So Fell The Sparrow by Katie Jennings – a Review
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A skeptic, a ghost hunter, a tech genius, and a medium. Will the spirits win?
After the tragic death of her parents, Dr. Grace Sullivan inherits more than she bargained for. An empty house she’s never heard of, a nosy neighbor, and the restless spirits of a violent, century old murder.
A hard-nosed skeptic, Grace refuses to believe in ghosts despite hearing sounds and seeing things that can’t be explained.
When she unearths antique furniture from the basement, the spirits become agitated and dangerous. Ian Black and Alex Gallagher, a team of ghost hunters, come in to investigate.
Still denying the paranormal events in her home, Grace can’t bring herself to take the ghost hunters or the psychic medium who teams up with them seriously. As Grace struggles with her grief and the feelings she’s developing for headstrong Ian, the disturbing mystery of the house deepens. Now she’ll have to face the unbelievable before the spirits claim her for their own.
As Jackie headed northeast toward the rising sun, a doctor five hundred miles away was receiving a late night phone call that would change her life forever.
And in Seattle, a ghost hunter awoke from a strange dream, the name of a woman he’d never met on his lips. Grace. He fell back asleep and forgot the dream, but fate had done its job. Soon he and his partner would hit the road on the hunt for the paranormal.
Four strangers were unknowingly en route to each other, bound for a tiny, seaboard town in Massachusetts.
To a house that had claimed the life of a sparrow.
This was an unusual beginning, as there are four central characters, but the female leads, Jackie and Grace, take center stage immediately; rich details of their backgrounds setting the mood for empathy. Their male counterparts, our dynamic ghost hunters, Ian and Alex, are introduced and explored, but our knowledge of them is limited to present-day interactions with the women. They’re so swoon-worthy, you won’t feel cheated, trust me. Honestly, I came to expect the unexpected with So Fell the Sparrow and was genuinely happy for having put my faith in author, Katie Jennings. Be warned: This is not a campfire tale to elicit quick thrills. This book’s effects linger…*yikes…I’m scaring myself all over again!*
Jackie is a nomadic medium whose ability of “sight” earned her father’s castigation and reproach for communicating with demons. Having the wherewithal to run away from a poisonous environment, Jackie embraces her gift, drifting from town to town, availing herself to the afterlife. A spirit encounter guides her to her next destination.
Grace, the rigid doctor who recently lost her parents in a car crash only to discover her fiancé in bed with her BFF (following her parents’ services!), has just arrived at the Sparrow House, a property inherited through her father’s will…but kept a secret. After a week of adjusting to the small town, fervent to keep interaction with the locals to a minimum, Grace experiences her first disturbance: the cries of a child. Mourning the loss of her parents, but rationalizing the grief with an excess of bitterness, Grace has now inherited unwanted attention.
“I need to know if there’s something about you that brought these spirits out. Nellie says she experienced nothing in the house until you arrived. Ergo, you are in some way, shape, or form, the crucial piece of the puzzle…The cloud that hangs over you may be what’s attracting these spirits. They’re drawn to you because you’re in a weakened emotional state.”
While honest, probably not the best pick-up line, Ian. Let me be direct: Grace was not an easy woman to love. She was quite nasty in fact. When she wasn’t lambasting Ian and Alex for their chosen profession (whose services were acquired by a good-intentioned neighbor), Grace was repeatedly insulting and kicking people out of the Sparrow House (don’t you dare call it her home). At some point during Grace’s introspection (she did consider she might be a wee abrupt), I was feeling a bit underwhelmed by the story and turned off my Kindle. When a particularly grueling stomach pain woke me up in the middle of the night, and I grew restless, I resumed reading. Big mistake! Ms. Jennings hit her stride when addressing the heart of the story: a ghost haunting. Praying the sound of “soft crying” so eerily described in the book was just in my head, since the cats were curled up on my bed completely exonerating them, I was thankful to live in a one-story home. For all intents and purposes, however, I immersed and traversed the creepy hall with Grace, assaulted by all the images it provoked. Well done!
When further proof of hostility invades the Sparrow House, and convinces Grace she needs Ian, Alex and Jackie’s expertise, a full investigation is set up for Halloween, when the veil between the living and dead is transparent. The suspense was deftly maintained by Ms. Jennings as we’d gleaned apparitions and witnessed a death scene in the harbor adjacent to the home. I was plagued by a myriad of hypotheticals; dying to go through the search and discovery! Kill me with the last line at the conclusion of Chapter 8…CHILLS!! Chapter 9 holds its own; keeping me riveted and mesmerized in absolute fear. WOW. And Ms. Jennings doesn’t let up! While the mysteries start to unfurl and piece together, the menace escalates, threatens, and manifests during a séance (amongst other “scare the shit out of you” moments). Wow is a paltry interjection. This is one scary mofo of a book!
Subtly interwoven are unique love stories (to dilute the terror, lol). While Grace and Ian are tempestuous personalities who survive off of sarcasm and red wine, their repeated clashes dare the other to take closer notice. They coalesce into a fiery harmony. Jackie’s childhood torment tethers her anger, but she resurrects like the Phoenix herself when Alex accepts her unconditionally. Fates, and a family tree, align this group to uncover evil and restore peace within the home and themselves. Freaking.loved.this.book!!!
Reviewed by Carmen
Copy provided by Author