lain dormant for years. Reeling from a broken engagement to acclaimed musician Robert Cronmiller, Jesse wants to leave the city where her name is linked to his in all the society pages. Her best friend, Maggie, aka Sister Angelina, convinces her to take a job at a private girls school in the pastoral Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Anticipating a quiet, revitalizing life in her aunt's deserted house, Jesse is instead thrown into a maze of danger. Questions about her aunt's death lead Jesse to investigate events surrounding it and the people involved, but she uncovers a web of deceit that reaches far beyond the occurrences of over two decades earlier. Still dejected from her broken engagement, Jesse finds it difficult to trust anyone, even her self-absorbed mother. Joe Riley is irresistible, but secrets obstruct involvement with him until Jesse can solve the secrets of the Cavanaugh House. Someone doesn't want those secrets unearthed and will stop at nothing, even murder, to keep them hidden.
©2014 Elizabeth Meyette (P)2016 Elizabeth Meyette
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The Cavanaugh House by Elizabeth Meyette is true to the genre, so if you want a cozy mystery with a dash of paranormal (a ghost – not a spoiler), the you’ll enjoy listening to this novel. Jesse Graham, devastated by a messy engagement breakup, retreats to a house left to her by her aunt. With the help of her childhood friend, Maggie, a nun, she tries to start a new life. However, a restless spirit, a possible suicide or murder, family secrets and several possible love interests keep stirring the pot. Layer upon layer of secrets and lies combined with an attempt on Jesse’s life kept me listening. The story line is, of course, predictable, it follows what I think is an outlined genre format and this is probably what most listeners expect. But there are enough twists and turns and interesting characters to hold your interest. Some of the cliché characters (the ‘mean beyond words’ nun, for one) was a bit annoying, but their scenes were blessedly few.
The setting, in the Finger Lakes area of New York was interesting and pleasant and well defined. I did find the climax of the mystery was unexpected, which was refreshing. Endings are often difficult and contrived, but this one wasn’t and for that I was grateful. All the ends were woven in and tidy, happy of course The inserts of women’s lib and how men should address women seemed kind of added in and seemed unnecessary, and at times I was embarrassed for the character’s trying to dance around Jesse’s demands for the proper ‘terms’ like ‘woman’ instead of the exterminator’s ‘little lady’. I know it was a different time, but insisting that every male in town change their ways when so many other scary and serious events were going on just didn’t work for me. The obligatory love interest was well done, but as always, they didn’t get off to a friendly start, and had their issues, but we get the idea that true love will follow after the dust settles. I did find the climax of the mystery was a bit of a surprise which was quite refreshing.
The narrator, Amy McFadden, has a pleasant voice and does a good job with the dialogue, but her narrative takes on a ‘valley girl’ tone that I found distracting, especially considering this story is set in the late 1960’s, when such a speech pattern didn’t exist, unless maybe you lived in that valley? But it was always easy to tell who was speaking and to follow the conversations, and with the many characters, especially male character voices, that was a coup.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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I am a frequent listener of audiobooks and really enjoyed listening to this one! I enjoyed the inflections in Amy McFadden's voice as she took the part of the varied characters.
I live in upstate NY so I enjoyed the references to familiar places and products.
The most entertaining part for me was the unfolding of the secrets and mystery that are an important part of the story.
This book is similar to The Mermaid's Chair in the small and interesting details of people and places. Both books transport you to a different time and place. There are mysteries and exploring of spirits in both books.
I did read the book shortly after it was released in paperback. I then enjoyed listening to it about 18 months later.
Amy McFadden brought the characters to life by voicing their humor, determination and insecure moments. I could easily picture the situations as I relaxed and listened to the great story.
When the main character finds the missing pieces of who she is, after a long and difficult search.
I have recommended this book and audiobook to many friends.
This book would be great if you were going on a long trip or like me had a few house chores to do. I would recommend this book if asked.
I'm an avid reader, editor, and blogger in love with this literary world in which we live!
The spine-chilling epilogue grabbed by attention immediately! I love Meyette’s style! Although her usual time period is much further back in history, her talent shines during any timeline! I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of the chase, not knowing who the bad guy was, and even suspecting our main character of mental instability. I’m also a sucker for a great ghost story and I was pleasantly rewarded here. The paranormal twist just intensifies the reading experience, making this novel impossible to put down. Jesse has a great deal of moxie, and I found it to be an attribute. Joe’s a doll and he had my vote the entire time. You’d have to be crazy not to root for a man who cuts a woman’s grass with a scythe! There are several supporting characters, including the coolest nun in existence, that make this an extraordinary read. I loved it!Audible version:The narrator has a clear, concise voice, and is able to articulate each character skillfully. The mood is set perfectly with pitch, and I was mesmerized the entire time.I recommend this novel, in both forms, to lovers of Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal, Fictional Crime, and Romance genres.I was gifted a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Bag of Bones by Stephen King and I can only say that they're both wonderful, paranormal reads. I don't want to present spoilers.
Clear pronunciation and different pitch for each character. Emotion was played perfectly, as well.
I would recommend this book to any friend - it was suspenseful without being creepy, sexy without being X rated and kept me interested throughout the entire book.
Hope there will be another one to follow! Couldn't put it down. LOVE all the Elizabeth Meyette books!
Listening to the Cavanaugh House was an incredbile experience. At first, I wasn't sure I'd like this, but as the story went on, I was transported inside the heroine and everything was incredible. I'll definitely listen to the story again, especially the parts I read as I did both.
I loved Jesse, the main character, but Maggie is something else. I'd love to know what motivated her into making the choices she did. She seems to be someone with a lot of love to give.
The car chase had me on the edge of my seat. I felt her terror, starting with the denial of course as we all do when faced with bad situations, and then building to the inevitable escape from danger.
I didn't consider that because I knew right from the beginning that wasn't possible, but I did make sure I had time to listen to a couple of chapters in one sitting. Since the book is more than 10 hours long, few listeners will be able to do it all at once.
The reader has an excellent voice and her reading style contributed to my enjoyment of this, my first audio book.
Amy McFadden does a spectacular job narrating The Cavanaugh House. It's easy to tell which character is speaking, even before the character tag is read. And the story, wow. The writing is superb and there were so many times, I wanted to stop and rewind just so I could hear that special phrasing again. Elizabeth is a terrific writer!
No, I haven't.
She is pretty and new in town and men fall for her immediately for 4 chapters. Then it get a little more interesting when she set out to find out what happened to her mother. However, she is not likeable. Everyone has to clean up her mistakes. And of course she lands on her feet in the in (big time) I want to start an new type of mystery name(like Cozy) and that is "Mush Mysteries'
There are unexpected twist that helped make the story interesting. Heroine is just to scatterbrained for me.
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