Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres. Throw in a good old ghost story, and I'm hooked.
The Ghost of Glendale by Natalie Kleinman merges two subgenres - historical romance with a paranormal fiction.
The main protagonist, Phoebe Marcham, is a strong-willed young lady. Being a young unmarried woman at 24, Phoebe is quite resigned to spinsterhood. Thankfully, she has a comfortable life in a manor house and doesn't need a man to provide for her, looking after her father and being the lady of the house. She has always admired the deep bond between her parents, and wouldn't settle for less.
One day while riding in the woods she meets a handsome stranger. Duncan Armstrong stays at the neighbours' house. Phoebe and Duncan have much in common, they love outdoors, horses and do not care much for the conventions.
He is an adventurer, who left his home years ago to travel the world and study art.
Duncan is very much taken with Phoebe, and promises to help her discover the secret of the family ghost. Simon Marcham is the ancestor of the family, who has been
Phoebe reminded me of Jane Austen's Emma. Like Emma, she lives with her elderly father, and they are devoted to each other. She is the only child and the heiress to the family fortune. She knows her mind and does not shy away from expressing her opinions. Being a spinster in her 20s, she is allowed more freedom than the younger daughters of the upper echelons would have had.
For example, she is free to ride on her own, or in a male company, without a chaperone.
Thankfully, unlike Emma, she is not trying her hand at matchmaking and interfering into the other people's lives.
Phoebe misses her late Mum, and the quest (finding the secret of the family ghost) helps her to be closer to her mother, who in her turn tried to solve the old family mystery.
The paranormal element of the book is very much in the tradition of Regency period literature. It is not a malevolent spirit, but a rather melancholic figure, pining for his lost love.
It might be difficult to imagine a modern-age young man so much involved in the story of the star-crossed lovers, but keeping in mind, the action is taking place in the Regency period, it would be natural to expect young men to read melancholic poetry and cry over the sad verses.
The gentle style of the book retains old-world charm.
Disclosure: I received an e-copy of the book for the purposes of reviewing and taking part in the blog tour. You can check out what the other bloggers thought of this book, if you have a look at the schedule below.