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4.2 out of 5 stars367
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on 10 October 2013
I was gripped by The Ghost House from the absolute beginning when Annie Graham began exploring the old mansion in Abbey Woods where her brother was the caretaker.

She found far more than she bargained for though, when a ghostly voice scared the living daylights out of her. She escaped back to her brother's house, determined never to set foot in the eerie old house again when she remembered grabbing an old leather bound book that she had been flicking through and stuffing it into her bag before she ran out.

She found it and realised that she had taken a journal which had been written by a housemaid, Alice Hughes, who had lived more than a hundred years previously in the manor house in the woods.

The story then flashes back between the late 19th century and the present day, with the diary of Alice, helping illustrate the story of the house in Abbey Woods and it's inhabitants, which holds the most terrible and gruesome secrets.

Whilst Annie is delving into the secrets of the mansion that she feels inexplicably drawn to, a young girl has disappeared in their town, and the police fear that time is running out to find her safe and well. As the death toll rises, they realise they are dealing with a serial killer who is very much on the loose, and he seems to have his sights set on Annie to be his spectacular finale.

The Ghost House is an incredibly gripping tale, full of spine chilling mystery and suspense (and a lovely romance!)

I absolutely loved to read Alice's tale and the flashbacks of the 19th century, as harrowing and heartbreaking as the were, and felt her fear and heartbreak as though it were a true story.

The police aspect seemed for me, extremely true to life and well researched, and the murders were as gruesome and chilling as you would expect in a book about a serial killer, although for me, not too awful to deter me at all, even though the ghost story at times left me peering round doors when I was alone.
Having said that, it took me less than twelve hours to complete as I really couldn't put it down.

I found the conclusion spectacular and it ended exactly how I would have liked. I loved the kick ass heroine, Annie, definitely not a simpering female and I enjoyed watching Will's character change around her!

To sum it up, The Ghost House is the most exciting book I have read in a very long time, and would make an absolutely perfect Halloween read!
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on 6 October 2013
I don't normally read books with supernatural elements but this one is fabulous. Past and present interweave and all the characters are well portrayed. I haven't read Catherine Cookson, but her name kept popping into my mind as I read the story from the past. From the beginning I was hooked, the pace was fast and it was full of suspense. I really recommend this. I read it in two sittings and am already looking forward to Helen's next book.
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on 16 February 2014
This book was recommended for a book club meeting and as such is not one I would normally go for (the point of book clubs I guess!). The basis of the storyline is ok, but if I'm honest could really have done without the ghost element. A story about Annie, her ex, Henry, Jake and Will would have made a more tangible story, and would have been good - the diary writing from Alice's point of view was poor, not well written at all: it felt like a stab at historic writing rather than researched. Putting the word "for" in repeatedly does not make historic writing...(I scrubbed the floor, for that is my job, I went to bed, for I was tired, I ate breakfast for I was hungry...) it was just irritating. There were also some silly unrealistic decisions made by the heroine which actually removed tension rather than created it (told to stay in and lock all the doors by the police, a murderer being on her doorstep, she thought she saw a ghost so took the dog out for a walk.....wtf?!) I read it for the book club, but is probably not a book I would recommend to others.
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on 3 October 2013
I am not normally a reader as i get very easily lost and confused, but this book converted me. The story was gripping and made me want to keep reading to see what happened next. It is well written and easy to keep track of who's who etc. I would definitely recommend it. I look forward to reading more by Helen Phifer :)
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on 2 October 2013
I read this book in a couple of hours. I could not put it down a MUST read
Brilliantly written
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on 24 April 2015
Telephones and linked exchanges in 1887? Yes they had been invented but not yet installed in country households! An unimaginative, poorly researched and formulaic novel for the masses. I bought it on the good scores and cheap special price...that's a few hours of my life lost, because I persevered to the end.
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on 27 July 2014
The first thing to say about this novel is that I love the cover. It really does lead you into the book and you're immediately longing to know what's through those gates, while at the same time being a little afraid of what you'll find.
This is Helen's debut novel and a gripping read it is, too. I honestly couldn't put it down, desperate to know what was going to happen next.
Police officer Annie Graham is not your typical heroine. She's recovering from a very nasty injury and has been wounded both physically and emotionally at the start of this book. Recovering at her brother's house while he is away, she becomes embroiled in a mystery surrounding the old house that he is caretaker of and, at the same time, finds herself in the middle of a missing person investigation that rapidly becomes more sinister. With ghosts, two serial killers and a medium bearing messages of warning, it's lucky for Annie that she has such good friends who are willing to look out for her. A budding romance with one of her colleagues brings some respite from the tension, although both Annie and her new love are in increasing danger.
As past and present collide, a horrific revelation and a gruesome discovery leads to a terrifying confrontation and a life-or-death struggle.
I honestly loved the story and thought it merited five stars, but the editing really let it down. If you are looking for a real page-turner and can overlook the punctuation errors and the annoying TM signs then I'd say go for it. Put it this way, I will be reading the sequel because, although the author has been let down here, she can certainly tell a gripping yarn!
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on 3 September 2014
Thought I would read this novel as I too originate from Barrow in Furness unfortunately this is one of the most badly written novels I have ever read. Most teenagers could string together better sentences. Sorry it was most disappointing. Amateurish, with a poor storyline,
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on 14 September 2014
I wish I had read the reviews properly before I purchased this book on Kindle. Lesson learnt - always download a sample first. I only managed to read a few pages. The writing style is poor - it felt like I was reading a child's attempt at a ghost story. The story seemed to start in the middle with no build up, no character introduction and a page or two in I read the phrase "The house was amazing" which really shows this authors inability to write. I shall not be wasting any more time on this book. Would give it zero stars if I could.
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on 2 March 2014
This book is not sure what it's supposed to be ... a thriller ? A romance ? Supernatural murder mystery ? The writing is very poor in places, the grammar terrible - it obviously wasn't edited closely. That said, it kept me reading to the end. If you want a quick, non-challenging book to escape into for a few hours, and you can ignore the character flaws and odd editorial slips, then this is an easy read.
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