Jun 27, 2014

The Haunting of Highdown Hall - Review



"Good morning, Psychic Surveys. How can I help?"
The latest in a long line of psychically-gifted females, Ruby Davis can see through the veil that separates this world and the next, helping grounded souls to move towards the light - or 'home' as Ruby calls it. Not just a job for Ruby, it's a crusade and one she wants to bring to the High Street. Psychic Surveys is born.
Based in Lewes, East Sussex, Ruby and her team of freelance psychics have been kept busy of late. Specialising in domestic cases, their solid reputation is spreading - it's not just the dead that can rest in peace but the living too. All is threatened when Ruby receives a call from the irate new owner of Highdown Hall. Film star Cynthia Hart is still in residence, despite having died in 1958.
Winter deepens and so does the mystery surrounding Cynthia. She insists the devil is blocking her path to the light long after Psychic Surveys have 'disproved' it. Investigating her apparently unblemished background, Ruby is pulled further and further into Cynthia's world and the darkness that now inhabits it.
For the first time in her career, Ruby's deepest beliefs are challenged. Does evil truly exist? And if so, is it the most relentless force of all?


I finished this a few weeks back and took a few days to think about my review. I was sick when reading so felt quite low and sorry for myself. I wanted to wait so I’d know that didn’t color my opinion. The first thing I want to say is don’t you love the cover? It immediately sets up the atmosphere going in. The next thing is that this is a very well written book. The prose, cast of characters, and plot line were all extremely well worked out, with just the right amount of description to sink into every location. This book would make a fabulous movie. I’m not at all surprised THoHH is grabbing rave reviews and climbing the charts.

It wasn’t a completely smooth ride for me. Like Ruby, I found my beliefs challenged on several occasions. If asked I would classify myself as an atheist, although it’s more complicated than that. I believe in a multi-verse and the idea of existence on several levels, that when a person dies, their energy is released. Essentially, I do believe in the spirit world, so much of the story spoke to me in a logical sense. I didn’t think it at all strange that these people ran a company that helped spirits move on, or that places absorbed and held onto residual energy.

I did struggle with the good verses evil part. I struggled with the idea presented in the book that there is no retribution for sins as such, even sins not atoned for in life, only love. I didn’t like it. It’s went against what I absolutely hope to be true and I found myself disliking Ruby’s grandmother, who I am sure was meant to be a sympatric character. Without spoiling, I was angry when another character’s sins were more of less swept under the carpet because he was old. His actions were heinous at best, in my opinion. The idea of his finding no judgement and the acts of small kindness shown to him was genuinely repugnant to me and I felt entirely undeserved.

On going through other reviews, this didn’t seem to be something that bothered other readers, so I’m well aware this was a personal view and reflective of me, not the book. On the contrary, the extreme emotion elicited showed exactly how well this book was written and how deeply involved I was with the storyline and characters. I was completely sucked in. 

I was talking to my kindle through most of it, either annoyed or so touched. Particularly, one young spirit caused me to shed a lot of tears.

This was a wild ride of twists and turns, all sailing toward a chilling climatic confrontation and revelations in the final chapters. I am looking forward to the next in the series and revisiting with the cast. I give this a solid 4 stars.

About Shani Struthers

An avid reader, I'll wade through pretty much anything but hot favourites right now are romance, horror (not gory though, more supernatural) and contemporary. Am discovering some wonderful books through Goodreads and writing circles on Facebook - haven't had to pop into Waterstones for ages! I'm also the author of The Runaway Year, published by Omnific Publishing - a contemporary Cornish romance with a healthy dash of sass. Later this year my second novel will be available - a paranormal mystery this time. Psychic Surveys Book 1: The Haunting of Highdown Hall will be published by Crooked Cat Publishing and is the first in a series which will only get darker.
Read all about it on my website or on my blog. I'm also on twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shani-S....

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