"The Haunting of Hillwood Farm" by Kathryn Knight
Author: Kathryn Knight
Narrator: Kristin James
Length: 5 hours 18 minutes
Publisher: Kathryn Knight⎮2019
Genre: Paranormal Romance; Suspense
Release date: Apr. 15, 2019
After tragedy strikes, Callie Sinclair is left with a gift she never wanted - the ability to communicate with ghosts. But when a desperate widow begs for her help, she reluctantly agrees to investigate the strange occurrences at Hillwood Farm. She quickly realizes she’s dealing with a dangerous presence beyond anything she’s ever experienced, and something else becomes equally clear - the only other living person in the house, Mrs. Turner’s handsome grandson, thinks she’s a scam artist. While she’d prefer to just ignore him, her heart beats a little faster every time he’s nearby.
Luke Turner doesn’t believe in spirits. He’s moved back to restore the family farm, but living on the property serves a dual purpose - he can watch out for his grandmother. He’s not happy about the sudden appearance of a self-described psychic, or his inexplicable attraction to her. His initial suspicions crumble as evidence points to an actual haunting, but he’s still determined not to fall for Callie - the past has taught him it’s best to avoid relationships.
As Callie is drawn deeper into the mystery, she becomes the target of a vengeful spirit, and Luke can no longer fight his feelings for her. Unable to resist their desire, passion ignites…even as the paranormal activity escalates to a final deadly confrontation.
While I found several aspects of this book to be a little flat or sketchy on detail, I enjoyed the listen. The characters were not the most interesting or unique I've ever come across, but they were pleasantly...normal, and several of the scenes were shiver-inducing. I enjoyed Ms. James's portrayal of the characters as well (especially Alice). All in all, " The Haunting of Hillwood Farm " was a nice palate-cleanser after a stretch of pretty focus-intensive work and a heavy reading list.
The plot centered around two things: a pair of ghosts at cross purposes to one another regarding the main characters, and the insta-romance between Luke and Callie. I have to admit that I found the former more appelaing than the latter, though Callie and Luke grew on me slowly. They seemed to just be straight-up good people who'd both been hurt badly in the past, and seeing them come together to heal each other's broken hearts was kinda sweet. Their mutual affection for Alice also broughtthem together on a different level--even if the sly old lady was subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) playing matchmaker. As an avid romance reader, I was a little disappointed when the consumation of their relationship was handled as a fade-to-black scene, but by that point I liked them and was so much more interested in figuring out the ghost thing that it was a minor issue.
And speaking of the ghost thing...
The author left a lot of the figuring-out to her readers. So much so that sometimes the events didn't make sense at first glance. All is revealed by the end, thankfully, but there were some points when I found myself asking "Why is this even happening to X? It doesn't make any sense!" Honestly, the whole thing kinda wrapped up like a Scooby Doo episode--which is not meant as an insult in any way! That's one of the things that made this a pleasant, low-investment listen. There was a pleasant rhythm and pace to the story, with the events that happened in Callie's apartment adding just enough fear and spice to keep the reader from getting bored.
Kristin James was a good choice of narrator for this story. She performs male and female characters with equal skill and is able to differentiate them without melodrama or exaggeration. I did have the speed on my book turned up just a teeny bit, which put her narration at the perfect pace. The audio recording was clean and professional, free of any skips, volume changes, or distracting ambient noise.
Bottom line: Not my favorite paranormal read by any means, but it came to me at the perfect time and ended up being just the book I needed in my reading-life. If you enjoy a little romance with your spooky happenings, but want something that doesn'trequire an intense amount of concentration to follow, then I absolutely recommend "The Haunting of Hillwood Farm".
** I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Kathryn Knight. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.**