Monday, June 23, 2014
Author: Clare Ritchie
Published: February 18, 2014
Pages: 188 e-book
Rating by Katie: 3 out of 5 stars
Received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Clare contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reading her book. She then told me she was fifteen. I was shocked. There are very few authors published at the age of fifteen. There are very few published authors under the age of twenty, as a matter of fact. I will have to start this review by apologizing to Clare. I am sorry Clare that I was skeptical about your book. Having talked to you a few times, I knew you were a very mature teenager. I believed that only an adult, someone with a ton of life experience, could ever write anything that I would enjoy. I doubted you because of your age. I was ignorant.... I can't believe I did that. Age has nothing to do with being a writer.... imagination is what matters. You, Clare, have a great imagination. I was so amazed that you had a publisher. When she told me "I will get my publisher to email me the copy and I will forward it to you"....you should have seen my face. My husband was sitting next to me and saw it all.
"What is wrong?"
"Clare is fifteen and she has a publisher.... it's amazing!"
"wow, that is amazing."
Dear, you have something that most of us "adults" dream of... I am proud to say that you allowed me to review your work. Anything you write, published or not, will be something I will want to read.
In this story we start out with Ann. Ann's story is the fist half of this book. She is headed to Fitz Hall, a large estate, with her younger sister, Bella, to start working as a scullery maid. Ann and Bella's family died, and they are the only two left. As they begin their work, they meet new friends and even begin to realize that there is something strange going on inside of Fitz Hall. The master's son, Charles, is up to something and soon he is coercing Ann into helping him.
I enjoyed each of the characters that Clare created. Ann, Bella, Lizzie and Zac are so loveable. Clare has a great ability in creating villains and suspense. Wow! I mean, wow.... I really had a hard time reading this book at night. Clare does a wonderful job in describing scenes and I felt as if I was standing in the middle of all these rooms watching everything unfold. Talk about being jittery... You have death, ghosts, and secrets. I just loved it.
Then I was surprised, again! Ann's story isn't the only one that is told. You have Rose's story now. Many years into the future, Rose's family is moving into the old Fitz Hall Estate. The home was passed to them from her grandfather. I was so excited to see what Rose had to say. The first several nights, sleeping alone in her room, were fine. On a rainy night, however, the house decides to come alive. Red glowing eyes, scraping, clawing and dragging. OH! MY! GOSH! Did I mention that I had a hard time reading this at night?? The suspense was so. much. fun! I believe this part of the book was my favorite. Clare did so well making everything feel real for me. When I can read a book, that has ghosts, and get the jitters.... then you are doing it right!
Clare did a marvelous job. This being the first book you published, you did wonderful. I loved the beginning, I loved the middle, and I loved the end. Just a great read and anyone can enjoy this. I wonder what other work you have written and have yet to publish?... Hmmm?
There were of course a few things I feel the need to mention.There were small grammatical errors as well as a few words missing. It was not enough to hinder my enjoyment of this book.
I would have loved to know the time period that Ann's story took place. I do not remember seeing anything indicating this. I hope it is there and I just missed it.
Clare's age sometimes shows up in her writing. This is NOT a bad thing. I actually enjoyed it. You have teenagers that are the main characters. Who else to write about a teenager- their feelings, their reactions, their thoughts- than a teenager?
Clare Ritchie, you have a wonderful and bright future ahead of you. If you can do this at the age of fifteen, just think of the possibilities that lay ahead. Thank you for allowing me to read and review your book. I enjoyed every minute of your story. I hope that you will allow me to review any future books that you write. :)
****Update: Clare contacted me and let me know that the grammatical errors have already been fixed.