August 9, 2013
In July 2013, Author Simone St. James won two RITA® awards for Best First Book and Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements for THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE. Impressed, I wanted to know what the judges saw in this author and what makes St. James’ book so very special. I read it in a couple of days and was not disappointed and agree with the judges. Following is my review.
Ms. St. James’ writing was like opening up a book from the past, and a favorite one at that. Suspense, romance and intrigue, The Haunting of Maddy Clare contained the depth and atmospheric tones of the legendary Daphne du Maurier. At first when I read, I thought Sarah might end up with Alistair, but upon the introduction of Matthew, the sexual tension between Sarah and this scarred and damaged man, leapt off the page it was so viscerally well written.
And Maddy. Maddy was an amazing poltergeist, terrifying, tortured and unbelievably scary. “Bring him to me, little girl.” Sarah’s fear was palpable while in the grips of this revenge-seeking being. Simone St. James ramps up the suspense like a seasoned pro as the mystery of who killed this young servant girl, and why she wants and deserves revenge and all, innocent and guilty, will suffer until she gets it.
Fearlessly written, my one criticism if you can call it that is that I felt Maddy was lessened at the end. She’s soooo scary in the barn I wanted to witness her equally powerful and scary comeuppance, although the ending is very well done.
Otherwise, Ms. St. James ties up all the loose ends, answers all the questions and I have added her future work to my must read list. Excellent job and worthy of two RITA awards. Congratulations to Simone St. James.