Friday, August 19, 2016

The Ghost Tree - Sara Bain

Summary: A newcomer to a small town must contend with a 17th century poltergeist intent on murder

Five years after the death of his wife, MacAoidh Armstrong moves into a smallholding in southern Scotland with the intention of living a self-sufficient existence. Although he’s heard the steading has a reputation for being haunted, the pragmatic Highlander does not believe in ghosts. On a hill by the steading stands the Ghost Tree: all that remains of the former Ringcroft of Stocking. Local legend says, when the last of the Ghost Trees dies, the Rerrick Parish Poltergeist will return. The Ghost Tree is dying and, just days after MacAoidh moves in, he is forced to contend with a number of strange and terrifying events that put his very life at risk. This series of bizarre and increasingly threatening occurrences at The Ring defy all logical and scientific explanation, and compel MacAoidh to face phenomena that will make him question his very beliefs. (Summary and pic from

I was given  a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: When I got this book, I was expecting a book on Scottish lore and some creepy ghosts that go along with it. I was not wrong. There is a small dose of Scottish lore and a healthy dose of very creepy ghost happenings. That being said, the book is actually a light chick-lit romance with the main characters falling in love over the scariness and aftermath of a very angry ghost.

So. I’m Scottish. Well, my granny is full Scottish which makes me at least ¼ Scottish with everybody else’s genes mixed in. I’ll spare you the rest of my genealogy, but suffice it to say that I was really looking forward to some fun Scottish lore and ghost stories. What I was hoping for was possibly one of those books where there are parallel stories going on—the modern story as well as the deep and intricate re-told or re-invented Scottish lore—but this was not the case. There was a small chapter at the beginning that kind of introduced the ghost and the lore around it, but that was kind of it. This was disappointing because that story was really cool and I loved the idea of the three trees that were standing as sentinels against the ghost and that when the final one died, it was unleashed. I mean, that’s ghost story gold right there! This was not to be, however.

That being said, it’s not like there was no ghost. Oh, there was a ghost. And he was a somewhat terrifying ghost who did scary things and gave the story a very creepy feel. The novel was not written like a horror story (I’m not sure whether this was intentional or not), but the ghostly happenings were certainly creepy and could have totally been amped up to make the book just terrifying.

Most of the book was was a good old-fashioned man-meets-woman-and-they-fall-in-love story. The man, of course, is strapping and handsome and all the women around him just can’t believe what a handsome movie star-esque hunk of a man he is. The woman is quirky and rude but beautiful in an unconventional way and the man is inexplicably drawn to this even though she’s pretty unlikeable. They fall in love, but not without some drama from the family and misunderstandings and general shenanigans. In this, the book is pretty typical as far as the love story goes. I was surprised how unlikeable Libby, the main character was. At one point I could tell that Bain had wanted her to be this really cool enigma of a person who was deep and layered with a heart of gold, but I think he failed. She was just rude. Whew. I’m stuffy. Or maybe I’m just jealous and I really want the hunk of a man? (My husband just snorted indignantly.) I mean, everybody else does.

To be fair, I’m not a huge reader of chic lit and romance. I don’t enjoy the mismatched but perfect specimens of people that end up together. I do like ghost stories, though, and I think if you were a reader of chic lit who wanted a little Scottish lore and ghosts to tantalize you, you’d love this book.

My Rating: 3 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is language and sexual content of this book. However, I was pleasantly surprised how mild it was compared to what I think it would have been. I would rate it a soft PG-13.

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