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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
We all dream about what we might do should we win the big lottery. Claire Bennett, a bank clerk, won it big time and she didn’t have to think twice about what she wanted to do with her winnings. She left her job and headed for warmer climates, to what she perceived as an idyllic island where her dream home awaited. Only, this dream home was a century-old ruin and it was haunted. Her Aunt Clarissa did warn Claire, but she had her mind set on spending her fortune restoring the manor and living her days in the house of her dreams. But the ghosts had another idea, one which threatened Claire’s safety, her life, and the lives of those brave enough to work at restoring the haunted ruins.
Isobel Blackthorn’s novel, Clarissa’s Warning, is a charming, cozy mystery, with an added supernatural element of ghostly splendor. The story is told in the first-person from Claire’s perspective. Mostly written in narrative, with a few passages of dialogue, the story reads like a journal. It reads well, and the plot develops with a fascinating combination of mystery, folklore, ghosts, and, yes, romance. The characters are well developed – even the characters of the ghosts. The author has a knack of descriptive narrative, describing the setting with a skill on par with some of the great English writers. The plot appears simple enough, but the rising tension keeps the reader focused right to the end. The novel could easily be compared to Catherine Cookson/ Agatha Christie and pursues a clever, down-to-earth intensity. I really enjoyed this story.