The Haunting of Hattie Hastings (Parts 1, 2 & 3) by @audbyname Mini #BookReviews #GhostStory

I was in the mood for something different and this fit the bill perfectly. A serialised novel, it tells the story of Hattie who is happily married to Gary. They have a teenage son Johnny who sometimes tries Hattie’s patience, as teenagers tend to do. Cat, Hattie’s best friend since primary school, has thankfully ditched her controlling husband and is much happier. Her brother Jack is in a strong relationship with his partner, Ben. Hattie’s mother Rachel is an elegant lady with a few gentlemen friends who is about to face a frightening battle. 

All the novellas are now published so I was really pleased to be able to read them consecutively.

Part 1

Returning from a night out, Gary volunteers to clean the kitchen after Johnny’s efforts at cooking himself a meal and takes the trash out to the bin. Hattie is upstairs when she hears a bang and, rushing to the window, sees a car screeching away. Hattie’s life changed forever that night. Nearly twenty-one years of marriage brought to an end by a hit and run driver. Hattie is devastated but almost before she’s had time to process the changes in her life she has a huge shock when Gary materialises in front of her.

Standing before her, grinning from ear to ear, was Gary. A whisky tumbler in one hand and her glass of God knows what in the other. He looked exactly the same as the night he died, down to his drainpipe jeans and Bowie T-shirt he’d had since his twenties and refused to bin despite it having more holes than O J Simpson’s defence plea.

Other storylines are woven in with Hattie and Gary’s—Cat’s ex has turned up like the bad penny he is, just when Cat needs it least with a new relationship just beginning. Johnny is being a typical adolescent male and Hattie’s mum Rachel has her own problem to deal with. 

Part 2

The story continues with Gary not knowing why he’s still earthbound and his spirit guide Clarence isn’t telling. All he’ll say is that Gary has a mission to complete before he can move on. Perhaps it has something to do with young Marty, a boy Gary has befriended in the afterlife. Hattie, trying to get on with life, is getting used to Gary dropping in and out even if his timing is sometimes not the best. She’s relieved and dumbfounded in equal measure when she gets a visit from Cat telling her about Gary’s appearance and Stewart’s return.

‘I can’t imagine what was the bigger shock; Gary appearing or Stewart turning up like that. He’s really got some nerve, after the way he treated you, Cat. I hope you slam the door in his self-satisfied mug if he dares to show up again.’

Hattie’s very happy that Johnny is growing up and getting his life together, but her mother has had some devastating news.

Part 3

Gary has asked Hattie to pass on a very sensitive message, something she’s not looking forward to at all. It was bad enough trying to convince Cat about Gary, now she needs to convince people she doesn’t even know. On top of that, Cat seems to be falling for Stewart’s manipulations again, even after all her efforts to reassert herself and rebuild her life. And as if Hattie hasn’t enough to worry about, Gary’s visits are getting less frequent and he’s unable to materialise for long. 

‘Babe. I’m here.’ His voice was weak, diminished, as feeble as a whisper carried away on a breeze. Hattie looked up and gasped. Gary was hardly visible, a shadow of his former ghostly self. Not even a shadow, just a vague imprint. 

Rachel is having a rough time but she has someone she can lean on, someone who is only too willing to be there for her, as well as her family. She has always been strong and has every intention of fighting the disease ravaging her body.

I’ve loved reading these novellas. Even though the story is basically about death, there’s humour and light hearted banter to offset the more serious side, although it does deal with some weighty issues as well, including dealing with loss, letting go and losing a child. Audrey Davis has tackled everything sympathetically and with care, her take on the afterlife intriguing and thought provoking.

The characters are convincing, well developed and endearing, however I did want to shake some sense into Cat at one point. Fortunately Gary came to the rescue in a wonderfully comedic scene. I really cared about them all, there was humour, sadness, a few tears and a wonderfully satisfying ending.

Book links ~ Amazon UK \ Goodreads

About the Author

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.
Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, less farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!’
After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.
Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between use, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …
Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.
It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an on line Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Parts Two and Three will see the light of day in early/mid 2018, after which she might have a wee lie down …

Audrey’s social media links ~ Website \ Twitter 

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