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Friday, October 30, 2009

The Haunting of Amelia Pritchart by Sandra Sookoo

The Haunting of Amelia Pritchart by Sandra Sookoo
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal
Length: Short (54 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Amelia Pritchart’s life is a mess. Her house is crumbling down around her, she’s got a bad case of writer’s block, and divorce papers await her signature. The trouble is, she still loves her husband.

And if that’s not bad enough, she comes face to face with a ghost—who has problems of her own. The restless spirit demands Amelia help her tormented soul so she can finally rest in peace. Intrigued, Amelia sets out to grant the wish, but soon finds there’s much more to the ghost than just being dead.

When her estranged husband shows up on her doorstep on Halloween, Amelia must face two pasts, both full of pain. Can she help the ghost without becoming eternally haunted? And can she face her own fears and insecurities about her marriage to grasp the second chance at happiness her husband offers?

A ghost isn’t the only visitor from the past who shows up at Amelia’s door on Halloween.

Amelia is running away from the past. She’s left Jonathan, her husband, and buried herself in the restoration of her grandmother’s dilapidated Victorian house. The trouble is, the house just happens to be haunted. Amelia is awakened the night before Halloween by her ancestor, Elizabeth Hiatt. At first Amelia is frightened, but it soon becomes apparent that Elizabeth intends no harm. She needs Amelia to find a descendant of her long lost fiancĂ©, Samuel, so that she can make some confessions and finally be at rest. Amelia immediately agrees to help.

As Amelia starts digging into Elizabeth’s past, part of her own past shows up on her front door. Amelia’s husband, Jonathan, wants her to come back to him, but that’s not the only reason he came running to her door. It seems that he has been visited by a ghost as well and the ghost he’s seen just might be connected to Elizabeth. As Amelia learns of Elizabeth’s tragic tale of love and loss, she is forced to face her own fears about life and her confusing feelings for Jonathan, but is she too late? Has she already lost what could have been the love of a lifetime?

As a reader, my usual complaint about short stories is that there isn’t enough time for me to get to know the characters before the story has ended. That was definitely not the case with The Haunting of Amelia Pritchart. Ms. Sookoo expertly alternated between the story of Elizabeth’s past and Amelia’s present day dilemma in such a way that I felt I knew both women well by the time the story ended. Amelia is a smart, talented, free spirit. She loves Jonathan but is afraid that her identity will be lost in the strength of her feelings for him. Elizabeth is a caring individual who devotes her time to taking care of victims of Spanish Influenza. She lost the love of her life to war before she could be reunited with him. Left alone with a secret that could ruin her forever, Elizabeth displays amazing strength of character that serves as an example for Amelia.

As a hero, Jonathan is definitely not a free spirit. In fact, he’s the exact opposite of Amelia. As a history professor and former military man, his life is based on order and facts. He is not the type to believe in ghosts, let alone offer to help put their souls to rest. However, he finds himself tangled up in the story of Elizabeth and Samuel along with Amelia. There is one fact Jonathan is certain of, he and Amelia belong together. Can he prove to Amelia that their love was meant to be, or will his strong advances scare her away for good?

Ms. Sookoo also wasted no time in setting the mood for her Halloween short story. “Silvery moonlight filtered through the room to illuminate the furnishings with an eerie glow. Shadows crept and shifted at will to accumulate in the corners in heavy, opaque clouds.” These opening lines immediately pulled me into the story. I felt as if I was in the room with Amelia awaiting the appearance of the ghost.

I truly enjoyed reading The Haunting of Amelia Pritchart. It is a great short story that can be read in one sitting. It is a tale of love, life, and second chances that I recommend to any fan of paranormal romance.