Historical Fiction, Horror

Review: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

A blend of horror and historical fiction with elements of mystery and romance.


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With the advent of Halloween, I thought it would be nice to read a horror story. I love a good haunting, even if I don’t personally want it to happen to me! I chose this book because I had absolutely lovedΒ  The Broken Girls by this author, and I wanted to read more of her work. So let me just jump straight into my experience:

The Haunting of Maddy Clare book cover

The Haunting of Maddy Clare

by Simone St. James

Published February 6, 2012 by Berkley
ISBN: 0451235681

Data from Goodreads

Summary (Goodreads): 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 haunting the barn where she committed suicide. Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah’s task to confront her in death. Soon Sarah is caught up in a deperate struggle. For Maddy’s ghost is real, she’s angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Alistair’s assistant, the rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, discover who Maddy was, where she came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance-before she destroys them all?

My Review

After reading this, all I can say is choosing this book was a really good idea. Because I really enjoyed it!

The Pros: What worked for me

  • I loved the paranormal elements to the story. I actually read this in audiobook format and I think that just amplified my experience. There were times when I truly had chills from a scene, even though I knew how it would play out.
  • The strength of this novel comes from the superb writing, which created the perfect ambience to convey the story. The plot wasn’t necessarily unique and the characters were not the most memorable (but there was some steamy romance that was pretty well executed), but none of that mattered because I was truly scared at certain points of the novel – and that’s what I honestly wanted.

The Cons: What I didn’t like

  • This novel is a blend of historical fiction and the supernatural/paranormal. I found the historical setting of the story to be interesting but not necessarily important to the story.
  • As I had mentioned earlier, the plot wasn’t the most unique thing I had read and the characters were not necessarily memorable. However, this was a story that was all about the horror aspects, so the lack of focus on character development wasn’t an issue for me.
  • There was this fixation by the author on a character’s “emotional scars”; I found that this didn’t really do anything to aid in the progress of the story, and it also got too repetitive after a while.

Sometimes, not every element of the story needs to be perfect; you just need to enjoy the experience of it. And that’s what happened for me with this book. For those reasons, I’m giving a solid 3/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

5 thoughts on “Review: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

    1. Hahaha in all honesty, it wasn’t deathly scary. The author was able to really get that wonderful gothic feel and that really wowed me. I hope you give it a go and like it!

    1. Lmaooo to be fair it’s pretty hard to scare me with a book. But if you know of a really scary book, let me know because I would love to give it a try

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