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The Haunting of Maddy Clare

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,030 Ratings  ·  937 Reviews
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' ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by NAL
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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónRebecca by Daphne du MaurierThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Modern Gothic
32nd out of 432 books — 1,049 voters
The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. JamesSilence for the Dead by Simone St. JamesAn Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. JamesOutlander by Diana GabaldonShadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
Historical Paranormal Fiction
1st out of 32 books — 22 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Once again, a Simone St. James book read in one sitting. My eyes are now blurry (did I forget to blink?), and I am surprised and disappointed to realize that I am back in the real world. A full review may follow at some point, but I loved this, ghost, romance, mystery and all.
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Sarah Piper lives a fairly private life in London during the 1920's. She soon receives a call from a temp agency requesting her assistance in working alongside Alistair Gellis, a traveling writer who has a deep interest in the supernatural. Sarah's life is soon flipped upside down when she is led to assist in helping an angry 'manifestation' to the other side.

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Since Maddy Clare loathes the presence of men, Sarah is sent into the barn that she haunts alone. Sarah isn't well-equipped for what tra
Nov 07, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, tragic, horror, ghost
Late one evening a distraught young girl covered in dirt, shows up at the door of an Old English manor. The compassionate family takes pity on her, takes her in and administers her medical attention. When the local police conducted an extensive search and turn up no information surrounding the missing girl, the generous family keeps her on as a maid. Mute and a bit teched she still managed to win the heart of the Mistress and housekeeper, however, the Lord of the manor never acknowledges that sh ...more
Lynn Spencer
I'll try not to ramble too much, but I'm working on a sleep deficit caused by staying up way too late finishing this book. I read this book after both Susanna Kearsley and Molly O'Keefe recommended it to me, and what a wonderful read it was! As others have commented in their reviews, I did solve the mystery rather early on, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book one bit.

The story is told in the first person and Sarah Piper is a delightful narrator. Not only do we get treated to a sto
Oct 14, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, ghosts, mystery
When Sarah accepts an interview thru a temp. agency, she had no idea it would lead to a job working for two handsome young men and encountering a revengeful ghost haunting an old barn. Set in post WWI England, the engaging beginning of this debut novel by Simone St. James combines some spooky thrills with a mystery to solve and a romance to enjoy. (if you enjoy romance)

The imperative need to unravel the past surrounding Maddy's sad and short life made for a fast read and entertaining ghost story

Nov 07, 2015 Jeanette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, this is at least a 4 star for enjoyment. 3.5 star rounded up for all else. The style is easy to read, yet a trifle melodramatic. BUT, isn't that what you want in a ghost story? I do.

In this one the haunt is an active protagonist, no second tier apparition. And the town in the era following the Great War completely reverberates the response to the ghost's known and fully experienced suffering.

But what I liked best about this one was that Sarah, Matthew, and Alistair all reflect the dissonan
Jan 22, 2016 Holly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Well, after reading two books by this author this month and loving them, I can safely say that I will buy every book Simone St. James writes. This had mystery, ghosts, a gothic feel to it, and a little romance. It was all executed brilliantly.
Khanh (the Grinch)
An excellent ghost story with some truly terrifying moments. This is Simone St. James' first book, and I actually read her second book first before going back to this one. They are not connected, although they have a similar setting and sets of characters. Their similarity in no way detracted from my enjoyment of both books.

It is 1922, and 24-year old Sarah Piper leads a lonely, very threadbare existence. It is hinted that there was a traumatic event in her past, and as such, she seems to be goi
Mar 23, 2012 TheBookSmugglers rated it liked it
Joint review originally posted on The Book Smugglers

First Impressions:

Ana: Thea was supposed to be doing a solo review of The Haunting of Maddy Clare but then last week I was having a moan about not wanting to read any of the books on my TBR and then Thea was like, “What do you want to read dude” and I was like, “I think I am in the mood for a historical novel, possibly Horror as well. Maybe.” and she was like, “Dudette, why don’t you read Maddy Clare with me” and I looked it up and it was a his
Nov 18, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This feels so right. I am listening to the audio version and for some strange reason it reminds me of one of my first and favorite audio books ever Rebecca. At the same time, reminding me of one of my favorite horror novels , Hell House. Instant love.
Dec 16, 2014 Sue rated it liked it
Recommended to Sue by: Janice
Well this book has so many things I enjoy: historical fiction, an English setting just after World War One, and of course ghosts. The only thing it has that I don't usually read is that background romance. But I'm perfectly willing to let that pass since I was so in the mood for the rest of the story today and I certainly couldn't begrudge anyone in this story a bit of love after some of the harrowing things that happened.

I do enjoy intelligently written ghost stories---and they are often hard t
I love a good ghost story, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare is indeed a good ghost story. It passed my ghost story test, which is dreaming about it. When scary carries over to my sleep, I am thoroughly satisfied. Simone St. James has made me a very happy reader. The ghost story has historical aspects, with WWI having recently ended, and romantic aspects, with two of the main characters trying to fight their attraction to one another, as well as an angry ghost.

Sarah Piper is a London girl in her m
May 03, 2012 Hannah marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: spookies
Sigh...another DNF.

Too many modern mores for a 1920's time period. The supernatural aspect was fairly creepy, but then it devolved into a romance, with some unexpected sex scenes. Not what I was hoping for.

Penny Watson
Mar 16, 2016 Penny Watson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Wow. Wow.

(Review posted at Happy Heart Reads for the TBR Challenge Recommended Read)

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James is a riveting Gothic tale. I saw a recent review at Amazon that said "a tad melodramatic," and I laughed heartily. HELLO! It's a Gothic! A good Gothic is all about the melodrama...building on the terrifying unknown, creating atmospheric settings and vulnerable characters. This story is told by Sarah Piper, a poor, lonely young woman, who gets drawn into a myste
Apr 18, 2012 Joanne rated it really liked it
When Sarah Piper accepts a temporary job to assist a man involved in exploring paranormal activity, little does she know that she will come face to face with a most terrifying manifestation...the ghost of a young girl with a mysterious past who committed suicide but remains to haunt her country home. A delightfully spooky ghost story and perfect for those who enjoy mystery and a bit of romance. Set in the English countryside in 1922, you'll want a cup of tea to keep the chills away as the horror ...more
Molly O'keefe
Feb 19, 2013 Molly O'keefe rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - I was freaked out. The mysteries - all of them! Were page turning and the romance was really satisfying. For readers who like well balanced romance/mystery/historical - this one is for you!
Nicole Ritz
Jun 19, 2012 Nicole Ritz rated it it was ok

Although I prefer a little more subtlety in ghost stories -- the book's spirit made her presence known early on and spectacularly -- the book started off strong. There was some nice period detail, and the premise was interesting enough that I was willing to accept it on its own terms.

THEN the author threw in an anachronism that ruined much of my enjoyment.The story was set in 1922. Sarah compared Evangeline to Norma Shearer, claiming she'd seen all her movies. Although Norma Shearer had begun a
Feb 16, 2016 Angie rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a great read! Lots of things I love all in one book: history, romantic tension, mystery, ghosts, and more!
Sarah, a temp worker from London, finds herself as an assistant to a ghost hunter--definitely uncharted territory for her! Through this she meets a troubled ghost, known in life as Maddy Clare, who wants to get revenge. Maddy haunts Sarah and her fellow hunters in terrifying ways. This is an edge of your seat book that makes you want to keep reading and not stop until it's over. I
Jamie Stanley
Apr 07, 2013 Jamie Stanley rated it really liked it
This was a GREAT ghost story. I was unable to put it down. I spent my entire Saturday reading this book. It was very creepy and did not go overboard with the romance. If you like gothic ghost stories, I recommend this book. I just ordered her second book today :)
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
This was a delectable read, with a compelling and chilling paranormal mystery, and a sizzling hot romance. I really enjoyed it.

Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine in the March issue.

The Haunting of Maddy Clare
4 Stars

In post WWI England, there are few jobs available for young women so when Sarah Piper is offered a position as an assistant to a ghost hunter, she accepts because beggars can’t be choosers. Summoned to investigate and perhaps exorcise the spirit of Maddy Clare, a 19 year old serving girl who took her own life, Sarah and her partners, Alistair Gellis and Matthew Ryder, must learn the horrific details of Maddy’s traumatic life and pitiful death before she takes he
Feb 09, 2012 Pam rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, uk-book, 2012
It has been quite a while since I read a book in one day. But this was the case with The Haunting of Maddy Clare. Set in England after WW-1, the story revolves around Sarah Piper, a temporary worker hired by Alistair Glennis to be his assistant. Turns out, he is a ghost hunter.

This is England, after all, where every house has a ghost and every pub has a poltergeist, and Alistair admits he has seen evidence of "manifestations" but never really encountered a ghost. But Maddy Clare is no curious po
The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. JamesNothing is more perfect than a ghost hunt across the English countryside in the 1920’s. Suspenseful, wicked, sexy – this novel is everything that gothic and paranormal lovers crave. A must read!

Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence becomes an adventure she could never have predicted when she accepts an appointment to meet with her possible future employer. Sarah works for a temporary agency in London and is currently in-between jobs, so the unusual request to meet a stranger in a coffeehou
MaryannC.Book Fiend
I won this free copy through a Goodreads giveaway and I was very excited to read this. Where do I begin, but to say that this is a deliciously creepy read! For me, this novel starts out quietly and tells the story of Sarah Piper, a young woman with a lonely existence who answers her temp. agency's request for a job. At her interview she meets handsome,rich Alistair Gellis who investigates ghosts and hires Sarah to accompany him to a site where a young servant named Maddy Clare had committed suic ...more
A relatively quick and easy read. Enjoyed the characters and setting and love to read books about this period of history. I liked the "ghostly" aspect of the story and thought it was well done, there were a few twists that were surprising although it was fairly easy to grasp who the culprit/culprits were well before the end.
For this reader it was the effect of the war and it's aftermath on the men who returned, the effects on their lives and their assimilation back into everyday life that was th
Diane S ☔
Mar 27, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
3.5 Entertaining story for those who love ghost stories and mysterious happenings. Really liked the characters and there are plenty of creepy moments, especially the crows, they were particularly eerie. Especially because I have never gotten over seeing the birds when I was younger. Liked following the story to find out who Maddy really was and what had happened to her.
Jun 07, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
Having a very hard time deciding stars.... This book sounded promising and there were some very well written parts, but it did come up short. If you are an avid reader that just needs a book when sitting on the toilet or the commuter train, this will suffice. If you are an avid reader and looking for high quality, skip this and move on. The book's problems will distract you along the way and you will waste time evaluating these problems after you have finished reading, realizing that you could h ...more
Oct 16, 2012 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: specfic, ladywritten, 2012
I grabbed this out of the ether, from someone's mention here on Goodreads. England between the wars, a female protagonist, a haunting...hey, I loved The Little Stranger . What more could I want?

Well, this is less of a literary novel and more of a Gothic historical romance. If that's a thing. It's also a fast read. The setup pulled me in, and the writing is smooth and proficient. The author definitely relies on some tropes--our first-person POV heroine is not above noticing the sooty eyelashes o
Laura (Kyahgirl)
3/5; 3 stars; B

I didn't really know what to expect from this book, having never read this author before. In my mind it would be a ghost hunting adventure/mystery. Is started out that way, with Sarah, the somewhat down and out temp worker taking a job as an assistant to a ghost hunting writer. What it turns into is a dark exploration of a true haunting by a tortured soul and the mystery surrounding how she became so very tortured.
I enjoyed the story and, for the most part, the narration. The nar
Jul 20, 2015 Soairse rated it it was ok
Shelves: ghost-stories
Ultimately disappointing. The book got off to a good start, promising an interesting story. Initially the characters were well drawn but after a few chapters they flattened out and the storyline quickly lost credibility. In this period of English history, for example, would the haughty Mrs Clare have simply opened her house to a filthy, half-mad waif who turned up on her doorstep? One would like to think so but the likelihood is that she would have been carted off to the local Workhouse. The boo ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 5 Mar 04, 2015 11:38AM  
  • Ghost on Black Mountain
  • Mortal Arts (Lady Darby, #2)
  • The Dark Enquiry (Lady Julia Grey, #5)
  • The Tale of Halcyon Crane
  • The Widow's Daughter: A Novel
  • The Secrets of Mia Danvers (Dangerous Liaisons, #1)
  • The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton
  • Vienna Waltz (Rannoch/Fraser Publication Order, #4)
  • India Black and the Gentleman Thief (Madame of Espionage, #4)
  • Death Comes to the Village (Kurland St. Mary Mystery, #1)
  • The Splendour Falls
  • The Spiritualist
  • When Gods Die (Sebastian St. Cyr #2)
Simone St. James is the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two RITA awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives in Toront ...more
More about Simone St. James...

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“You can't imagine how hard it is to come home from hell and be expected to pick up the threads of a life. Apply for jobs, go to a factory, punch in, punch out. Put your lunch in a bag and get on the omnibus every day. Like nothing happened. Nothing. 16 likes
“I was doomed to it. For there was no way to convince him that, with all his scars, the terrible truth was that he was still the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.” 8 likes
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