I’ve always loved history, so when I was offered the opportunity to visit a six hundred year old house and actually stay there, you can imagine how thrilled I was! A small red-brick medieval manor house in the south of England, it was everything I had thought it would be. It had massive wooden beams on ceilings and walls, flag stone floors downstairs, oak floorboards upstairs, tiny leaded windows and a huge inglenook fireplace (so big you could stand inside it). It was truly magical.
Until they told me where I was to sleep.
‘We’ve put you in the haunted guest room, but don’t worry, the ghost won’t hurt you,’ I was told. ‘He’s more the mischievous kind, you know, likes to open and shut the front door, walk around in the attic and stuff like that.’
Don’t worry? Who were they kidding? I’ve no idea what I replied, but I’ve always been scared of ghosts so I dreaded the night to come. I tried to pretend that everything was fine, since my hosts clearly weren’t afraid of ghosts and were, in fact, amused by theirs. Amused? I couldn’t get my head round that, but it takes all sorts I guess.
The time came for me to go to bed and I decided to employ a childhood tactic – if I couldn’t see or hear the ghost, perhaps it wouldn’t notice me either? So I buried myself under the covers with only my nose sticking out and put cotton wool in my ears. Couldn’t see or hear a thing. But it didn’t stop my imagination of course (I am a writer after all!).
I don’t think I slept at all and I’ve never been so glad to see daylight! But it was to be the first of many visits and I always stayed in that room so I sort of got used to it after a while. Really though, I think the laugh was on me because the owners of the house eventually told me what the ghost looked like – tall, blond and handsome, and wearing chain mail! I think if I’d known that from the start, I would have stayed awake just to see him! Sadly, I never did.
Anyway, the experience wasn’t completely wasted as I decided to write a story based on this ghost. I figured that anyone whose soul had hung around for more than 600 years had to have a very good reason for it, so that’s how my latest novel The Silent Touch of Shadows came to be. Here’s a short blurb:
What will it take to put the past to rest?
Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery.
Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference?
A haunting love story set partly in the present and partly in fifteenth century Kent.
I have a signed copy of this book to give away, just leave a comment telling me what you would have done – hide from the ghost or try and meet him!?
About the Author:
Christina is vice chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association. She won their Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for a historical short story in 2001 and Katie Fforde Bursary for a promising new writer in 2006.
In 2011, Christina’s first novel Trade Winds (Sept 2010) was short listed for The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Award for Best Historical Fiction. Her second novel, The Scarlet Kimono, won the Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction Award, and in 2012, her third novel Highland Storms won the Best Historical Romantic Novel of the year award (RoNA).
Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).
Find Christina online at
Facebook: Christina Courtenay