Alice M. Batzel
Published Playwright, Journalist, Freelance Writer 

               Alice M. Batzel  

        Published  Playwright, Journalist


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REVIEW




TITLE:             THE HAUNTING OF SPRINGETT HALL



AUTHOR:         E.B. WHEELER




PUBLISHER:        SWEETWATER BOOKS, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.


PUBLISHED:       July 2015


                               ISBN 13: 978-1-4621-1672-0



GENRE:                 Fiction, Young Adult, Victorian Supernatural Mystery


FORMAT:             Paperback (239 pages)




BOOK JACKET:

I gasped and jerked my hand back, staring at it. Through it, really. Even when I covered my eyes, I could see the furniture on the other side of the room: a grandfather clock with its hands stopped, a mahogany side table and sofa, and a portrait draped in black.


Someone had died.


I turned my translucent hand back and forth. Yes. Someone had.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Eighteen-year-old Lucy can’t remember how she became a ghost, but the more she discovers about her past, the more she wants to forget. With the help of a servant named Philip, the only living person who can see her, Lucy must find a way to erase the mistakes of her former life before it’s too late.


This haunting, romantic mystery takes you back in time to Victorian England. Filled with suspenseful scenes and thrilling twists – it’s an impossible romance you won’t be able to put down.



MY REVIEW:    4 STARS (out of 5)



REVIEW TITLE:

A CAPTIVATING AND SUSPENSEFUL PERIOD MYSTERY THAT TRANSFORMS THE READER INTO “WATCHFUL WITNESS”.



REVIEW CONTENT:

As I read THE HAUNTING OF SPRINGETT HALL, I found myself digging up anxious inner feelings that had long been dormant since I was a teenager racing home from school to watch the next episode of Dark Shadows on television. I was hooked then, and this book had the same effect on me now, many, many years later. I was surprised. I usually avoid reading anything of the supernatural or paranormal genre, but somehow this book reached out to me. How? The visual image on the cover intrigued me as if an invitation, even though I tried to avoid it. I don’t like being scared. Not. Ever. But the book jacket led me to believe that I could handle this much suspense, and I considered it to be a dare. Also, discovering that this book is the first published novel for Author E.B. Wheeler was interesting to me. She looked to be a wholesome young woman with sparkling blue eyes and an inviting smile. Surely her creative work would not keep me up at night imagining monsters were lurking under my bed, in my closet, or creeping up my stairs. That confidence resulted in the book purchase. However, the reading journey was emotionally charged propelling me until I turned the final page.


Eighteen-year-old Lucy Tregarrick is a new ghost, and she bumbles her way into learning how to be a ghost and developing a rather ingenious ghostly skill set as she discovers her former self, her current ghostly status, and her mission to set things straight. Aided by the assistant gamekeeper, Philip Ketley, she finds the keys to her past and his as well. A small cast of colorful parlor maids and kitchen help, a staunch Butler, a self-imposing footman, a family that has newly inherited the Springett Hall mansion and estate, and the foreboding haunting presence of the former owner’s spirit collectively tell the story in vivid fashion. Author E.B. Wheeler skillfully plots the journey to solve the mystery of Lucy’s death and how it links to the other characters. The question of who the rightful owner is to Springett Hall takes a bit of a twist and turn, and I loved that. What mysterious horrible event had happened at Springett Hall was a darker mystery than I had bargained for when I purchased the book, but the story kept me intrigued, and I carefully kept reading, wanting to know the answer.


Oh. My. Word. Several times I jumped and even gasped. E.B. Wheeler is a storyteller for sure. She knows how to get a reader’s attention and hold it. She knows how to make you stay awake at night. She turned this reader into a “watchful witness” as the story eerily moved forward. Her skillful use of words paints an unmistakable haunting lifelike nature to the very structure of tapestry threads, brick, mortar, wood, and plaster. At times, I felt a bit short of breath and thought I could smell gas from the problematic gas lights of the mansion. And let me just say that her skillful pen heightened my personal fear of rodents. In contrast, her descriptive poetic talent for painting a picture of the exterior grounds provided the reader with all the imaginings of a welcomed Shangri-La convincing the reader that love and romance were very real between young Lucy and Philip.


As a reviewer, I want to safeguard the journey of the mystery for all forthcoming readers. I will say that THE HAUNTING OF SPRINGETT HALL is written in a contemporary fashion yet preserves all the intrigue of the Victorian era. The suspense is palpable. The mystery is logical yet mystical. The supernatural and paranormal is undeniable. As I said before, I hate to be scared and do not want to be scared. Not. Ever. I remain of that conviction. But for readers who like this type of suspense, it has all of the elements of that genre without an overkill of any of it. I don’t like black magic, spirit possessions, altars, potions or spells, but this is the genre for that, and it has not gone to the level of horror classification. E.B. Wheeler spins her tale skillfully.


Setting my personal preferences aside, I feel this book is undoubtedly well-written. It is deserving of two prestigious nods that it received in the literary arena during the year of its release: recipient of the 2015 Gold Quill Award from the League of Utah Writers for best Young Adult Fiction, and a nomination for the 2015 Whitney Award from LDStorymakers for an outstanding novel in Suspense. Author, E.B. Wheeler is one to follow as she continues her path to further publication. She has a new book, BORN TO TREASON, which will be coming out in May 2016.




Reviewed by:

Alice M. Batzel

Published Playwright, Journalist, and Freelance Writer

www.alicembatzel.com

Writer@alicembatzel.com

www.facebook.com/alice.batzel


Review Posted 1/21/2016 on:

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Review Posted 1/25/2016 on:

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