A GHOST AND HIS GOLD: A BOOK REVIEW

A Ghost and His Gold combines the paranormal with intense violent battle scenes from 1899-1902; it features three ghosts not only haunting a house and its occupants in present-day South Africa but who are themselves haunted by events in their past lives; it’s a story about seeking forgiveness and ultimately finding redemption.

Furthermore the book explores not only the horror of war, concentration camps, scorched earth policy but also date rape, rape, violence against women. Can any ever be forgiven? Can anyone carrying out these acts ever find peace within themselves and acceptance by loved ones again?

Initially, A Ghost and his Gold appears to be a normal paranormal ghost story as Michelle and Tom, both working in the finance sector although she is also a part-time writer, move into their new home. The new townhouse is situated on the site of an old Boer homestead. Michelle immediately senses and sees a presence in the house, one that makes itself known to them and their friends during a party using an Ouija board. Tom, a hard-nosed realist, is sceptical that the man named Pieter was there or even existed.

From the close-third person narrative in 2019, the novel switches to 1900 and Pieter is in his house with the family as he is woken by banging on the door with a warning that the ‘khakis’ (British soldiers) are on the way.

It is in the midst of the Second Anglo Boer War and the events focus on Pieter, his strong-willed wife, their daughter Estelle and other children. Estelle is treated with contempt by her mother, a woman who later rejects her.

As another ghost called Robert makes itself known to Michelle, she discovers his journal written whilst he was a British soldier during the war. The first-person perspective of the journal is especially powerful, personal and direct. During the siege of Mafeking, Robert befriends a young man called Richard and he takes him under his wing.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s research of the period is impressive. Yet she does not fall into the trap of using all her knowledge with a flood of information, rather skilfully incorporates detail where necessary; be it of the furniture or buildings of the era, the form of travel, clothes and she is particularly adept at writing battles scenes, the weapons used, their tragic consequences. I felt as if I was in the midst of the carnage, feeling the horrors experienced by Robert, Pieter and the others.

Whilst Pieter and some of his family and friends have some reservations about the war, their women have no such qualms and see no other option for their ‘Volk’. Tragically they suffer dreadfully during the war and these scenes in the book are not easy to read, horrors repeated many times throughout history and alas in present times.

The third ghost is a poltergeist who first appears on Michelle’s computer screen — this part of the book had me jumping back in fright as I read it! Estelle is consumed with ferocious anger against Tom and as she starts to haunt him he suffers nightmares and becomes increasingly sick, all the time unaware of the cause of his illness. Michelle knows the cause, Estelle, but why does Estelle hate Tom with such frightening malice and enmity? Slowly I learned her history through her own third-person narrative.

Throughout the author manages the nigh-impossible; equally portraying the ruthlessness and violence of both sides as well as their humanity and warmth. It is heart-wrenching to see how the mutual loathing and hatred intensified as the battles were protracted and that both Robert and Pieter, who had briefly met in battle, lose their kindheartedness and compassion. It is only in death that they realise the true cost of war and that so many wrongs need to be righted for them to find peace, for Estelle to be freed from her path of vengeance. However, they need help and at last through Michelle, they have found it!

The finale of the book had me totally engrossed as I read late into the night, with the story building to a crescendo of action and emotional pinnacle I could see no resolution. Luckily the author had and with expertise she brings the book to a terrific conclusion and some light in the darkness.

A brief note regarding the start of the book which begins with a list of names of famous characters from the era along with a timeline of major events. I couldn’t wait to read the novel and skipped these informative pages. They are a valuable resource but feel they might be better placed at the back of the book. The shorter explanatory notes scattered throughout the novel are extremely helpful.

This is not a book for the faint-hearted, or those seeking a simple ghost story or cosy read. One recommended for readers looking for a thought-provoking, action-packed novel with a rich variety of characters set in historical times with a paranormal twist!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Publisher: TSL Publications

Available to purchase:

TSL Publications (ebook and paperback)

Lulu

Amazon

147 thoughts on “A GHOST AND HIS GOLD: A BOOK REVIEW

  1. Your reviews are always such great hooks, Annika, though I’ve been waiting for this book for since Robbie first posted about it. Her research is always impressive and adds so much reality and intensity to her books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can’t wait to read it. 🙂

  2. Excellently written review Annika but, as a result, I have no intention of reading it. If I find myself unexpectedly in the middle of uncomfortable reading I’ll stick with it. I won’t buy it in the knowledge of what’s in store. I’ll read about kittens instead 🙂

    1. 😀😀Roy, kittens are probably safer! 😀 I didn’t mean to put anyone off the book but reviews are great for readers to gauge books and see if they are in the genre to their liking etc!

  3. The title and the cover of this book is awesome! A wonderful review, Annika. I love your descriptions of haunting a house and haunted by events in their past lives. I am left with wondering about a concept “…normal, paranormal…?” Robbie has a reputation for writing excellent, engaging, well-researched books. This sounds like a perfect Summer (possibly camping) read where I can immerse myself in the book. I find the comments here fascinating. One that stands out is Robbie’s “…a huge amount of emotion and psychology to wars.” Thank you for sharing a great review!

    1. Erica, I can see this being a perfect book for your camping trip … and just hope nobody expects you to join in the conversation for a while as you’re wrapped up in the story! The research is incredible and the era relayed with ease. One of those times when I want to learn even more about people and events from the time. I too was taken with Robbie’s approach to war and she has portrayed the emotional and psychological aspect of it brilliantly. A book that will stay with you and so glad you enjoyed my review! Happy Reading, my friend! Xx

  4. Pingback: A GHOST AND HIS GOLD: A BOOK REVIEW – kidolikid

    1. Curt, wamest thanks – that means a lot! Great question! Although I’ve never seen a ghost I’ve experienced my moments of ‘something else’. Particularly in one house the sense of a kind presence, warmth near the floor and the very pleasant smell of freshly baked bread. Slightly odd as this was not in the kitchen but another area of the house. Later, talking to the builder he said the old small bungalow layout put the kitchen exactly where I often felt those sensations. Spooky but never scary – thankfully! Now, what about you? Any ghosts pass your way in all your amazing travels/work?

      1. I’ve had two encounters, Annika. Or I should say two and one half. The first was the scariest. I was cleaning my dad’s apartment right after he passed away and lights started being turned off and on. And then one of the faucets started spouting water. I got the heck out of there. The other was when Peggy and I were visiting the grave of John Brown the Presbyterian martyr in Scotland. He was killed in the 1600s and was a Great Grandfather to the umpteenth to me. We had to walk though someone’s property to get to the grave and I thought I would ask permission. A woman dressed up to look like someone from the 1600s was working out on the porch. I went over to talk with her and she ignored me but disappeared downward. I figured she had a a basement. I walked a bit farther and discovered that the floor of the porch was solid rock. 🙂 The other was when Peggy and I were doing a Halloween tour of Ft. Mifflin near Philadelphia. I had ancestors there who had been killed during the American Revolution and the fort is renowned for bing one of the most haunted sights in America. We were half way through the tour when we got separated from our group in an old bunker. We went looking for them down a hallway where Peggy thought she has seen them go except the hallway was bricked in. The docent had told us some great tales of the ghost experiences that he had had in the area over the years so we were well prepared for ghosts. Right about then the hurricane lantern giving us light, went poof and out, leaving us in the dark. Whether one of my dead ancestors, who had been cut in half by a British cannonball was trying too get in touch with us was moot. We got the heck out of there as well. Some fun. –Curt

        1. Yikes! Curt, you’ve had intense and fascinating encounters / events from the past visit you in present day! Fascinating and very spooky indeed … I would have loved to learn more from the woman in 1600s. Incredible times for you.

  5. Annika, I have said it before but it is again true. You are a superb reviewer. If I
    ever got round to write a book I would plead with you for a review.
    You are dropping us into Roberta Cheadle’s book without pre-amble. I am breathless as I follow the events you paint so sensitively.

    It sounds as the book is showing humans both at their best and worst. Set in a dramatic period. Robbie has done a great work here.

    Miriam

    1. Bless! 😀 Miriam, heartfelt thanks for your wonderful comment and it means so much that you find my reviews both enjoyable and helpful! Oh, I’d love to review your book – no need to plead! ❤️

      I think the lack of preamble to the book was as I wrote this immediately as I finished the book and it was still so fresh in my mind and I wanted to share it straightaway! Robbie does a great job of putting the reader directly into the story whilst still placing us firmly with the characters and time. The pace of the book is at times so intense hence the feeling of breathlessness conveyed in my reivew.

      Yes, humanity is explored with expert psychological intent and what is especially frightening is how ordinary kind men are turned to violence the more they are exposed to it, the more ruthlessness they encounter on the battlefield, and the more their people are affected by the war. Frigthening scenario played out aroud the world. Robbie has indeed written a tour de force book! I am most impressed!

      Wishing you a peaceful sunny Sunday, Miriam! xx

  6. petespringerauthor

    Super review, Annika. I’ve been planning to pick this one up for some time now. I’m still waiting for it to come out on Kindle on Amazon. It’s definitely on my future TBR list.

    1. Hi Pete, I am also waiting for it to come on Amazon as a kindle book. It is really taking a long time for this book. Apparently, Amazon did some upgrades recently which has created a backlog. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    1. Jacqui, it more than measures up on that point! I have tried to read just war books and couldn’t… it has to be about the people, how they are affected in the bigger picture of a war! A superb book on so many levels!

      1. Maybe War and Peace, or We Were Soldiers Once and Young. I watched the Hemingway documentary last week and I think For Whom the Bell Tolls is more the human side of war (I haven’t read it).

    1. Jacquie, thank you so much! I only heard about it recently and was immediately intrigued – a book I had to read! I look forward to your review and thoughts about it. Robbie is definitely a superb and natural storyteller … can’t wait for her next book!

  7. Reblogged this on Writing to be Read and commented:
    If you follow “Writing to be Read”, you know Robbie Cheadle for one or more of her monthly blog series, (“Growing Bookworms”, “Treasuring Poetry”, or “Dark Origins”), but you seldom see the author side of her. Today, Annika Perry offers a review of Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s latest paranormal historical release and her first adult novel, “A Ghost and His Gold”. Drop over to her site and learn more about Robbie’s new book.

  8. This is a very helpful and engaging review Annika. It almost makes me want to push through my sensitivity and aversion to the themes of war and ghosts. Kudos Robbie, it seems you’ve done a great job of blending story, history, tragedy, and humanity.

    1. Brad, thank you. I try to be honest in all my reviews, to capture the essence of the book and its themes … obviously each of us look for different things in a book. Reviews are there to help us make that choice!😀

    2. Hi Brad, thank you for visiting and for you lovely comment. This book is not for everyone but I am really delighted that Annika appreciated the themes and intention behind this book. My purpose was to investigate the psychology of this war and how it laid the foundation for the future of South Africa.

  9. A fabulous detailed review of this book, Annika! I keep waiting for this story to appear on Amazon Kindle and I keep checking. I look forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Jan, warmest thanks and it was a terrific book to review! I actually bought the ebook version of the book on TSL publication website and then used a simple transfer system I found online to convert it to mobi and send to my kindle. All in about a few minutes – let me know if you want me to explain in more detail what I did.

    2. Hi Jan, I am also waiting for the ebook to appear on Amazon. It is really taking a long time. Apparently, Amazon has been making some changes over the past few weeks which has slowed things down. Thanks for visiting and your support.

    1. Annette, I love your comment, thank you! 😀 I was almost worried my review was becoming an analytical essay but decided to let it run its course, it suited Robbie’s book perfectly, I felt and I had so much to say!

  10. Your review is great but I have to admit that I like cozy mysteries and novels about quirky people who end up a-okay. Anything intense or too serious and I have nightmares for weeks after reading it. 😳

    1. Ally, thank you and I appreciate your candour! The purpose of reviews is just that, allowing potential readers to gauge whether a book is for them, if not it is still enjoyable to read about different books! My next book to be reviewed is fair more cosy yet quirky! Shouldn’t give any nightmares at all! 😀

  11. It sounds like a VERY intense read. Robbie always does excellent research, a highlight of all her work. I wish her the best on this one, though after reading the review, I think it will be too intense for me. As Pam said it;s a testament to Robbie’s skill that she can bring scenes and characters so vividly to life.I know she has written this true to history with her impeccable research. Wishing her all the best with A Ghost and His Gold!

    1. Mae, the research for this book must have been incredible and Robbie’s knowledge is woven in seamlessly – I was in awe how easily I was transported to the 1900s and then back to present-day South Africa! See-sawing between the two but it worked perfectly and provided for a wonderfully compelling read.

    1. Jina, thank you for you lovely comment about the review and yes, an intense book indeed. The gift of reviews is to share just enough of a book for others to make an informed choice! My next book review is on the gentle cosy spectrum and then a book for older children!

    1. Hi Liz, thank you for your support. I hope you enjoy A Ghost and His Gold. It is meant to be a novel that considers the psychology of this war and how it set the stage for the future of South Africa so it is an intense read. Annika’s review is wonderful and I am bowled over that she took so much away from this book.

      1. You’re welcome, Robbie. I’m looking forward to learning more about the history South Africa–and of course getting to know the characters. Annika’s review really is exceptional, so well-done.

    1. Pat, that’s great and I’m glad I’ve tempted you to read the book! You’re right, it took a lot of thought to write the review, particularly as there was so much I wanted to say but needed to organise my ideas!

  12. Robbie’s writing is so good that reading a book like A Ghost and HIs Gold is not for the faint-hearted. She and I have “talked” about this several times. I admire her writing and enjoy many of her books. This one will probably be too intense for me, but that’s not a criticism at all. It’s an acknowledgment of Robbie’s skill at writing truth within the historical and paranormal aspects of “life.” Excellent review, Annika. And Robbie. CONGRATS on another fabulous publishing achievement.

    1. Pam, more than ever I appreciate book reviews and the gift they give in providing just enough knowledge about a book, its content, themes and emotions to allow a potential reader to decide whether it will suit them. I totally agree, if a book is not to one’s personal taste it is not a matter of the writing rather that, as here, ‘It’s an acknowledgment of Robbie’s skill at writing truth within the historical and paranormal aspects of “life.’

      1. Yes yes yes. I dislike it when someone says they don’t like a book but then go on and saying that they don’t like the genre of that particular book. So that readers book review would be bogus if they gave it a bad review just because they don’t like that kind of genre. A book can be absolutely magnificent but not reach a reader who is not attuned to that particular style. Robbie‘s writing is superb and I have really enjoyed the books of hers that I have read. 💜

    1. Priscilla, thank you! An excellent book to review and share here. Robbie is indeed a talented writer and wonderfully versatile. I can see her historical fiction novels becoming highly popular, and rightly so!

    1. Jill, thank you so much! An intense book and think this is reflected in the review! Oh, the research must have been phenomenal and Robbie weaves her acquired knowledge seamlessly into the novel!

  13. Wow! A great review. Well-written and informative. Robbie does such great research, I´m not surprised it is reflected in the story. It is so good when a reader gets what the writer is trying to convey through her novel. Well done both of you.

    1. Awww … thank you so much, Darlene! At one stage I was concerned my review was becoming more of an essay/analysis but then felt it warrented deeper exploration of the themes and subject matter. I agree, Robbie’s research is phenomenal. She conveyed the Boer War era perfectly, I understood the historical events with ease, the development of the war on both sides and loved all the detail of the time period which was slipped in naturally into the story. A terrific book and fantastic research by her!

    2. Hi DArlene, I was simply thrilled that Annika understood the themes and intent of this book so well. It is very gratifying. I know this is an intense read and not for everyone, but I am pleased that Annika enjoyed this book.

  14. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Author Annika Perry has shared a wonderfully comprehensive review of A Ghost and His Gold.

    Annika is a great author and has a superb collection of short stories as well as a lovely book for children so do take a look at them while you are there.

    Thank you, Annika.

    1. Thank you so much, Margaret! I must say I’ve never literally jumped whilst reading a book before – shows the power of Robbie’s writing! Books are very personal choices so see you how go with this one. I really appreciate you reading my post and your comment.

  15. Hi Annika, Thank you so much for this wonderfully comprehensive review of A Ghost and His Gold. I am really delighted that you took so much away from this book; it is a wonderful thing for me that you understood and appreciated the themes and intentions of a book so well. I am also glad that you picked up on the modern themes and how so many things have not changed in our lives, despite our forward momentum as a species. I note you comment about the timeline and character list and will certainly take your advice and move this to the back in my current book. Thank you for that.

    1. Robbie, my pleasure and I’m glad you liked the review! Congratulations on a wonderful achievement and I’m awe how you manage to write with skill and assurance across so many genres. This is a truly far-reaching novel and starting the review I felt I had to encompass the whole at the very beginning with regard to themes and topic. I wondered whether to say anything about the forematter of the book but didn’t want anyone to be put off from what is an outstanding book. I can’t wait to read you next book!

  16. It’s another very good book. I have to read it more carefully, but her previous history based book “While the bombs fell” was already very reality-based. Thank you for the deep going and wonderful review. Michael

    1. Michael, thank you so much and I’m glad you enjoyed my review. You are so right about Robbie’s great variety of books – she has a natural flair in so many genres. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘While the bombs fell’, particularly as it is set very close to where I live and my husband’s parents were young here during the war. Robbie’s children’s books look amazing and real gems. Then this book – totally different from her previous work yet superb and wonderfully self-assured.

      1. Robbie always makes a very deep going research, That are great efforts. Her children books with recipes are wonderful tools, for education. I regret that these children’s books are not available in German. On the other hand, in the German-speaking countries we have an educational system that is very different from the Anglo-American system. Mostly there is only the kindergarten, as a kind of “child storage facility”. While you start very early with researching and promoting individual abilities.

        1. Hi Michael, that is very interesting. I think what you are saying is that these sorts of fantasy books for children would not be encouraged after kindergarden as children are expected to become focused on more serious subjects. That is interesting and I wonder if it works better in developing responsible adults. I also wonder if it impacts on creativity and inventiveness? A most interesting idea for me to consider.

    1. Mel, a very personal question … I wouldn’t read horror books or see horror films yet don’t mind novels or films where violence is an intergral and important part of the story, in this case based on fact. Gratuitous violence is a definite no for me! Also, there is a whole story throughout the book so the violence is not continuous at all.

  17. This sounds a scorcher of a book, Annika, though one where I might have to avert my eyes at times. The premise is fascinating- a terrific way to tell a story, or many stories- in an era I deliberately don’t know much about, because some of those actions are hard to understand. Many thanks for sharing. 🙂 🙂

    1. Jo, a great and accurate description – ‘scorcher of a book’! It was not at all what I’d expected and delved much deeper into serious issues whilst still a totally compelling story. As I am very interested in history I loved learning more about the era and fascinating how much of what is happening later in our world can be traced back to this war. A book that will stay with me, haunt me!

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