“I believe spiritualism has no basis in scientific fact…And that any supposed contact with the dead is either the work of charlatans or some kind of group psychological disorder.”W. C. Ryan, A House of Ghosts, p 14
I have come to the decision that I have a love/hate relationship with this book. Well, I didn’t really hate any of it, but it did lose my interest for a bit along the way. I was quite intrigued by the plot of the book with it being about ghosts and seances, and from my previous reviews, it is evident that I enjoy reading about both. But even though those things did take place, it was mainly about sabotage and finding out who was hiding within the house outside of the guests that were invited for the festivities. As I read through the first couple of chapters, which are actually quite short compared to other books I have read, it was hard to hold my attention as there wasn’t much going on. Now, I don’t expect there to be action from the get-go with books that I read as I know you have to work up to things in most cases to really get the idea of what is happening, however, with this book it did take longer to get there than I anticipated.
A House of Ghosts takes place during the first World War on an island where they become isolated from the mainland and all the while things are happening in Blackwater Abbey that no-one was expecting to have to deal with, such as murder. And spirits, lots of lost spirits. Well, except for that of Kate Cartwright and Donovan. They had a general idea of what they were getting themselves into but it does turn out to be a bit more than they were expecting. It does bring in the suspense factor of the book though along with a bit of mystery and a dash of romance.
Considering I’m a romantic at heart I was really hoping throughout the entire book that Donovan and Kate would eventually get together, and I was not disappointed. They were a strong team throughout their time on the island, always making sure the other was safe, even though for a while, in the beginning, Kate wanted absolutely nothing to do with Donovan. He broke through her walls pretty quick, however, and in turn making her want him more with every passing minute.
Towards the middle of the book you do finally start to get into the action as to why they are all there in the first place. Not only was Lady Highmount knocked out but then there is also a murder due to possible mistaken identity. From then on Kate and Donovan become the team that I had hoped for from the beginning to find out who is responsible for causing the chaos at the Abbey. It’s pretty much them against the world at that point. Of course, in the end, they find out who is the culprit but it even took me a bit by surprise because it’s not someone you expect it to be, which of course makes for a good ending to the book.
About A House of Ghosts
As World War I enters into the most brutal of times, back in England there are those that seek to speak with those that they have lost during those hard times of war. On an island off of the Devon coast, Blackwater Abbey sits. It is also known as the house of ghosts as there are a few that can validate there are many spirits that have found themselves a home there among its rooms. Lord Highmount, the current owner of the Abbey has decided to hold a seance with a very select group of acquaintances there in attempts of contacting the two sons he has lost in the war. However, as his guests arrive and the winter storm continues to worsen, it soon becomes quite clear that each person there has secrets they are keeping. The guests of the Abbey soon find themselves trapped within the home with no way of contacting the mainland as the telephone has been sabotaged and the water is too rough to cross. And as time goes by and the storm continues to howl, the guests soon find their numbers to start depleting with no-one knowing what may come for them next.
Donovan and Kate Cartwright, who have never before met before, have been tasked with finding out who has leaked information about weapons to the Germans and to do so they have to endure time at the Blackwater Abbey that is located on an island off of the Devon coast. They have been given a general idea of who is responsible but they are in search of proof. However, they come to find themselves also searching for a murderer among them just after experiencing a seance that seems to have spooked them all. Could this all be the ghosts that are around them looking for revenge? Soon Donovan and Kate find themselves depending on each other to weather out the storm that is brewing and find out who is responsible for everything that is mysteriously going on at the Abbey. It doesn’t help that each of them that are there is keeping some sort of secret as to why they are really there.
A list of William Ryan’s books can be found on his site here – Book List