Echoes of Time -The Guernsey Novels Book 5 – Anne Allen – 5* Review

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Blurb - Coastal

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years…
1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey.
All too soon Olive realises she’s made a mistake.
Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer-
but there’s a price to pay. . .
2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own…
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive.
Thrown together in a bid to find out what really happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on?

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My Review - Coastal

Echoes of Time (The Guernsey Novels Book 5)

 

All the ‘Guernsey Novels’ are defined by their memorable characters, vivid setting and intriguing plots, ‘Echoes of Time’, has all of these qualities and something extra that makes it a gripping and worthwhile read.
The cross over and parallels between Guernsey’s past and present are explored in greater detail in this story and Natalie, who returns to the island after a traumatic incident, experiences life in war torn Guernsey, in a most disturbing way. Escaping her past Natalie witnesses a woman’s life with a startling similarity to her own, is her subconscious playing tricks on her or is what she dreams and experiences real? The mystery enfolds in 2010 with flashbacks and time slip to occupied Guernsey in World War Two. The historical element is well researched and often anecdotal and blends with the present in a believable, easy to read way.
Characters’ flaws make them authentic and human. Natalie finds friendship when she most needs it but will become something more and is she brave enough to let it?
A poignant, well written tale, set on a beautiful island, perfect for holiday reading and anytime you want to escape.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

Echoes of Time by Anne Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Echoes of Time (The Guernsey Novels Book 5) by Anne Allen

Anne Allen

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A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love – 5* Review – Linn B Halton

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Life isn’t all love and cupcakes …

Katie has had her fair share of bad luck, but when she finally realises her dream of opening a bakery it seems things can only get better.

But the reality of running a business hits Katie hard and whilst her partner, Steve, tries to help she begins to sense that the situation is driving them further apart. Could Katie be set to lose her relationship and her dream job?

Then, one winter’s day, a man walks into her shop – and, in the space of that moment, the course of Katie’s life is changed.

But nobody finds happiness in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it takes two Christmases, three birthdays and a whole lot of cake to get there …

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A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love

One of the best things about reading fiction for me is the chance to experience another world, walk in someone else’s shoes for a while. Sometimes this is romantic experience, sometimes it is angst ridden, with this author’s stories by the time you reach the end you always have that ‘feel good’ feeling that sets you up for the day ahead.
Katie and Adam are wonderful characters, not perfect but willing to go the extra mile for people they care about, even if it means putting their wants and needs on hold. Serendipity plays an important role in this story and if we’re honest most of us acknowledge our own lives are touched in similar ways at certain times.
Grace is at the end of her life but she still puts her grandson Adam first. She worries that he only living half a life and hopes to remain on earth long enough to help him. She, as do the other characters in this flowing, poignant story, has lessons to learn.
Self belief and discovery are important themes of this story, whether you believe in soul mates or a life beyond our human existence, this story is worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn B. Halton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn B. Halton

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Summer News and Past Shadows

Newsletter Header Summer 2016

My Summer Newsletter has finally been sent out today, it seems I’m as late, as the Summer is arriving in the UK. 🙂

I’m giving away a paperback copy of The Dangerous Gift randomly drawn on 20 September 2016 – to one of my subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed yet to my seasonal newsletter, click on the image above or here.

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There’s also a  newsletter exclusive excerpt of The Dangerous Gift and my latest novel Past Shadows. 

Past Shadows will hopefully be released later this year, here’s another taster of my  mystery , historical romance with a ghostly twist.

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Happy Reading x

Debra J. Edwards – Author Interview

Author Interview

Did a specific event or person motivate you to become a writer? Can you tell us what happened?

As a primary school teacher, I once taught a class of 6-7 year olds. They were at an age when their baby teeth would become wobbly and fall out – often during the school day. They used to love telling me about it although it did drive me a little crazy at first. It got me thinking as to what a tooth fairy might do with the teeth, but as there were a few tooth fairy books out already I didn’t pursue the idea. But I couldn’t leave it alone so decided to put a different spin on it all using teenagers in the main character roles.

Are you a full time or part time writer?

Having taught in primary schools for 20 years, I am now happy to say that I write full time. Before, I worked through the day and early evening making it difficult to find time for writing. I had to squeeze in time after marking each evening which could result in very late nights. Weekends were wonderful though and meant I could find a little extra time during the days to write. I did try getting up very early to write, but that didn’t work for me. I’m just not a morning person.

What are the three best things about writing for you?

Tricky question as writing brings so much to writers. Okay…
I love how the stories in my head start to come to life as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard. Breathing life into a new character is so amazing. It’s great to see just how much they develop as the plot unfolds.
Writing brings me a great feeling of accomplishment. I was never an ‘A’ student at school so it gives me so much pleasure when my books are read and enjoyed. To think that the crazy characters in my head are being let loose on the world feels so good.
Being a writer is a somewhat lonely profession, but it has actually opened up a great social network for me. I belong to the SCBWI which means I get to talk to other writers about what I’m doing and attend numerous events where I can meet agents, publishers etc. I’m also a lively participant on Twitter where I to chat to other paranormal writers mostly, but also take part in YA chat hours.

You write books for children and young adults, what made you pick these genres?

Because I worked in a primary/elementary school, writing for children seemed a natural start to my writing career. I was able to try out my ideas on my target audience each day and they gave me great feedback. It wasn’t always what I wanted to hear, but that’s the whole point and it made me reconsider some plot points and refine my character development.
I had read a lot of young adult books and wondered if it was an age range I could move into. I’d always wanted to write a ghost story too. I thought it might be too scary for an MG audience, but not scary enough for adults so YA seemed to be the right range. In a way it was a gamble, but the story has been received well by the target audience. And because my previous MG readers are now older, they are forming a fanbase for my YA books.

Can you tell us about the books you have written?

I have three children’s fantasy novels published for the 8-12 year range although I have sold a lot to teenagers and adults. In fact, my oldest reader for these books is in her sixties! They are stories about a group of stroppy teenage tooth fairies and how they try to save their world.

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Here’s the blurb for the first book:
Aggie Lichen faces the same dilemmas as any other thirteen year old; what to wear, how to keep out of trouble at school. But while other thirteen year olds are doing their homework or settling down to watch T.V., Aggie flits from house to house in search of prize pilps. That’s where Aggie is a little different. You see, Aggie Lichen is a pilp collector – a tooth fairy!
One nightsgritch – a tooth collecting evening – Aggie is attacked by a bright, mysterious light. Is it just a low flying glow worm or a bad tempered giant bluebottle? Or, as Aggie and her gang suspect, is it something more sinister?
Unknown to them, Aggie and her gang have just thirty days to solve the mystery and save their kind but time is not on their side … neither are the Sprites or the Grublins …

I also have a Tween/YA paranormal novel out, Marvin’s Curse. It tells the story of a 17 year old boy who has inherited the gift of speaking to ghosts from his dead dad. Here’s the blurb for it:

Final cover for Marvin Herbie Quote

How would you handle the dead?

After losing his dad, 17 year old Marvin finds he can see and talk to the dead, an inherited ‘gift’. Bonus, you might think, but Marvin hates it. It makes him different and he just wants to be ‘normal’. He meets Stella in the graveyard that backs onto the house he’s just moved into.

‘My name is Stella, Stella McCartney. It says so inside my trousers.’ (!?!)

A mysterious business card reveals that Stella has lost her memories and all signs point to Moghador, a gateway to hell where a pawnbroker holds the answers. Oh, and she’s dead!

Do you follow a set process to write your books? If so can you share it with us?

Not really a process as such. I tend to jot down ideas in a kind of mind map and add to that when other things come to me. I scribble notes as I go in a carefully selected notebook for that particular book. I’m very much a person who just writes things down when watching TV or in the car (not driving, of course!). I usually write the first draft, have a read through then move on to structural editing. For the first time, I’m using an editing workbook (Darcy Pattison – Novel Metamorphosis) to try and improve the process by using the exercises suggested. I have used a freelance editor for all my books to ensure that I haven’t missed any issues before the books are unleashed on the world.

What’s your favourite time of day to write? Why do you enjoy writing at this time?

I prefer to start writing around mid-morning. I’m not a particularly early riser and need a few cups of coffee before I can begin. It’s a time when I feel most awake and able to tackle the writing challenges of the day. I’m quite happy to write early evening too depending on where I am in my story. If I’m at a difficult part, I like to press on to see if I can solve the issue, if not, it waits until the next day – after the coffee though.

Do you have need to be alone to write?

Yes, if I am at home and I need quiet too. I like to keep the door shut on my study to keep any form of noise out. This can often be my dog barking for attention or music blasted out by my husband. But I also enjoy writing in cafes on cruise ships which is a complete contrast as there can be around 2000 people at any time on these ships.

Do you have a favourite writing space? 

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I write mostly in my study which looks out on to trees and greenery. It has a firm chair which means I have to sit up straight and focus. In a softer seat I tend to slouch and fall asleep… zzzzzzz!

What are you writing at the moment? What do you plan to write this year?

I’m currently editing another YA book, The Iron City. It’s kind of a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Hunger Games – with dragons. In the book, it falls to a geeky teenage girl, Rae, to save the world from dragons. Here’s a snippet!

‘I am George, the original George as in George and the Dragon?’ said George, taking a Peter Pan stance. ‘And this is my trusted friend, Ascalon.’ He pulled a small wand like stick from his pocket. ‘…the dragon slaying lance.’
Rae stared hard at George then transferred her fierce look to the stick/lance he was holding. Then she burst out laughing. ‘Oh, please! George and the Dragon?’ She fell back against the tree. ‘Are you for real?’
George shook the stick several times. ‘It does that sometimes. It gets stuck. I think it’s all the crap it’s collected over the last few hundred years.’
‘Oh my god. You’re still talking, George,’ said Rae. ‘And it’s still just a stick. Look!’

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4* Review: Spirits of the Season – Eight Haunting Holiday Romances

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Paranormal Blurb

Upon a Ghostly Yule: A Victorian Christmas Short Story by Amanda DeWees, Daphne du Maurier Award–winning author of historical romantic suspense. When the ghost of a willful 18th-century beauty takes possession of spirited young Felicity Reginald at a Victorian Christmas house party, mystery and danger follow… but so does romance.

Saving Laurel by Raine English, USA Today bestselling author and winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award. A ghost from the past helps a tortured actress find love at Christmas.

In the Holiday Spirit by Angeline Fortin, award-winning author of time-swept Highland romance. Fate and a hauntingly helpful hand combine to bring Alice a Christmas gift she never dreamed of, wrapped in a New York Christmas.

Romantic fiction that takes the road less traveled to happily ever after with Kaidan: Snow Bride by Athena Grayson. It’s 1969 and Yukiko wants a modern man, but her nature only grants her one night. Can the snow witch break her curse to find love with an American soldier who has a life of his own?

Sapphire Ridge by Aileen Harkwood, bestselling author of paranormal romance and the Breens Mist witches. What does it take to lay her Christmas ghosts to rest? A sexy Scotsman with a mission.

Mistletoe & Magic: A Hidden Coast Holiday Romance by Lynda Haviland, multi-series author of paranormal romance. A small-town girl, a handsome actor, a romantic old inn–and a ghost trying to destroy the season.

Her Ghost of Christmas Past by debut author Afton Moss. Emma is sure she’ll finally get an engagement ring for Christmas this year. But the handsome ghost of a Civil War captain searching for his lost love has other plans for her and a Savannah bachelor.

Bandits Hollow: A Holiday Romance Novella (Robbin’ Hearts Series) by Diane J. Reed, bestselling author of contemporary romance with a magical touch. What happens when a fortune teller can heal everyone’s heart but her own? Leave it to a spirit who haunts Evangeline Tinker on Christmas Eve to show her how eternal his love really is.

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Paranormal My Review

Spirits of the Season: Eight Haunting Holiday Romances

This is an easy to read festive collection of short stories and novellas, with a ghostly or paranormal twist. There is something to appeal to everyone in this book, whether you are fan of the festive season or not. Perfect for the commute to work or a snatched hour by the fire, these stories will let you escape to another era, time zone or even world.

Upon a Ghostly Yule – Amanda De Wees
A Victorian Christmas romance, this story has all the right ingredients for historical romance lovers. A courageous heroine snubbed by society through no fault of her own, a gallant hero, and a jealous so called friend. The paranormal twist is in the form of ghost, whose own unhappiness affects Felicity the heroine, in an alarming way.

Saving Laurel – Raine English
This contemporary Christmas story has Laurel returning to house where she grew up, with the intention of selling the estate and moving on. Already apprehensive about returning to her home she has to face echoes of the past, before she can move on with her life. Enhanced with vivid imagery and tender romance, this story is perfect for all the Christmas romantics like me.

In the Holiday Spirit – Angeline Fortin
This story perfectly captures the hopeful spirit of the Christmas season. Fearful of being hurt again Alice avoids commitment and resists all attempts by her matchmaking Grandma to start living life to the full again. She falls at the feet of a man to die for but is it just her clumsiness, or something more? Great characters and visual imagery make this one of my favourites in this anthology.

Kaiden: Snow Bride – Anthena Grayson
An unusual, romantic fantasy tale for the festive season set in Japan in the 1969- 1970.

Sapphire Ridge – Aileen Harkwood
Laying old ghosts to rest proves far more adventurous than Nikki would have imagined. Vivid disaster scenes and enlightening flashbacks in this fast paced story hold your interest. The paranormal element in this story is subtle and adds an exciting twist to an already emotional story.

Mistletoe and Magic- Lynda Haviland.
Like all ‘Hidden Coast romances’ this story interweaves supernatural elements into a contemporary world setting in a believable way. A surprise guest at Hannah’s empty inn, changes her plans in a charming and unexpected way. Full of romance and ghostly happenings this is a delightful read.

Her Ghost of Christmas Past – Afton Moss
This is a lovely romantic tale of ghosts, lost love and soul mates. Is love eternal, who knows but this story certainly makes you think about the possibility?

Bandits Hollow – Diane J Reed.
A western romantic tale where, the past haunts the present and echoes of magic and the supernatural enliven an everyday setting.

Enrich your festive season with magic and ghosts I recommend reading this anthology in the shadow of the Christmas tree lights.

I received a copy of this book from the authors in return for an honest review.

Spirits of the Season: Eight Haunting Holiday Romances by Amanda DeWees
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Spirits of the Season Eight Haunting Holiday Romances by Amanda DeWees

Amanda DeWees

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4* Review: While I Was Waiting – Georgia Hill

24762168Blurb - Coastal

June 1963, Clematis Cottage, Stoke St. Mary, Herefordshire

I am really not sure why I am writing this. A foolish whim by a foolish old lady and it will probably sit in a box unread and decay much like its writer when Death makes his careless decision.

But perhaps someone will find it. Someone will care enough to read and somehow I know that will happen.

April 2000, Clematis Cottage, Stoke St. Mary, Herefordshire

Tired of her life in London, freelance illustrator Rachel buys the beautiful but dilapidated Clematis Cottage and sets about creating the home of her dreams. But tucked away behind the water tank in the attic and left to gather dust for decades is an old biscuit tin containing letters, postcards and a diary. So much more than old scraps of paper, these are precious memories that tell the story of Henrietta Trenchard-Lewis, the love she lost in the Great War and the girl who was left behind.

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While I Was WaitingRachel finds ghosts, history, mystery and romance, when she leaves London and escapes to the rural idyll of Herefordshire.

Enchanted by Clematis cottage, she finds all is not what it first appears. When she moves in, drastic renovation is necessary for the bricks and mortar to match up to the cottage’s perfect outlook. Employing the local builders is the only way and they come highly recommended. Gabe is very easy on the eye, he compensates for the dust and the disruption but he is so different from what Rachel’s used to. Will he fit into her ordered world? The passion between Gabe and Rachel simmers, before it boils over but can they learn to celebrate each other’s differences, or are they doomed to crash and burn?

Rachel is determined to make her new life work. The villagers are interesting characters and their interaction is vital to her character’s growth and development. I particularly like Stan and Sheila, who in their different ways, both offer Rachel more advice and encouragement than her own parents.

The cottage’s former owner Hetty, now deceased, has her own story to tell and when a journal and fading letters are discovered, Rachel and the reader are flung back into the early twentieth century and the tragedy and illusions of ‘The Great War’.

Intrigued, Rachel’s tendency to obsess make her determined to find out what really happened in Hetty’s life when the journal and letters leave her with more questions than answers. The sojourn into the past has parallels to Rachel’s present and with some supernatural encouragement she is determined to find out the truth. Rachel’s emotional journey is what makes this a feel good read and the ending is truly magical.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

While I Was Waiting by Georgia Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


While I Was Waiting by Georgia Hill

Georgia Hill

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5* Review: Haunt My Heart – Lisa Medley

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Paranormal Blurb

 A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir

Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

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Paranormal My Review
Haunt My HeartThis a ghost story with a difference, full of historical detail, vivacious characters and mystique. The authentic opening scenes grab the readers’ attention. The surprises and momentum keep you hooked throughout enhanced with poignant romance.

‘Haunt My Heart’ is a kaleidoscope of colours. It swings from humour when Sarah fails to observe the expected etiquette at the ghost walk to menace when Sarah’s life is threatened.

Sarah is a geeky heroine who so easy to like. Strong and resourceful, she is a sceptic when it comes to the paranormal and this leads to plenty of humorous scenes. Tanner reminds me of ‘Bill from True Blood’, a man out of his time but a true gentleman who has strong protective traits.

The mystery that surrounds Tanner’s appearance has its roots in the nineteenth century but the evil prevails, when it is manifests in contemporary Fredericksburg.The romance is gentle and builds in a realistic way, the passion when it explodes is red hot and believable.

This story is a fusion of history, paranormal and romance, which makes ‘Haunt My Heart’ a book worth reading.

Haunt My Heart by Lisa Medley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Haunt My Heart by Lisa Medley

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Ghostly Experience in The Lakes

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I was inspired to write The Dragon Legacy from my lifelong love affair with The English Lake District. Incidentally it is also the setting for my second ghostly encounters post.

Like my ghostly experience in a haunted house this occurred on a family holiday about thirty years later with my own children. Not a spooky house this time but a family walk by the beautiful Lake Ullswater on a bright August day.  At the time none of us attached any supernatural significance to the event until afterwards…

Photo0039Taking advantage of the beautiful summer weather about ten years ago we decided to walk from Glenridding to How Town before catching the steamer onto Pooley Bridge and back to Glenridding. The walk is about 7 miles and seemed the ideal afternoon pursuit. Ullswater steamers run between Glenridding and Pooley Bridge and stop at How Town.

Lots of other people had the same idea and the first stretch of the walk was full of families with children running around.  As we left the village behind we realised a young boy about the same age as my ten-year old son was walking with our kids. They chattered happily for about five minutes and then I became worried that he would be separated from his family, although when I looked around no one seemed to have missed him.

We reached a patch of grass close to the lakeside where some families were having picnics and decided to stop for a drink. The boy stayed with us for  a while kicking the stones and chatting to other children and families.  As we were leaving he came up to us and asked where we were headed.

“We’re walking to the How Town pier.” I said knowing it was approximately five miles ahead.

“You’ve a long walk ahead of you.” The boy replied.

I thought this was a strange remark for a child to make. We decided he must be a local child from one of the farms who made friends with children who passed by. We set off and when I looked back the boy vanished. I scanned the groups around but he wasn’t there, we carried on assuming he returned home.

During the long  walk the weather changed and we got very wet, a common occurrence in these parts. The seven mile walk seemed  to take forever as we got lost and ended up following one of my husband’s short cuts, never a good thing.

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When we finally arrived at How Town Pier exhausted and wet we’d missed the last return ferry and faced a repeat of the long walk to get home again. As we convinced the kids they could make the return journey despite their blisters the boy’s words came back to us. We definitely did have a long walk ahead.

We trudged homeward  and discussed the boy and his prophetic remarks. My daughter said he’d been dressed strangely  like a child from  the 1930s or 1940’s something we didn’t think about until afterwards even though it set him apart from the other children.

We looked for him on the way back as we passed farms and campsites but there was no trace. We couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something eerie about  him and the whole experience.

Hours later we reached Glenridding and  returned to where we were staying. Later that evening at the hotel bar my husband recounted our little adventure to some locals over a pint. They didn’t seem surprised and assured him the boy was a regular occurrence often seen by tourists  on that part of the lake.

 Intrigued we walked that way the next day but never saw him again.

When  I researched ghostly happening on the lake there were stories of fairies and lake monsters as Ullswater is known as ‘The Dark Lake’ but nothing documented about the boy.

Just coincidence or something more?

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Missed the Haunted House Post? Read Here.

 

 

 

 

Have You Ever Stayed in a Haunted House?

At the weekend my husband and I were looking at holiday cottages on the internet. We came across a lovely property which was pleasantly furnished and would let us take our two dogs then I saw it – the suit of armour in the living room and I knew nothing could convince me to stay at that house.

Image credit Rama. Medieval armour complete. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/Maximilienne-p1000557.jpg

 Where did this ‘strange’ phobia originate?

Many years ago when I was about ten I stayed at an old rambling house in Exmouth Devon England. The house was spacious and able to accommodate my parents, grandparents and me with ease. The only drawback was some of the artifacts it housed.

It also had a weird atmosphere  that my mother noticed  as soon as she went in. Being so young  I didn’t know why the house felt creepy just that it did.

The house had three floors and I slept on the first floor in a room across from my grandparents. My parents slept on the top floor and in their room was  a suit of armour.

Even in the daylight the ambience of the room was odd. At night my mother heard noises. She dismissed these at first. It was an old house and bound to have creaky floor boards and squeaky door hinges  and suspect plumbing but would this account for the clanking she heard in the dead of night which seemed to stem from the room she was asleep in?

My father never heard a thing sleeping deeply all the time my mother lay frightened in bed. The following morning  she dismissed what she heard as an overactive imagination but was it?

I slept badly the whole time we were there and finally I spent part of the night in my mother’s room  whilst my father slept downstairs. That night my mother woke and saw the suit of armor which stood against the wall closest to the foot of the bed move. I slept through it all safe now I was with my mother .  Half asleep my mother wasn’t too disturbed  she had  experienced paranormal happenings before. It was only when she recalled what she saw in the cold light of morning that she wondered if the house was haunted. It must have spooked her because we left the following day and stayed elsewhere and now whenever I see  a suit of armour I always remember that house and the way it made me feel and my mother’s experience with the  strange suit of armour in her bedroom.

Have you ever stayed or lived in a haunted house or a house with an atmosphere? I would love to know. 🙂

Ghostly Encounters in the Lakes? Read Here.

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