November 21st 2013 ~ 'So Fell the Sparrow' by Katie Jennings.
A skeptic, a ghost hunter, a tech genius, and a medium. Will the spirits win?
After the tragic death of her parents, Dr. Grace Sullivan inherits more than she bargained for. An empty house she’s never heard of, a nosy neighbor, and the restless spirits of a violent, century old murder.
A hard-nosed skeptic, Grace refuses to believe in ghosts despite hearing sounds and seeing things that can’t be explained.
When she unearths antique furniture from the basement, the spirits become agitated and dangerous. Ian Black and Alex Gallagher, a team of ghost hunters, come in to investigate.
Still denying the paranormal events in her home, Grace can’t bring herself to take the ghost hunters or the psychic medium who teams up with them seriously. As Grace struggles with her grief and the feelings she’s developing for headstrong Ian, the disturbing mystery of the house deepens. Now she’ll have to face the unbelievable before the spirits claim her for their own.
I always feel a bit apprehensive before reading a ghost story, and not for the reason you might think. Rather than being worried that I’ll find myself too scared to sleep, I often find myself grumbling at how unaffected I am by the ghostly activities. Despite me being very imaginative it always takes brilliant storytelling and the author being able to really set the scene in a realistic way that makes the fear factor so much higher for me. I had no doubt before reading ‘So Fell the Sparrow’ that Katie Jennings with her fabulous storytelling and brilliant characters, would deliver a fantastic and chill inducing ghost story that would have me quivering in the night, and sleeping with my bedside lamp on.
The heroine of our story is Dr. Grace Sullivan, a character who from the first page is incredibly real. I love flawed and bruised characters as it really helps me as a reader connect with the character’s feelings. Grace’s strict scientific philosophy, completely opposite to Ian’s passionate belief in the paranormal, gave a real contrast in how people view the world, and gives a reminder to readers that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge others beliefs. The tension between Grace and Ian was brilliantly done with their stubborn nature having me both laughing and groaning as I longed to bash their heads together, bless them! Such an amazing couple, with great chemistry. I loved them!
Jackie’s character is one that really interests me. I adored getting glimpses into her background and the problems that having a gift can cause when others don’t understand it. I loved the relationship she had with Alex, and really liked having another girl to keep Grace company. The boys with their ghost busting gear, whilst adorable and nerdy as they were, were a bit too ‘boys with their toys’ for Grace’s liking, so it was great to see how her relationship with Jackie kept her both grounded yet skittish, as Jackie’s ‘gift’ became more real to her. It was a brilliant storyline that saw Grace really develop as a character as she began to struggle between being alone, or having friends that she didn’t connect with spiritually.
The way that Katie Jennings wrote the ghost scenes was spectacular. There were times when reading this book that I couldn’t sleep at night afterwards, which gave me a real thrill that I haven’t experienced since seeing ‘The Woman in Black’ on stage (I did not sleep for a week after seeing that). There was one scene in particular that really struck with me, and that was the prologue, where we see young Sally, a dead girl who cries through the window at her parents when they leave the house and her memory behind. This was the perfect introduction to the story, and had me turning the page to Chapter One without a second thought. All other aspects of the ghost story line were perfect. The story had obviously been very well researched, giving enough information to have us clued up on the technical aspects of ghost hunting without making it an information dump. Having Grace’s less than impressed reaction at the hunting display they made in her basement. The mystery behind which spirits in the house are the most restless and feeding off the fear that they cause was haunting and had me in suspense the whole book.
At risk of giving anything away, I will end with just saying that I cannot recommend this book enough. It is definitely a favourite of mine, and is such a wonderful, intriguing and of course romantic read. Katie Jennings has done it again!