The Haunting of William Gray

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

I liked this book - it was a quick, unique read. But there were some issues with the book as-is; however I think that they could be worked out with some more editing. With some finesse, this could easily be a 5-star read.

The novel is about Madeline Waters, a middle-aged graduate student, working on her thesis about Captain William Gray, who built a magnificent house on Pine Island, South Carolina, after a lucrative and controversial career. But rumor has it that he had a dark side a murdered his young bride when he returned from a voyage to find her in bed with another man. Now, 150 years later, his descendent, also named William Gray, is being haunted by the Captain and needs it to stop before it ruins his life. And he has promised to let Madeline have access to the Captain’s personal writings for her thesis if she is able to capture proof on film of the Captain’s presence. 

The story includes two mysteries - What happened to the Captain’s young wife all those years ago? And how can the current William Gray get rid of his interfering ancestor without losing his mind? - and they are quite compelling. There’s also a romantic storyline which is unique in that it includes a love triangle with a ghost. 

My issue is that I felt like there wasn’t enough background and atmosphere at the beginning of the book to really get me enthralled in the story. It seems like we’re just thrown into the romantic and ghostly storylines without enough context - I didn’t really feel the heat between the characters at first. I also wish there had been more of a creepy element throughout the entire book. The first half is really a romance novel, whereas things gets creepy and dark in the last half. I wish that had been more spread out because once things got exciting, I was really sucked in.

I did enjoy the story once i got into it, and I did find myself rooting for William and Madeline to end up together. It just took a little bit to get there. I think with some more work, this could be a great book for fans of supernatural mysteries and romances.
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I loved it. I was hooked from page one, great characters. I was on a wild adventure. What a mystery. I love stories like this
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THE HAUNTING OF WILLIAM GRAY is a story that has many classic featured and is well-constructed much like the historic mansion where much of the action occurs.  It has hints of ‘The Ghost and Mrs Muir’ and ‘Rebecca’ and is written with a palpable sense of place such that you can almost smell the sea air.  The story centers on a peculiar love triangle of sorts between an single mother and graduate student, a pompous wealthy heir with a ton of emotional baggage, and a ghost that occasionally possesses him—with a history-mystery that needs to be untangled to set everything to rights.

For the three quarters of the story I would suggest that pace is a little sedate and the style more like romance books from a few decades ago than a modern example. Just as I was starting to skim a little the plot took a very dark and dramatic turn, however there was also a plot element that stuck out to at this point as wildly implausible.  To avoid spoilers I can’t say much more than that, but for those of you who might otherwise lose interest a plot twist is coming!

I think a slightly stronger editorial hand could have made this a 5/5 book where the plot advanced at a more interest pace without sacrificing believability. The theme of a size 10-12 woman being wildly insecure about her weight could also be toned down a little IMHO.  However there is no doubt that this maritime romance is tightly plotted overall and seamlessly blends a supernatural mystery and obstacle strewn love story to arrive at a very satisfying happily-ever-after.

Review copy courtesy of Netgalley
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The Haunting of William Gray was a dazzling and romantic read.  It just kept getting better and better!  It initially reminded of classics like the Ghost and Mrs. Muir...but it quickly moved onto it's own path.  Madeline is working on her thesis, and wants access to the historical, private journals of a long deceased ancestor of William Gray of Pine Island.  Mr. Gray has his own agenda and agrees to let Madeline have access to the journals if she agrees to help him with his own little research project.  Over the course of the book, the author takes us down some fascinating historical roads, tempts us with romantic love scenes and teases us with hints of mystery and the unknown.  There are surprises and unexpected turns....I seriously couldn't put it down!  I kept promising myself "just 10 more minutes", only to ignore that promise again and again.  The narrative switches between Madeline's perspective and William's perspective, and I liked the insights the shifting narrative provided--and I also loved the honest confusion that both of them had about their feelings.  This is a really strong, creative book and I loved it!  I highly recommend it.  Entertaining and captivating.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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