Cover Image: A House of Ghosts

A House of Ghosts

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Member Reviews

This is like..."And Then There Were None" with a sprinkle of supernatural and a dose of's fabulous. 

War time. An isolated island. People gathered together to participate in spiritualist things....what could go wrong?
Sure, there's weapon trading, mediums, family heirlooms, and a soldier under a Dr.'s care.....but....surely this is all a recipe to a calm time....

W.C. Ryan has crafted a victorian spiritualism fiction/mystery that kept me terrified and up all night until it was done. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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"Finalist for the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction Book of the Year, a Classic Cozy Big-House Mystery Haunted by the Specters of World War One - For Readers of Agatha Christie and Simone St. James.

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives. At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, armaments manufacturer Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons, both of whom died at the front.

Among the guests, two have been secretly dispatched from the intelligence service: Kate Cartwright, a friend of the family who lost her beloved brother at the Somme and who, in the realm of the spiritual, has her own special gift; and the mysterious Captain Donovan, recently returned from Europe. Top secret plans for weapons developed by Lord Highmount’s company have turned up in Berlin, and there is reason to believe enemy spies will be in attendance. As the guests arrive, it becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends, they find themselves trapped on the island. Soon one of their number will die. For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one....

An unrelenting, gripping mystery, packed with twists and turns and a kindling of romance, A House of Ghosts is the perfect cold-weather read."

Historical setting, a remote island, spiritualists? Yes, yes, and hell yes!
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**3.5 stars** A House of Ghosts is a paranormal mystery set during the turmoil of World War I. Lord Highmount lost both his sons in battle, and has invited a group of acquaintances to his remote island estate for a seance. Kate Cartwright, works as a codebreaker for the British military, and also happens to have the ability to see ghosts. She is sent to the island by her boss, along with her ex-fiance and a mysterious man called Donovan. Events at the estate quickly turn deadly, and with a storm preventing anyone from leaving it is up to Kate and Donovan to solve the mystery before it's too late.

Despite occasionally stilted writing and a romantic angle that felt a bit forced, this book was an entertaining read. The multi-perspective format with short chapters keeps the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next, and there are a few twists to keep you guessing. A fun, quick read for anyone in a bit of a spooky mood!
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A House of Ghosts is 7 1/2 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle meets Agatha Christie. This murder mystery is set during WWI. Lord Highmount arranges a spiritualist to host a seance at his estate. Of course, his estate can only be accessed by boat (currently the setting is very stormy weather). 

Lord Highmount extends an invitation to several people, including Kate (who works undercover for naval intelligence) and Donovan (a discharged officer of war). Each of Highmount's guests bear an unknown connection to him. Once the seance gets going, the creepiness sets in.

This novel was such a pleasant surprise - this isn't typically my genre of choice. It's not a perfect 5 star for me because the writing was a little formal/stiff at times. But the story itself moved quickly in my opinion. I highly recommend this read!
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Couldn't get into this one, a slow wind up and title implied a ghost story (ala Simone St. James) so a bit misleading.
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Although I stuck with this book more than half way through, I must admit that it was difficult. The plot moved painfully slowly and I found myself wishing something,  anything,  would happen.  I would put it down and immediately forget what the story was about. FYI to horror readers, this really isn't a horror story so beware.
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Thrilling story, great plot and characters that keep you guessing right til the end.  Great for fans of this genre.  Really enjoyable.
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A murder mystery set on a dark snowy island I a house filled with ghosts. There are spies, mediums clairvoyance, secret doorways, and more ghosts. The gathering of people to collect for a seance was supposed to be time talk to the departed soldiers. Their family are wanting to know if they are dead or missing. The seance is filled with revelations that will send a murder finishing his job so he can escape the island.
Drama, slight of hand, and yes, ghosts!
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An impending storm, an island location, a seance, a manor home that was once an abbey, complete with secret passages, and a body provide a mystery that will appeal to fans of Agatha Christie.  Kate Cartwright works for the War Office in 1917.  When top secret weapon plans are found in Berlin, she is sent to Blackwell Abbey along with Captain Donovan to investigate.  The abbey is owned by Lord Highmount, an armaments manufacturer who lost both of his sons in the war.  As old friends of the family, Kate and her parents were invited to attend a seance where Lady Highmount is hoping to contact their sons.  Kate’s own brother is missing and presumed dead, giving her an added incentive to attend.  While Donovan doesn’t believe in communicating with the dead, Kate knows better.  She is able to observe spirits that inhabit the abbey.

Lord Highmount has plans of his own to trap the person responsible for the stolen plans.  His guests include a number of people who knew of or had access to the plans.  When Lady Highmount is attacked and the phones are sabotaged, Kate knows that time is running out.  As the storm rages, the tension mounts to a final confrontation that you will not see coming.  Like Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs and MacNeal’s Maggie Hope, Kate Cartwright is a strong character that you will look forward to seeing again.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for providing this book for review in exchange for an honest review.
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I must admit, this was not the easiest book for me to read. I don't think it is because of the book itself though, it is rather that I had my mind wander off way too easily, so I gave it the star rating it should have instead of how much I enjoyed it - which would probably have been 3 or 4 stars instead of 5, but I think that would not have been fair.

The overal atmosphere in this book was great. There were ghosts and suspence, combined with a typical social structure for the era. Think ghost-whodunnit with a hint of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs. I also think it brought across the horrors of WW1 in a real way, without them becoming too vivid. (As a reference: I got horrid nightmares from 'Nothing New in the West', which I luckily did not get from this book, but the references to the war came over just as real)

The outcome ... was one I could and, I believe, should have expected, but somehow I was put on the wrong path all the time. Which is exactly how I like books like these.
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This was a fun murder mystery! I loved that the setting was WW1. It was a little mix of everything, and I enjoyed that about it.
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This is a gothic cozy mystery set in WWI England. This was an entertaining unique story and I enjoyed it.
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What a delightful book!  An Agatha Christie style mystery with paranormal, espionage, and romance elements- I was thoroughly hooked from the beginning.  Several people with connections to the hosts' family arrive at a private island.  A wild storm traps them all there for several days and s#$% gets real!  The writing was great- the island/castle/weather was as much a character as the alive (and dead) people.  Only 4 stars because I felt the end wrapped up too quickly.  Not quite a throwaway, but it could have unfolded in a more fleshed out way that still made sense and held my attention.  Hopefully more to come- I want to read more about these characters!
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC, I received this book for my honest review so here goes:

I absolutely loved the gothic, eerie atmosphere and found the story to be similar in style to Wendy Web  and Christie Agathas’ work.  Cozy mystery with some paranormal events.
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With England deep into the First World War, the Highmounts, like many other families, are reeling from the loss of their two sons. Wishing to hear from them one more time, Lord & Lady Highmount have invited a specially selected group of people to their isolated island off the coast of Devon for a unique gathering. Their home, Blackwater Abbey is unlike any place you have been before. The estate is known to be haunted by ghosts from long ago, a setting perfect for the weekend's planned seances. Kate Cartwright, a long time friend of the family has been convinced to accept her invitation to attend by her boss in the intelligence service. Accompanying her will be another member of the military, undercover as a manservant. Plans for top secret weapons designed by Lord Highmount's company have fallen into the German's hands and Kate's boss believes that the guilty party will be in attendance this weekend. Kate and Donovan have been tasked to figure out who has betrayed their country. The mediums the Highmounts have hired for the seance aren't the only ones that are able to contact the spirit world. Kate has a secret gift of her own, one that will come in handy as she attempts to solve the mysteries that Blackwater holds within its walls. W.C. Ryan has written an absolute page-turner! A murder-mystery at its core, "A House of Ghosts", is told from multi-POVs so the reader doesn't miss a beat of what is happening while the living are stranded for the weekend in the company of the dead. Be sure to pick up a copy when this book is released on October 1, 2019. A must read for all suspense/mystery fans! A big thanks to Netgalley and Arcade for an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC of A House Of Ghosts! 
I’ve just recently learned in the past few months that I am a sucker for books in this genre, so of course I had to read this. While Ryan weaves a world all his own and brings his characters to life in his own way, I still felt as if I was reading things from a mashup of different authors (which may be my fault for reading so many different books of this genre back to back then starting this one). However, I did enjoy the book. It was worth the read and enjoyable.
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This was an interesting mashup of genres: Gothic meets cozy mystery meets spy thriller. It sounds convoluted, but Ryan actually meshed all these things well to create an interesting story. 

Despite employing loads of gothic tropes, the book is low on the creepiness factor and is more of a cozy mystery in tone and structure. 

The “spy” element feels a bit separate from the other plot threads. It was a little tough to reconcile WWI espionage with a bunch of benevolent but occupying ghosts, but the pieces eventually come together in a fairly satisfactory manor. 

I didn’t love the solve and felt that the book could have used more atmosphere (particularly that which employs the Creepy Old House element of the story), but its an entertaining read and certainly a unique blending of genres in a way that worked better than one might expect.
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I am not a fan of historical mysteries. Or ghost mysteries. Or anything to do with WWI really. All of which are part of A House of Ghosts. And I loved it. Reminiscent of the best of Agatha Christie, but fresh. One of the main characters is a strong, modern female; but modern for her time, not modern for ours, an anachronism that too many authors today seem to fall prey to. There are ghosts and spies and ghosts and above stairs and below stairs. With a satisfying mystery to boot. All in all, a delightful read. Call it 4.5 stars.
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Winter 1917. The middle of World War I. A group of people show up at an isolated mansion to take part in a seance intended to contact their dead relatives, many of whom are presumed dead from the war. But soon people are being attacked and someone winds up dead. Are the many spirits who inhabit the mansion to blame? Or is the real culprit composed of flesh and blood? 

I loved this book! It's a good, old-fashioned, slow-burn murder mystery / ghost story. I say slow-burn not to imply that the story moves slowly, but that the author deftly increase the sense of dread a bit at a time. Not with big scares, but with a steady undercurrent of creepiness, until you start to feel as if you're trapped on the island with the characters in the book. I'm not a big fan of historical fiction but this book pulled me right in and I could not put it down. The ghosts in this book are characters unto themselves, and presented in a way I've not seen done before. Typically, in novels, ghosts are either presented as scary or trying to help. In this book, however, the ghosts are neither. Most are simply curious, observing the living and inexplicably drawn to scenes of tension and violence. But their presence in the background of many of the scenes is effective and VERY creepy!

An added bonus: There was no sex, extreme violence, or even cursing (not enough that I noticed, at least). That's practically unheard of in contemporary, mainstream fiction, and it was a breath of fresh air for readers like myself who are sick of writers packing their books full of rubbish because they think "that's what sells." The author is such a good writer that he doesn't have to rely on any of those tired old tropes just to make sales. I wasn't familiar with any of W.C. Ryan's other works prior to reading A House of Ghosts, but I was very impressed with his writing and would absolutely read more books by him in the future. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my advanced copy!
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Creepy, atmospheric A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan is the perfect book for fans of historical fiction with a supernatural element.

Here’s what you need to know:

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.
At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die. For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . . 
An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read next winter.

This crime story appealed to me right away because I always love the idea of a remote setting with a group of people, one of which may or may not be a killer, kind of like an Agatha Christie type scenario.

I enjoy historical crime drama and I think you will too!

Due out on October 4.
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