Book Review | “Haunted” (Book No.1 of the Arnaud Legacy) by Lynn Carthage

Posted Monday, 31 October, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Winning the bookaway attached to #HistoricalFix (see Info) when we talked about Cosy Horror & Historical Fiction stories – of which Haunted was one of the featured stories! The chat took place on 20th of October, 2015 and yielded a HUGE List of Next Reads suggested by everyone who took part in the chat itself! Cat Winters and Katherine Howe also attended giving me such a wicked awesome chat to participate inside as I have been wanting to read Howe & Winters for awhile! Ms Carthage and I enjoyed meeting up as well, due to our like-minded interests. The books given away during the chat are part of the fun and are always unexpected as they are essay-based where you have to respond to Questions; best replies win.

I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein nor was I obligated to post a review on behalf of “Haunted”. I am posting this review for my own personal edification after having enjoyed reading the story.

A bit of a backstory:

Originally, when I first caught sight of the Haunted blog tour being adverted as an upcoming event this Spring 2015, there was a strong draw for me to want to participate on it! After all, I have shared my first review on reading ghost stories (The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton), joined my first Horror October, expressed why I’m a Cosy Horror Girl, shared my top favourite Classic Horror Motion Pictures, and compiled a list of book series which are definitely bent towards the paranormal! As you will see from those previous blog posts I’ve written, there are aspects of the Horror genre I never quite realised I was enthralled with myself, as I always felt I was living outside the genre completely! Sometimes it takes an event like Horror October hosted by the girls @ Oh, the Books! to set your mind straight! Laughs.

Instinctively, I hopped on Twitter to see if Ms Carthage was online (not that instant, but in general!), as I have come to appreciate finding authors I am keen on reading are participating in reader to author connections via Twitter; as it allows the readers (such as I) to ask pertinent questions which might arise out of reading a book synopsis or an excerpt (if one is available). What followed was a happenstance conversation, where a reader enjoyed getting to know an author outside the scope of being able to read the novel! I asked a few direct questions, as I was a bit on the fence as whether or not I could read this novel as it might take me too far outside my comfort zones along the lines of what is seen or unseen in the novel itself.

I’m definitely *the Cosy Horror Girl* at heart, as I have to weigh what I want to read with what I can handle as I have a sensitive heart. Always feeling being honest about this upfront is best, I did share my concerns, and as we talked a bit more about Haunted and our personal likes in books, I decided I truly felt I would love to interview Ms Carthage in lieu of reading the book for her blog tour! The elements of the paranormal within the series is still keenly intriguing to me, and there was a heap about the setting and atmosphere she stitched into it which lit my imagination aflame with curiosity!

The book cover art alone has all the lovely bits I appreciate about what can be considered an epic Gothic suspense, as you have the house barely seen through the misty fog, the young protagonist’s field of vision not focused on what is in front of her but what is unseen to the side, and the colour dimensions give it a purely haunting feel, encouraging your will to want to read this in order to see where the layers enfold and retreat from what is visually representative in the art itself!

Therefore, I am quite happy to bring to you, dear hearts, the conversation I pulled together out of inspiration from our original twitterverse convo intermixed with bits and bobbles I discovered about her book series whilst composing my thoughts on this interview! I hope you enjoy the conversation!

-originally shared on my Interview with Ms Carthage

However, this wasn’t the end of my connection with the book, the series or the author! We honestly liked talking to each other, not just in the interview but in the twitterverse, too! As the moons aligned, guess what happened?! We both found ourselves happily engaged inside the #HistoricalFix chats hosted by Ms McCabe (of the novel I Shall Shall Be Near to You) wherein we were participating in a chat that felt like it was primed to be exactly set for readers like us who love cosing up to a wicked Gothic story where hauntings, the supernatural and everything that makes you feel spooky are par for course!

I should say, the #HistoricalFix chats have become my tribe of like-minded bookish souls who hunger for captivating next reads, challenging historical fiction and stories that will tuck themselves into our hearts. We chat as if we’ve known each other for centuries rather than a mere year or so, where we only gather each quarter to chat up our latest reads, decipher the latest releases that have charmed our curiosities and exchange all the bookish delights you’d find at a book club!

Snippets of last October’s #HistoricalFix are captured below, along with the convo I had with Ms Carthage about her novel and Cosy Horror in general! ENJOY!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

(tweets to return soon)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Something quite wicked happened during that particular #HistoricalFix – I changed my opinion about not reading HAUNTED and dearly wanted to read it afterall! This is why I participated in the essay-based bookaway challenge to see if I could add my hat to the mix! I was truly overjoyed and quite shocked I had won – it was one of the happiest moments truly, as it was such a lovely capstone to the chat! I had wanted to read the book soon after I had found it in my postbox, however, time and tides had a way of working against me last year – to where I took great care to make sure HAUNTED was part of my #HalloweenReads in 2016!

Lest I mention, the author enscribed a note to me in the book on Halloween, 2015!? The very day one year later I pick it up to read having forgotten she had done that!? SPOOKY!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Notation on Cover Art Design: I immediately loved what the cover evoked about the setting, the Gothic nature of the tale and the way in which you can be haunted in a hauntingly ethereal setting! I also started to notice the girl on the cover was being featured on other books as well; something I had mentioned to the author. Apparently others had noticed too, which is why there was a big celebration of sorts about this girl and her hair recently that drew attention not only to HAUNTED but two other novels who featured her. One thing I liked even more than the exterior design is the interior mirror that graces the chapter pages! There is something about that design and the way in which it presents itself that just felt ‘authentic’ to this story!

Book Review | “Haunted” (Book No.1 of the Arnaud Legacy) by Lynn CarthageHaunted
Subtitle: The Arnaud Legacy

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Irving has traded life in San Francisco for her stepfather’s ancestral mansion in rural England. It’s supposed to be the new start her family needs. But from the moment she crosses the threshold into the ancient estate, Phoebe senses something ominous. Then again, she’s a little sensitive lately—not surprising when her parents are oblivious to her, her old life is six thousand miles away, and the only guy around is completely gorgeous but giving her mixed messages.

But at least Miles doesn’t laugh at Phoebe’s growing fears. And she can trust him…maybe. The locals whisper about the manor’s infamous original owner, Madame Arnaud, and tell grim stories of missing children and vengeful spirits. Phoebe is determined to protect her loved ones—especially her little sister, Tabby. But even amidst the manor’s dark shadows, the deepest mysteries may involve Phoebe herself…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781617736261

on 24th February, 2015

Pages: 288

Published By: Kensington Publishing Corp. ()
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book

The Arnaund Legacy series:

Book 1: Haunted

Book 2: Betrayed (Synopsis)

Book 3: Avenged (Synopsis)

Read about the particulars of the series!

Converse on Twitter via: #Haunted & #arnaudlegacy

About Lynn Carthage

Lynn Carthage

Lynn Carthage is a novelist living in Sacramento, California, near where the Gold Rush launched. Under her real name, she was a Bram Stoker Award finalist. Born in Vermont, Lynn has lived in Maine, Ireland, and Arizona. She reads voraciously, loves anything French, gets “itchy feet” to travel on a regular basis, and finds peace in the woods, in meadows, in nature. She has always been fascinated by how history allows us to imagine how people of the past lived and breathed and felt.

HAUNTED is her first young adult novel, and will be followed by the next two books in the Arnaud Legacy trilogy.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

on the atmospheric texture of the novel:

You have keys and locks that look like screaming faces being fitted with a silencer, overbearing trees whose omniscience hovering entreats forebearing and where the ancient age of the estate itself harbours it’s own secrets yet revealled! You can tuck yourself into the atmosphere simply by how the mood is set by Carthage to  tip toe your way into a setting that is never quite what is seems nor anything more than it allures! The house itself had a quirky personality – on one hand it’s inviting you to visit it’s interior corridors and on the other hand, it’s acting as if it wants a greater distance between you and it’s crypt-like secreted existence.

Adding to the ambiance of the secret nature of Arnaud Manor are the little bursts of information ahead of each chapter – snippets from newspapers, journals, books and local informers – dating back in time to when the Manor was alive and (hopefully) prosperous moreso than it is now. Inside these little suggestive pieces are small clues about the Manor, her inhabitants and the personality of the estate. You gather quite a bit from these small accountments, even if the larger scope of things remains slightly obscured. Except of course, not all of the snippets related to the Manor; others related directly to Phoebe and what was happening at Arnaud Manor!

The Cosy Horror bits are both Hitchtockian and visual; when Ms Carthage goes visual she has found a clever balance of ‘horror’ with the cosier side of a suspenseful thriller! She takes you just so far afield to give you a slight chill against your spine but doesn’t overtly cast you off the cliff either! It is the best blend of spook and creepy that gives you a Gothic story that borderlines on the very edge of where the Horror genre can broker itself a Cosy! Except to say this was my reflection on the novel prior to what is revealled of Madame Arnaud’s truer nature. In that direct regard, this is Classically quite Horrific by every essence of the word!

my review of haunted:

Quite auspiciously, we open HAUNTED to find an advert for the sale of an estate in England – one whose grounds are so impressively large there is no worry for imagination on how to re-invent the decrepitude which has encompassed the acres since attention had lapsed in it’s care. It was the kind of place that peers out at you, even when no one is present – a natural place to feel haunted without even seeking out a ghost! As we enter into the story-line Phoebe makes her angst readily known as she’s not entirely thrilled by the prospect of shifting locations – much less moving to a wholly  new country just to circumvent ‘something’ unremembered her parents feel is warranting such drastic reactions!

It is here on the grounds of ruins that we enter her life, where it’s hard to set to mind how you would envision such an estate if you were her and how that illusion would be wicked out of your grasp as soon as you arrived. There is a disease amongst Phoebe and her parents – her younger sister Tabby is a bit oblivious as she’s a mite too young to notice, but everyone else is walking on egg shells! Phoebe mentions she’s an adamant swimmer (competitor even) which brought back fond memories for me, as I was a competitive swimmer myself. Swimming gives you such a core of strength that once you stop swimming you lose it completely. I should have cross-trained, adding Pilates, kung-fu and a few other bits to round out my routine rather than rely on swimming alone. Which made me wonder what Phoebe did to keep herself strengthened, except she was haunted long before she arrived! She has something weighing over her – nearly visible but invisible at the same time; something is cloaked from our view and it’s affecting her mood.

As Phoebe goes exploring with her step-father, she finds out a few things along the way: her step-father is a master pianist (shocker!), books really do not do well with extra moisture (more to the point: reading selections in the 1700s were quite bland!) and the house as a whole leeches out it’s tentacles bit by bit to where you either question your sanity or question your surroundings! Nothing happened on their journey but it’s what could be felt and internalised whilst they walked about that made for stirring fiction! Nothing could have prepared Phoebe though for what her step-father shared once they reunited with her sister and mother in the newer wing of the house – his upbringing was fraught with circumstances even Phoebe felt humbled by listening too. It was new to her and her mother – not the kind of news your expecting to find revealled and it was curious that it was here, at this rotting away estate of his ancestors that the truth had a way of coming out. You had to like the good cheer of her mother – seeing the neverending project of renovation as one which would challenge, benefit and be a joy to undertake!

By the time Phoebe meets up with Miles at the local pool, she starts to see Grenshire in a new light; one which might not be as bad as she first feared. The swim team needed an ace on the girl’s team and she was a shoe-in for top placement due to her dexterity, skill set and passion for swimming. Something that Miles was not hesitating to point out to her when they entered their cooling down phase after their laps. Whilst Phoebe was swimming, I felt Ms Carthage fully encompassed what it feels like to be a swimmer and someone who feels ‘one’ with ‘water’. If anything, she brought back happy memories of my own whilst I was swimming laps and feeling my own Zen connecting body, mind and spirit to the artfulness of navigating through the water as if you were made of fins.

I’m quite sure if I had ever seen a ghost materalise in front of me as a vision or as a decomposed skeletal entity whose essence was still intact but slightly ajar of centre from it’s flesh, I’d not have had as much composure as Phoebe! The guts this girl has is incredible! As all of a sudden, on a whim of a curious note to re-examine the house behind that screaming door lock, Phoebe found herself facing the dead and the organ which insisted on playing without a body to guide it! Even at the height of this scene, I commended Carthage for how she could tightly wring out suppressed fear whilst guiding us forward to stand still inside Phoebe’s shoes! Although dear hearts – this particular ghost (bones protruding out of fragile skin and decaying clothes) implored me to read more – to go further and seek out what the mysterious secret is of the Manor! Is this merely a poltergeist acting up for appearances sake or is there something more sinister at work?

Madame Arnaud makes her entrance through automatic writing – such a clever idea on behalf of Carthage to use this technique to communicate a voice of the dead! I was so entrenched inside her letter to Phoebe; something was nibbling at my peripherals too, as if I had stumbled across one of the truths of the story without realising I had captured it. I needed to read more to confirm my suspicions but there was something sparking such a familiarity it felt as if I was sensing the direction in which this novel might be charted to take! Now that was a delish treat to find; but more to startling is the tone of Madame Arnaud’s letter. Her words were fluid and roving; telling of a somber tale of how a woman went from living to dead without understanding how she made the transition. Yet, in her letters she isn’t speaking as if she knew she were dead but rather, living without any trace of her staff, belongings and routine. Almost as if half of her could not reconcile her present and was fervently attempting to find a reasonable excuse for her current state outside of death. You could almost feel the pages falling through your fingers as you read more of her reality; until of course her truth twisted your stomach into nausea.

I am unsure how I feathered it out but I knew the twist in the plot so very early-on, I nearly hesitate to say exactly when I knew what I shouldn’t have known! I get so close to stories and characters, sometimes my intuitiveness gets ahead of me. I had to stop reading the middle bits of this story-line though because they truly upset me; it was far more horrific than the opening bridge and due to that, because I felt connected to Phoebe and Miles, I jumped ahead to the concluding chapters where I felt my heart lurch and that frog choke in my throat as the ending is bittersweet, beautiful and resolving of how love transcends all. I dare not say more – as I will truly give away too many pieces of this suspense, except I can honestly say the whole back-story on Phoebe was well executed and Carthage captured such a compellingly emotional story-line for her character to embrace!

In the ending pages of the novel, I learnt about the childhood toy that meant so much to the core of the novel’s heart; by extension it was the key to everything. In that one moment of clarity it unlocked so much heartache and so much grace of peace to those who needed it most. It was truly one of the most touching endings I’ve read where you feel the author truly gave her characters a fitting ending that they could survive handling moreso than one that you needed yourself for your own closure on their lives.

Fly in the Ointment: Content Note:

Sometimes your first instincts are better than your second hope that your first inclination to pass on a story is wrong. At least for me. I was so excited about this story in the beginning chapters – I was thinking the menace of the tale was going to be something quite ordinary, predictable even in their choice of malice but this story… oh dear! If your a reader who loves vampires you might fair better than I did with this plot! I only found I like one vampire story and that came from the pen of Berni Stevens! I’ll say no more towards what affected me and what truly made me feel ‘ick’ as I’m only trying to hint towards what derailed my readings rather than out what transpired.

I even thought of pulling my review except that something about the backstory of Phoebe herself compelled me to share my notes thus far along as they were written. I even wanted to mention a bit about the childhood toy as that was connected to me in regards to why I felt I could handle this story. In the end, my first instincts held salt, it’s not a novel I can read in full, but the pages I spent hours reading on Halloween will be cherished for what they did give me. A hauntingly interesting heroine who I shall not soon forget!

on the psychological suspense writing style of lynn carthage:

I appreciated the careful ways in which Ms Carthage stitched her YA Suspense to have analogies of thoughts and musings by creative words or phrases. The way in which she equated the estate to that of a hive and how the Queen would remain unfound was quite brilliant as it offered a rare chance to see how a teenaged girl might be impressioned to see this house with it’s moody secrets eclipsed from direct sight! She buckles in the atmospheric Gothic-esque you are hoping to find whilst giving you more pensivity towards understanding why the house is behaving the way it is rather than simply wanting to tuck tail and exit! As soon as I read about the allegation of the hive, everything fit into place for me visually – how this place extends, contracts and implodes together to form this labyrinth of space where time marched forward and where memory remained.

One of my best loved psychological suspense entrances to the drama behind the suspense itself – is where thriller meets mystery or where the supernatural alight beside the realist; I love how subtle you can find ‘other’ bits described. Carthage has such a knack for bridging the gap between YA and Suspense, painting a realistic image of Phoebe but giving such much back for those of us who like spooky reads! I also applaud her for not writing such an atypical YA novel – you might know the ones I mean; the dialogue tends to run so cliche you find it oft repeated. I liked the originality to this novel but also, how it walked that line between YA, Upper YA and Adult. It’s a bit of a hybrid as it’s cross-relating to different ages of readers but it’s how the undertone of it’s narrative has light inside it rather than darkness.

There of course are darker elements to the story, but what I’m referring to directly is the ‘tone’ and ‘shaping’ of the story itself. So often I find novelists are turning stories too gritty (not necessarily graphically but infliction of mood!) or so oppressively dark, you feel drained afterwards just trying to read enough to understand the purpose of the story. Ms Carthage took the opposite route – giving us a story that deals with good vs evil but towed the line so very well that I had to keep reminding myself to expect ‘something!’ that might share the skull out of my skin! And, sadly I was quite keenly right about that reaction!

NOTE: I would definitely mark this as Upper YA due to the nature of what happens and the secret behind Madame Arnaud. It is very adult and quite difficult to read especially those who are sensitive readers such as myself. It is the direct reason why I stopped reading the novel ahead of the midway point and read instead the ending chapters to see what resolved if anything could at that point.

Having disclosed this, there is a moment of beautiful redemption inside of a cemetery that bears mentioning as it was one of my favourite moments of the story. Ms Carthage has an organically innate way of etching in light out of darkness and of giving a deeper meaning out of tragic loss due to a horrific crime. In some ways, I wish the crime could have been altered, as I might have then found this story unputdownable and blessedly full in scope, heart and thrilling suspense. It’s how the path deviated from something I could accept to something that was just too hard to reconcile that left me a bit divided in how I feel about the novel as a whole.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

This book review was inspired by my own personal readings and my choice to celebrate Halloween 2016 by curling into some spooky & delightful stories I had not had the pleasure of reading until Autumn carried itself into view! There is something quite alluring about Autumn and psychological suspense novels – I hinted at this earlier when I revealled my review on behalf of the anthology SCARECROW – however, more to the point, it’s simply fitting really! Autumn is the last season prior to Winter – there is such a magical glow to the air and to the season itself. You can feel something tangible changing all around you and for me, that makes me want to read more Suspense & Gothic Lit!

I am truly grateful to the author to encourage me to take a chance on HAUNTED but moreso to the point, to being open to reader questions & concerns. Without her willingness to talk about aspects of HAUNTED first on Twitter when I made my initial enquiries and then lateron, during #HistoricalFix, I am unsure if I ever would have truly known if I could handle the story-line! It is wonderful when you can cross paths with an author who understands sometimes those of us who read the ‘cosy’ side of their genre might have a few trepidations about reading their stories!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

Follow the  original blog tour courtesy of: Book Junkie Promotions

I participated originally with this Interview about why I love Cosy Horror

Haunted Blog Tour via Book Junkie PromotionsIf you click-through the blog tour banner, you will find the full schedule, however, I wanted to share where you can find the reader reviews and compliment author guest features:

Blog Tour Review: Haunted by Lynn Carthage (Bibliophilia, Please –

Author Interview : Haunted by Lynn Carthage  (Reading Lark –

Haunted (100 Pages a Day –

Book Review: Haunted (The Arnaud Legacy #1) by Lynn Carthage (I Heart Reading –

Haunted Tour: Review (A Dream within a Dream –

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

 Follow my bookish journey:

{subscribe in my blog’s footer}

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “Haunted”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis and the blog tour badge were provided by Book Junkie Promotions originally and are being reused with permission. Book Cover Art of “Betrayed” and “Avenged” provided by Lynn Carthage and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter.  Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Ruminations & Impressions banner and the Comment Box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Monday, 31 October, 2016 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, British Literature, Castles & Estates, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Fly in the Ointment, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Haunting & Ethereal, Indie Author, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, Upper YA Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance

All posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary!
I try to visit your blog in return as I believe in ‘Bloggers Commenting Back
(which originated as a community via Readers Wonderland).

Comments are moderated. Once your comment is approved for the first time, your comments thereafter will be recognised and automatically approved. All comments are reviewed and continue to be moderated after automated approval. By using the comment form you are consenting with the storage and handling of your personal data by this website.

Once you use the comment form, if your comment receives a reply (this only applies to those who leave comments by email), there is a courtesy notification set to send you a reply ticket. It is at your discretion if you want to return to re-respond and/or to continue the conversation established. This is a courtesy for commenters to know when their comments have been replied by either the blog's owner or a visitor to the blog who wanted to add to the conversation. Your email address is hidden and never shared. Read my Privacy Policy.

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)