LJ's Reviews > Matty Groves

Matty Groves by Deborah Grabien
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's review
Feb 05, 08

bookshelves: female_author, paranormal_fantasy, mystery, england, contemporary_post_1945, gothic
Read in January, 2008

MATTY GROVES (Para. Mystery-England-Cont) – VG+
Grabien, Deborah – 3rd in series
Thomas Dunne Books, 2005, US Hardcover – ISBN: 0312333897

First Sentence: On a warm wet day in April, Ringan Laine came home to Somerset from a long, grueling few weeks in London to a piece of spectacular news.

Ringan Lane and his band of traditional musicians have received a much coveted invitation to perform at the Callowen House Arts Festival. He and his long-time lover, actor-producer Penny Wintercraft-Hawkes, are thrilled but a bit apprehensive. Penny is a sensitive who has attracted the attention of ghosts before and Callowen is purported to be haunted by the spirit of Lady Susanna Leight-Arnold, about which whose murder the song “Matty Groves” is the subject. Once at the house, the ghost of Lady Susanna isn’t the problem but there’s a much darker entity who is able to take over Ringan to cause harm. In order to rid the house of this ghost, they must first find out who he is.

Grabien has twice before used traditional folk songs as the catalyst for her stories and while I thoroughly enjoyed them, I was concerned this would be more of the same. It was, as the song was central to the story, and it wasn’t, as part of the mystery was realizing the lyrics of the song were completely wrong to actual history. For the curious, both the traditional and more modern (used in the story) lyrics of “Matty Groves” can be found at http://www.chivalry.com/cantaria/lyri... and you can hear it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2YYJE....

The series characters are interesting, although you should read the series from the beginning to really know who they are. However, two characters in this story are wonderful; Charlotte Leight-Arnold, daughter of the house, and Walter Hibbert, Rector of the local church. Grabien creates excellent sense of place and the book was creepy enough I wanted the lights on. The history was fascinating but didn’t overwhelm or slow down the story. For me, there is nothing better than a good mystery, ghosts, music and history all set in a very old English environment. This book had it all and was a straight-through read.

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