Caroline’s House by Beverly Sims

Caroline’s House by Beverly Sims
Publisher: Siren-BookStrand
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (306 pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/F, F/F, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism, Forced Seduction
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by: Phlox

Caroline Fleming returns to her hometown and buys the old house that she has loved for years.

It comes with a resident spirit, one Malcolm Hanson, who has been dead for years, and who makes an art form at seduction and lovemaking. He is without scruples, manners, or chivalry in his quest for willing partners, of which there are many.

Caroline’s newfound love for Larry Gardner angers the ghost and sets him out for revenge. Caroline and Larry, along with their friends and a beautiful hooker, find a way to handle Malcolm while learning the secrets of the old house that sits high on a hill overlooking the furious Pacific Coast.

They also learn that sex does not have to be for couples only and that love can be shared in many ways.

Though it begins with the usual unexplainable occurrences, Caroline’s House is not your typical ghost story. Caroline suspects the house is haunted almost from the moment she buys it. Slowly but surely, she discovers how very haunted the spot is and by whom, which leads to her involvement with a jealous ghost lover, Malcolm, a jealous living lover, Larry, and enough ghosts to cause a paranormal researcher paroxysms of glee.

Ms. Sims descriptive passages invite the reader into the house and into the landscape. The Oregon coastal town, the big house on the sea cliff, the little diner owned by Caroline’s friend, Georgia, all leap off the page for the reader to devour. Love scenes are rendered with heat and feeling and there is certainly no lack of imagination in the sex or in the explanations for the hauntings.

I did have some difficulty with the dialogue, which was sometimes a bit stilted and could have been rendered less distracting by the use of contractions. Some of the characters had an uneven feel as the novel progressed, matched by the somewhat uneven tone of the book. We begin with some wonderful spider-feet-up-your-back scenes where Caroline sees and hears things she is unable to explain, a tender, thoughtful ghost lover and a leering, overly proud living love interest. About a third of the way in, the mood shifts dramatically as the spine-tingling passages disappear and an atmosphere of more earthly frustration and despair take over. Malcolm deteriorates from a misunderstood rascal to a vindictive, selfish monster while Larry shifts between the strong, understanding hero and something of a drama queen.

Caroline, though, remains true to herself throughout the story. Smart, sensitive and wounded by a recent divorce, she keeps her head in trying and often frightening circumstances, refusing to be run out of her house no matter what any blob of ectoplasm might say about it. The plot clips along at a good pace and Ms. Sims has a gift for description I would encourage her to exploit to its full extent in future works.

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