After trying and failing to get into any of the novels I've picked up recently, I decided to read something different and started 'The Haunting of Maddy Clare' which is a bit out of my norm. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised and found this to be a fascinating debut, though it fell slightly short of perfect. Miss St. James has huge potential however, and I've already bought another of her books which I can't wait to receive. The story takes place in 1922 England and is told in the first person from the viewpoint of Sarah Piper, the heroine of said story. She is hired as a temporary assistant by Alistair Gellis, a ghost hunter and author who investigates and records the sites of supposed hauntings. The story centers around Sarah, Alistair, Matthew Ryder (the assistant who Sarah was replacing) and of course, the malevolent spirit of nineteen-year-old Maddy Clare who committed suicide.
Well, I was expecting this to be a mystery but its also a bit of a romance, since there's a relationship (of sorts) between Sarah and Matthew, not to mention a love interest for Alistair. The writing and pacing were both great, and this intriguing tale pulled me in from the very beginning and held my interest throughout. I was so anxious to find out what would happen next, I literally read this book in every spare second I could find. With that being said, while I did like all three of the lead characters, I never felt truly connected to any of them for some reason. At turns chilling and creepy, but also heartbreaking when you discover what happened to a twelve-year-old Maddy, this story sucked me in. I did find the perpetrators predictable but this fact didn't ruin my enjoyment in any way. In the end it was a dark and intense read that was thoroughly captivating and one I'd definitely recommend!