Friday, 9 August 2013

Book: Moragh Holly's Ghost by Maggie Tideswell

I received a copy of Moragh Holly's Ghost from the author in exchange for my review.

Holly's ex-husband, Donald, won't let her see her two children, and so her friends come up with a plan to find her a husband; an advert in the paper. Unbeknownst to them, Joshua Jordan, a well known wine proprietor wants to scare his fiance into marriage by making himself unavailable and calls Holly. As his proposal is accepted, Holly starts being visited by Moragh, a beautiful ghost desperate to have her story told. When the wedding rolls around both Joshua and Holly are shocked by the sudden attraction they feel towards each other, and it quickly becomes apparent that the line between their marriage and their motives, along with their feelings, starts to blur. Unfortunately, Donald's second wife, Gwen, casts enchantments above her ability and puts dark forces into play that Holly and Joshua can't avoid. As a journalist Holly is used to digging up the truth, but can she find out enough to put Moragh's ghost to rest and to be able to have a happy life?

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I am actually surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. Not only because ghosts and modern day witches aren't what I normally read about, but because to begin with I found that it was quite difficult to get into and to get going (though this could have been because of the mood I was in at the time maybe). On top of this the style seemed to suggest that the characters may not be developed as well as possible. I am pleased to say that I have been proved wrong on both those accounts.

The writing was good, full of suspense and tension, and I thought that Tideswell managed to portray the haunting well, and in a way that didn't make it seem over the top, it felt like it could happen. She also managed to write in a way that made the owls seem really supernatural, and ultimately a bit creepy, without them seeming to act too much out of character (for owls that is!)

Anyone who is expecting a cushy love story are in for a bit of a shock, and I will tell you now; this is not the book for you. There are definitely dark and sinister undertones to this book, particularly those related to abuse, murder and torture. Probably slightly less sinister is the use of Black Magic, though this is only one character.

I didn't find that the use of witchcraft or magic was out of place in the book, Holly didn't believe in the power of all of it (though her roommates and Gwen all did, as well as Holly's sister, Heather). Though ultimately, the way that Tideswell wrought her story, it would be possible for the plot to move along whether or not you believed that the characters were using real magic or not. In complete contrast, the ghost, Moragh, was definitely real in the novel setting, and it is impossible to ignore her as a reader or as a character.

Personally I loved the partnership of Joshua and Holly, their relationship felt like it moved at the right pace (well other than getting married without actually meeting), and their love seemed to grow from that, in the world of fiction I would say that they were what could easily be called soulmates. Saying that there were some moments where I wasn't sure about whether their relationship would survive. As the main part of their original relationship was based on physical attraction, sex is mentioned frequently, though it is never explicitly described (so you shouldn't let it put you off).

There were a couple of twists in the book, two of which I had more or less worked out before they were revealed but one was a complete shocker (incidentally it was the last one), though I wasn't too sure what that revelation actually added to the story, but I wouldn't say that it really mattered.

I would say that this is well worth the time to get into, I enjoyed it once I got going and the suspense really kept me turning pages!

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