Cover Image: A House of Ghosts

A House of Ghosts

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Title: A House Of Ghosts

Author: W.C.Ryan

Pages: 432

Genre:Historical mystery

Oct 1,2019

Shortlisted for the Irish Book Award, 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. 

My thoughts:


Would I recommend it?Yes

Would I read anything else by this author? Yes

Dark and spooky with a gothic feel  to it even though the story takes place in 1917, because there is something about the  atmosphere of the story that gives you goosebumps and make you want to stay up all night and read, it's a historical mystery with a touch the paranormal . As for the setting of the story there would be no way in the world would I go there and stay , and it's because of that as well as how atmosphere of the story kept pulled.into the story as well as the different characters you meet.So if you love a story that is dark, and spooky as well as gloomy with a touch of the paranormal ,and characters who are not what they seem to be then check this one out .With that said I would like to thank Netgalley for letting me read and review it exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
A quick read with an interesting twist that took me a bit by surprise.  Overall, a good read - a bit contrived in a few spots.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced reader copy. I took a risk this book and it wasn’t really for me. I do think it was well written.
Was this review helpful?
Oh, how I just adore books like this! The author gives us a lush mystery/thriller with the paranormal and historical aspects that makes for a brilliant read.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a good mix of mystery and history for me. Not too much of either, with a decent character development and setting. 
The book would be just about perfect for me, if not for the hints of "And Then There Were None" by Christie. Maybe I read the two books too closely together, but in some areas it felt like this was relying on And Then ... For development and to progress the story. Still, i did enjoy this story and will suggest & recommend it to others. Will probably check out other books by the author as well.
A very solid 3 stars for me, if not 3.5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
I was pretty excited to get a chance to read this book as I've always loved a good ghost story, and this book seemed like it was going to be chalked full of them. I really wanted to give it somewhere between 3.5 and 3.75 but it didn't give me the option so I gave it a 4 as it was almost to that point anyway. I loved the characters of Donovan and Kate. I'm a true romantic at heart and I was very happy to see their growing affection for one another. Both characters were well written, but I did wish I could see some more feeling between the two as they were both very standoffish most of the time. I did really like how Kate's character was also able to see the ghosts that were there in the house and on the island and how Donovan excepted it so easily that she could; not getting angry or disbelieving her. I felt that Lord and Lady Highmount were a bit flat with their characterizations though. I think there could have been a stronger presence from the two of them, especially since Lord Highmount was the one that had called for the attendance of all those that were there at Blackwater Abbey. They were too much behind the scenes instead of actually in the story.

I was a bit disappointed for the first few chapters; granted, they are very small chapters, but it was hard to keep my attention on the book. I'm all for building up to the action of the story, however, this one seemed to take quite a while to get to that point. One of my biggest disappointments is that the ghosts didn't do anything! They were just there, wandering around the place. I was expecting them to cause trouble in some way instead of just BEING there. I know that they were just lost spirits and not poltergeists, but a lot of my excitement for the book was because of those ghosts. I thought there was so much more that could have gone on with them.  

It did take me until the middle of the 17th chapter before my interest started to pique (remember, small chapters) as this is where the first of the action had started. From there it did do a better job at keeping my interest as I really wanted to know who was the cause of all the chaos that was happening around them. By the end of the story, I did think that it was a good read, but I did expect more from it and I believe it had the potential to be a great story.
Was this review helpful?
Characters are interesting. Set in World War I England - setting has great potential to be creepy. Many ghosts and hauntings- a family invites friends for a spiritual weekend to contact fallen soldiers. 
Kept my interest but I feel like so much lost potential.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book.  It felt like an Agatha Christie book, in that you had many people together in one big house and everyone potentially has a motive.  I also enjoyed that the ending was a bit of a surprise - not what I expected at least.  I liked the way that they chose to treat the paranormal elements.  I found it to be original and different from any other ghost book Ive previously read.  The one thing that I was disappointed by (SPOILER) was the fact that they never addressed the issue of someone helping the ghosts to move on.  That was mentioned multiple times in the book and that sort of just dropped off at the end.  But otherwise, I thought it was a great read - nice pacing, and less cliche than you usually expect with a book with a title like "A House of Ghosts."
Was this review helpful?
I had more hopes for this book. The story and cover seemed promising but the plot was a bit unoriginal for my tastes.
Was this review helpful?
This was a fun combination of a ghost story, an English country house must mystery and a spy story set in 1917. Very enjoyable!
Was this review helpful?
I didn't read much of the blurb. I heard a few people talking about this book and then I saw the cover and was all over it. I was hoping for something like "We have always lived in the castle" / "The Others"....I heard that there was supposed to be murder and ghosts. Unfortunately (for me) had I known it was set in 1917 I probably would have passed on this. I am not a big fan of the historical genre. There are a few books that sometimes surprise me in this genre but this wasn't one of them, It took too long for anything to more than 1/2 the book before the crime happens and the ghosts weren't really the main "focus" of this book, like you think they would be from the title. 

Overall, I was a bit disappointed in this title.
Was this review helpful?
There is definitely an Agatha Christie vibe to this one. I thought it was fun--a little old-fashioned, but in a way that seemed appropriate to the time period. 

An old abbey converted centuries ago to a family home; a winter storm that cuts the inhabitants off from help; seances, spiritualists, and espionage. :)

Read in June. Blog review scheduled for Sept. 18, 2019.

NetGalley/Skyhorse Publishing
Historical Mystery. Oct. 1, 2019. Print length: 384 pages
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for the eARC.
Set in the winter of 1917 during WWI, this is an old-fashioned ghost story with two mediums, a manor house full of guests (on a secluded island trapped during a snowstorm) and two highly likeable protagonists. It reminded me of Agatha Christie and other Golden Age mystery writers, books I devoured in my youth.
Both Donovan and Kate are sent there by the British Government, but the other guests are there for the seances provided by the mediums.  Everyone has lost loved ones to the war and is desperate to contact them.  But there is a sinister presence  hidden away on the island and someone ends up dead.  Unfortunately due to the severe weather, no one can leave and it's up to Kate and Donovan to solve the mystery. If that's not enough, there are many ghosts in the house, becoming more visible by the day...
I enjoyed the read, especially the atmosphere created by the story, so reminiscent of reading into the middle of the night, hoping my parents didn't notice.  The ending (on a nice romantic note) made  me believe there may be a next book, which would be a treat!
Was this review helpful?
I love ghost stories and this felt like an old favorite!
It would be perfect to curl up with on a dark rainy day!
I enjoyed the story and hope there’s more with Kate and Donovan!  Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy
Was this review helpful?
Extremely entertaining and clearly written. The start is a bit slow but begins to pick up. It would have helped if the beginning had not started out so slowly.
Was this review helpful?
Reminded me of “An Then There Were None” with a historical twist.  WWI is raging and a group of friends and acquaintances convene at a secluded mansion on an island off the Irish coast.  All have lost someone to the war and want to reach them in the afterlife.  The party is joined by 2 well know mediums with the intention of conducting seance to ease the pain of the bereaved.  

What results is a relentless snowstorm that holds the inhabitants prisoner and a madman within their midst.  Is the assailant real.... or an angry ghost that has come for revenge?? 

Highly entertaining with a fast-paced plot and captivating setting.  You’ll feel the claustrophobia as if you were stuck on the island, too!

Nice twist at the end, also.  The conclusion leads me to believe there will be a sequel.  

4 stars!  ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Thank you, #Netgalley
Was this review helpful?
Grab some popcorn, find a roaring fire, and settle in for an entertaining read! Set during the time of WWI, this is a cozy gothic mystery that takes place in a sprawling mansion inhabited by ghosts. This whodunit reminiscent of Agatha Christie (and maybe even Clue: Was it Miss Scarlet in the library with the wrench?) ties together elements of espionage, romance, and the paranormal while mostly keeping the reader guessing until the very end. If there's anything to quibble about, it is the rather large cast of characters that is--at least initially--challenging to keep track of and the length of the book that turns into a bit of a commitment. Overall, an enjoyable, fun novel that would make for a great weekend read.
Was this review helpful?
Full Disclosure: I was given a advance reader copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

If you like the idea of Downton Abbey meets And Then There Were None with a little bit of Ghost thrown in, then this is the book for you. Set in WW1 this book sees our ensemble cast (all with something to hide) stranded together on the remote island of a wealthy munitions maker. While many of those on the island aren't what they appear, only one is out to kill. The guests are lured there with the intention of speaking with the spirits of their loved one who have been lost in the ongoing Great War. Who has true sight for the paranormal and who is a charlatan will have you guessing until the end of the book. A House of Ghosts also touches on loss and the guilt and sadness that remains after a loved one passes. The ghosts featured in the book are believable and a well written plot device that draws the reader more deeply into the story. In climax of the book I was actually on the edge of my seat. The ending sets up a potential sequel; I would love a sequel to this book. 

This read was a blast, and had me picturing a wonderfully spooky island with a mansion, secret passages, crypts, lighthouses and more. I couldn't put this book down and finished it in a couple days. Awesome read.
Was this review helpful?
This murder mystery set in a haunted house on an isolated island takes place during WWI. That one sentence contains pretty well all my favourite elements so I had high hopes for this book. It did not disappoint and in fact far exceeded my high expectations. The setting is absolute perfection. Creepy, remote and chock full of history. There is a paranormal element to the story as spiritualists and seances were all the rage at the time as families tried to contact their dead loved ones who had perished in the war. I found that this aspect was very well done and I truly felt the pain and anguish of those left behind. Imagine the surprise of a fraudulent spiritualist when an actual ghost answers their call! The mystery was suspenseful and surprising and I did not figure it out until the culprit was revealed.

I completely loved the main characters, Kate and Donovan. Their relationship starts with some resistance on both sides as they are assigned to work together as spies but things get a bit flirty and it grows into more through the story. Their budding romance was one of the most satisfying parts, and I’m not generally into romance at all. I think it was the banter of two strong, clever characters, evenly matched and both slightly cantankerous that got to me. I’m very pleased that the ending suggests the possibility of more cases for this duo and I sincerely hope this becomes a long series because I want more!

Thank you to Skyhorse Publishing for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
Was this review helpful?
HOUSE OF GHOSTS is an utterly engrossing manor-house-on-an-island-in-a-snowstorm mystery, so wonderfully reminiscent of the Golden Age of Mystery. Set on an island off the Devon, England, coast, in a haunted former abbey, in Winter 1917, with Great Britain still in the throes of World War I, a feisty heroine who sees spirits teams with an Irishman, an officer in the British forces, on a weekend house party, where everybody has secrets, even the ghosts; and someone among them is not above stooping to murder...
Was this review helpful?