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The Genealogist’s Guests by Ann Simpson

The Genealogist’s Guests, a paranormal mystery, by Ann Simpson is an interesting and fast-paced read.  Overall, the plot is intriguing and keeps you guessing, even though it sometimes feels like you’re reading a Soap Opera.  Elizabeth’s family has been through so much and continues to have so many evil things happen to them that you eventually guess what is going to happen next.

Simpson also does a wonderful job of weaving the past and present together in The Genealogist’s Guests. When I first started reading, I was worried that the two worlds wouldn’t seem real if they were mashed together, but when the worlds collide, they seem to make sense. This is mainly due to the fact that we learn the history of the family as the ancestors are being introduced and figure out the mystery right along with them.

Although the concept of the book and the plot work well, I wish Simpson had taken more time to flesh out her living-breathing characters.  Scenes often feel rushed, and because we often infer a character’s personality, readers need to have time to digest a character’s thoughts, actions and words. When a scene moves too fast, readers tend to forget details in the melee.

The Genealogist’s Guests is intriguing, but it could soar above mediocre if the author would look back over the work, or employ an editor, to fix the constant switches between past and present tense.  I understand that the book moves between characters from the past and present, but the switch does not need to occur in the middle of a paragraph. Actually, the switch doesn’t need to occur at all. A couple errors aren’t a problem, but I was constantly thrown out of the story due to the multiple tense switches. It seemed like the author had written the story first in one tense and then decided to change it, but didn’t catch everything.

Overall, The Genealogist’s Guests is interesting, fun, and fast-paced.  However, for a reader like me, I would have liked to slow down the action a little more to connect to the characters and suggest the work be re-edited.

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