Anne Bonny #BookReview A House Of Ghosts by @WilliamRyan_ 5* Genius #WW1Fiction #Séance #Ghosts #Mystery #Thriller @bonnierbooks_uk @BonnierZaffre ‘A House Of Ghosts is pure perfection!’

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A House Of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .

My Review:

A House Of Ghosts is pure perfection!
It has several themes that I absolutely adore and some that strike at my heart. It covers a multitude of genre’s it is literary, historical with a slight occult theme also. It really is 100% worth your investment in the beautiful hardback edition. *See images below*

The novel centres around several characters, mostly of the upper class and privileged of society. But as we know from history, this alone did not absolve you from the battle lines of The Great War. The novel is set in the winter of 1917 and you can fully appreciate the psychological impact of ww1 on several of the characters.

This struck very personal to me, as my great-grandfather fought in ww1 and came back having received a severe head injury. Eventually, he took his own life years later. I guess we will never truly know if it was the head injury, the psychological trauma of a mixture of both. But all I do know is he took his life via slitting his own throat and my grandfather was the one to find him at just 10yrs old. His death would leave a substantial impact on one of the greatest men, I’ve even known, my Grandad Alan.

Back to the novel itself, the central characters are Cpt Robert Donovan and Kate Cartwright. When they are summoned to Blackwater Abbey to take part in a séance to summon the dead of ww1. They have no idea, they’ll end up becoming amateur detectives themselves. The characterisation of these two is phenomenal and they work brilliantly together. What we are yet to discover, is that Kate has a gift of her own. . .

‘Any supposed contact with the dead is either the work of charlatans or some kind of group psychological disorder’ – Kate Cartwright

We learn more about each individual character present at Blackwater Abbey. Their ties to the estate and their loss of loved ones in ww1. Kate for example has lost her own brother and despite her reservations, she is desperate for some kind of communication or confirmation of his death.

‘The problem with corruption among the English upper classes wasn’t that it existed but thatg it wasn’t dealth with firmly and publicly’ – C

Blackwater Abbey is located on Blackwater island as island rumoured to be full of ghosts and the perfect location for a weekend of spiritualism and séances. That is until the stormy weather cuts the group off from access and contact with the mainland. . .

‘In a house of ghosts, the living await, their certain fate’

Eventually we are introduced to the two eccentric characters, that have been acquired to carry out the seances. Madame Freda and Count Dmitri Orlov. The séance will require 12 people and equal numbers of men and women, which requires two unwilling servants to join their number.

‘Spirits from the other side, join us’ Count Orlov

For me personally, this novel has it all. A haunted island, superstition, wartime secrets and trauma. Kate and Donovan make the perfect crime solving pair and the novel strongly reminded me of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
5* Genius

***images of Hardback edition***
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WR
William Ryan ~ W.C. Ryan
Website
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#Review – The Constant Soldier by William Ryan @WilliamRyan_ #WW2 #HistFic

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The Constant Soldier by William Ryan

Synopsis:

1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns wounded and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut – a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who – against all odds – have so far survived the war.

When, by chance, Brandt glimpses one of these prisoners, he realizes that he must find a way to access the hut. For inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years before, and now he must do all he can to protect her.

But as the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of this rest hut and its SS inhabitants are numbered. And while hope – for Brandt and the female prisoners – grows tantalizingly close, the danger too is now greater than ever.

And, in a forest to the east, a young female Soviet tank driver awaits her orders to advance . . .

My review:

WW2 is one of my favourite genres in historical fiction. I have been a huge fan since I was in my teens. It is unusual for me to find something I would class as different/unique in the genre, as I have read such a variety of series/stand alones etc. I think this novel had something unique in that it focuses on the redemption of one man and his internal struggles with his conscience. which makes for, incredible reading!

Paul Brandt returns home to his sleepy village, having been wounded in an attack by the Russians. We later learn there are substantial injuries to his face. Brandt’s father was a surgeon during WW1 and when Brandt returns to Germany, he is aware it is a broken Germany indeed! The village is covered in swastikas and he notices a POW hut within the village. We meet Weber the baker, but under Nazi law, he has fast been promoted to Mayor of the town and this gives him absolute power and authority. This is something I have read time and time again in my ww2 non-fiction reading. How much power the Nazi party offered to small, vicious men, who followed their belief system!

We learn of Brandt’s past and the actions that led him to be on the front line. We also discover that he knows one of the female POW’s in the hut. But who is she? and where does he know her from? He sets about acquiring himself a job at the Hut. I found the theme of German resistance and redemption, very interesting and found this gave Brandt so much depth as a civilian, soldier and man.

The tables are turning of the Nazi’s at the POW hut, the soviets are closing in. The Nazi’s fear their violent revenge will be delivered soon! The violence and death, rolled out daily in the POW camp makes for tough reading. But these things did happen, so nonchalantly in the Nazi’s routine. Neumann is one character that is specifically savage in his approaches to prisoners. But everything I have ever read proves the Nazi party was riddled with men this evil………………..

This is a story of the tension and realisation that was brought to many Germans at the end of the war. It is thought-provoking and very well written.
Highly recommend 4*

The novel is available in hardback and Ebook format.
Paperback release is 1st June 2017.

WR
William Ryan
Authors links:
Web: https://www.william-ryan.com/
Twitter: @WilliamRyan_

*The authors website has a wealth of information and galleries, in relation to his novels and is well worth checking out!