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Hold My Hand

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Praise for Serena Mackesy:

“A modern day Rebecca, mixed with a suspense-filled Gothic novel and served up with generous helpings of wit—a real treat.”—Associated Press

When Bridget gets a job caretaking a country manor house, she thinks it will mean a fresh start for herself and her daughter. With their new names, she has hope for the future. But Rospetroc House has its
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Soho Constable (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  169 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Valerie Laws
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
'Hold My Hand' is a blend of ghost story and crime novel - this can be a tricky genre, one I rarely seek out because they can be disappointing if the paranormal part forms an instant 'solution' to the mystery. But this is a cracker. Story-telling in the hands of a mistress of suspense, beautifully told. Haunted houses people unwittingly end up living in are particularly scary - our home is our refuge, after all - and ghost stories involving children are especially, well, haunting. Ghost stories ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a very satisfying, atmospheric ghost story set in Cornwall. Perfect for moody autumnal weather!
Helen Smith
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliantly chilling supernatural thriller with a truly malevolent villain. It's a ghost story, but it's also an exploration of how bullying works, and why. The main story tells how capable, likeable single mother Bridget attempts to make a new life for herself and her daughter away from her daughter's abusive father by working as a housekeeper in a big,isolated house in Cornwall, with details of their former life in London told in flashback.

The house's secrets - and why it appears to
Chelsea Pittman
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I love any book that involves someone moving into an old house and finding out that the house is full of secrets. This book is like a classic ghost story. It has the spooky little girl and the big house that no one wants to go in.
Feb 20, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a 3.5 and it may have been a 4, but having just read The Little Stranger, I can't give this much more. This book was certainly atmospheric, but not, as one of the reviews on the back said, Rebecca-like. The manor house in this book comes nowhere close to Manderley with it's sea-swept saltiness and very essence of gothic. I figured out the ending about half-way through, but Macksey did a fine job of building up the suspense level by telling two different stories in alternating chapters - ...more
Dec 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys a good ghost story
Wow! What a great ghost story. The author tells the tale from two points of view; the ghost, Lily Ricket (sounds creepy doesn't it?), and the modern day single mom trying to improve her life and get away from her violent ex-husband in a creepy old English manor house.

I picked this book up at the library based on the cover illustration, title and inside flap. I thought I would like it and boy did I. I have not read any books by the author, Serena Mackesy, but I will definitely place her on my
Melanie Lopata
Sep 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Terrible! I mean, the writer was good but the story? Ugh. I thought this was going to be scary. It wasn’t. At all. I mean very little mention of the ghost throughout until the end and even then...yeah don’t waste your time if you want a good ghost mystery
Marnie Zorn
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I did find it a bit confusing especially at the beginning when the author would switch to a new character.. it took me a couple chapters to realize Bridget and Carol were two different people but aside from that I thought this was entertaining and I enjoyed it
Isabella Hertsel
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bridgett and Yasmin are trying to run away from the connections of Yasmin’s father and London by moving to a small town to take care of a large home with a lot of history, but little do they know the house is haunted. To start off with, this book was well organized with the transitions from the past, with the history of the home, to the present with the current family in the home. I was intrigued towards the end of the book and didn’t want to stop reading because of the connections with the ...more
Feb 20, 2017 added it
I really liked this book. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be but it was unsettling, if only for Bridget's back story. Knowing that people do live in that kind of fear made the novel seem real hence it being an unsettling read.

I liked the characters, the plot, the way it was written etc. All in all a good read, especially for these winter nights!
Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was an intriguing book. The cover has a sinister illustration of an isolated house and the title looks like it's scrawled in blood ... good start!

Two parallel time periods are told, almost simultaneously. The first point of view is from Lily, a 9 year old girl evacuated to England's Cornwall during WWII. She is a difficult, disagreeable, much-abused child who is hardly tolerated in her new "home". Then, shifting to present-day, Bridget and her daughter Yasmin seek a new life in Cornwall,
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Serena Mackesy is a writer I enjoy very much but who doesn't have the audience that, in my opinion, she deserves. Her first couple of books were superior chicklit, but this one's a solidly written modern-day ghost story, twinned with an only-too-familiar contemporary tale of an abused wife and daughter seeking escape from their violent past. They find sanctuary working in a manor house on the moors of Cornwall, but discover that even this comes with its own dangers. There are flaws: the author ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read by British author Serena Mackesy and it was great! Part murder mystery and part ghost story, the story is told as two intertwining tales. During the Second World War, nine-year-old Lily Rickett is evacuated from Portsmouth and sent to live temporarily at Rospetroc, a manor house in Cornwall. In modern times, single mother Bridget Sweeny has left London with her seven-year-old daughter Yasmin, to escape her abusive ex-husband Kieran Fletcher. They come to live at ...more
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ghostly shivers in Cornwall

I "discovered" this author after reading a tweet by Stephen King recommending a book by Alex Marwood (another name the author writes under).

I love a good ghost story and this one sounded like it had elements that would work - lonely estate in Cornwall, a scared mother and daughter running from an abusive husband/father, a righteous ghostly young girl.

And I was right. Author Mackesy wove all these elements, with vignettes from past and present, into a chilling
Tirna Sarkar
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Book is totally fantastic . The suspense is breathtaking.The way Serena Mackesy writes about two time periods and she weaves the story of the three characters in a intriguing manner. There were times I absolutely hated Lily, but at the same time I remembered how Lily's life had been. Bridget and Yasmin too have their own worries and compulsions. Bridget's trauma does not let her lead a normal life . She mistakes the presence of the ghost with her cruel husband Kieran. Eventually she comes ...more
Jan 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. It's been hard to find a real ghost story lately - not a John Saul type horror, but a creepy haunted house book. This is finally one I could get into. The writing is well-done and it is frightening because of the 2 different evils the main characters are facing (human and supernatural.) Serena Mackesy has created a setting that allows the story to take place currently, but with believable reasons why the technology we often rely on would be unreliable. This helps the story ...more
Crystal Falconer
Aug 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
Well, my friends, this book promised to be one of those scary house stories that I love Oh so much, but I have a confession to make...The dialect and slang (I'm guessing some variation of lower class british english) was so distracting that I grew annoyed and frustrated and decided that the aesthetic disturbance was enough to ruin the book for me. Other people may enjoy it more than I did....I quit.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Usually this is so not the type of book that I'd choose to read but I didn't regret reading it after all. the way its written was pretty confusing at times and to understand the ending i had to read the beginning again and use my brain a lot (not that I'd have a problem with that, im just saying lol) but the story was good :)
Jacklyn parker
Bridget and her daughter trying to get away from their abusive father, I like that it sounds like a drama and haunted story at the same time, in addition I feel that it was that it could of been more haunting to make it more intense, I would recommend this book to anyone that likes a sense of scare.
Aug 16, 2009 rated it liked it
This was kinda spooky in parts. A young single mother becomes a caretaker of an old manor. Along with her small daughter, she is wanting to start a new life & escape her ex-husband, a horrible brutal man. This place has a ghost named Lily, who somewhat befriends the little girl (of course). Things start to happen....BUT...ex-husband 0...Lily 1!!! HA!
Denise Flynn
Dec 29, 2012 rated it liked it
A good read. The ghost story wasn't particularly well developed so this may not be for ghost hunting thrill seekers, but the books characters and associated history were sufficiently well developed to maintain interest and keep the momentum going.
Dorothy Reed
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Suspenseful and spooky haunted-house story with an appealing protagonist attempting to protect her daughter and escape an abusive husband and an chilling back story retelling the sad fates that awaited the evacuated children of war-torn London during WWII. Very effective and surprising ending.
Mar 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
I thought this book was predictable and the characters were fairly shallow, and there was not much ghost activity as I thought there would be from other's reviews. I probably will not be reading anymore of her books.
Nov 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Murder, revenge, and the supernatural collide in this story of a woman who takes her young daughter to the English countryside in search of a new life and an escape from domestic abuse. Well written, with an occasional dash of humor to lighten the tale.
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
It was a quick, fun read. Unfortunately, it read as though the author was getting ready to sell the movie rights. Predictable, basic. To be honest, I wish I had watched the movie of it instead of read the book.
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
this book was labeled a mystery. it was reassly a ghost story- thriller. very good though. creepy and exciting. worth a read
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Easy read,

Liked the concept, but a bit lacking in atmosphere. For a old English country Manor house it could have been shed in a more eerie light.
Lauren sanchez
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was creepy and scary without being gory or full on horror. I liked this one a lot!
Jan 20, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Horrible horrible book or subject matter.
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-kindle
This book was a good read for an Autumn evening. Not the scariest book I've ever read, but it did give me a few shivers. Atmospheric, and sometimes chilling.
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Serena Mackesy is a British novelist, author of four novels under her own name and several bestselling psychological crime novels under her pseudonym, Alex Marwood. She is the granddaughter on her mother's side of the novelist Margaret Kennedy and on her father's side of the novelist romantic novelist Leonora Starr/Dorothy Rivers. She grew up in Oxford, and graduated in English Literature from the ...more
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