Sommersgate House (Ghosts and Reincarnation 1) by Kristen Ashley
Narrated by Abby Craden
Standalone in a themed but unrelated series. Romance with some Ghosts.
I have deliberately held back on a few Kristen Ashley books so I have something to always look forward to. I have owned the Ghosts and Reincarnation Series for years but I have been saving them for a rainy day. But then they came out in audible, and I couldn’t wait any more. I’ll be honest. Sommersgate House was not one of my favorite Kristen Ashley books, but I hold her books up to a higher standard, and this was written 6 years ago. I still enjoyed every second of it, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t quite have the “epic” most KA books have for me.
My main issue? Third person. While I always prefer first, some third person is done really well and I barely notice it. That may be the case with Sommersgate House, but not in audio. The narrator was more of a narrator than an actor story-wise…yet she acted, so it kind of threw me off a little. Between the third person, a lord living in a castle, and a formal sounding narrator, Sommersgate House often gave me the feel of historical fiction.
*Note: Sommersgate House is originally the second book of the series, but Kristen Ashley has it as first in the series now. It is based off of a real house in England.
Julia’s sister lived in England at Sommersgate House with her husband and children until she and her husband passed away in an accident. The will stated that Julia must move from America to Sommersgate House to raise the children with her brother-in-law, Lord Douglas Ashton, who lives there with his witch of a mother. Sommersgate itself was almost it’s own character.
“Worst of all, the house was tense and make no mistake about it, even though it was simply mortar and stone (albeit grand mortar and stone), Sommersgate could most definitely be tense.”
Though the story focuses on the stern and formal Lord Ashton and the soft-hearted American, Julia, raising the kids who just lost their parents together, there is a whole side story about a couple who haunts the castle.
“No one knows the real story,” Mrs. K began. “Some say he killed her, some say someone else killed them both. The truth is, they found his body outside, dead from exposure and looking like he’d been trying to get in. They found The Mistress in the house and she’d been strangled.”
The ghosts were not the main story at all, but the presence is felt throughout the story. The main focus, of course, is the romance. Douglas Ashton is not your typical Kristen Ashley alpha with the alpha speak, but he is still an alphahole—just more polished than most of her others. And his formal way of speaking and thinking changed the feel of the book to much more old-fashioned than all of the books I have read from her except maybe The Will.
“He wanted this stubborn, tempestuous Julia Fairfax to disappear and an acquiescent, but still tempestuous, Julia Ashton to take her place. He wanted to brand her with his name and shackle her with his ring.”
Don’t worry though. It still has that KA feel.
“When he was going to have his fill of her, he didn’t know and he was beginning to doubt he ever would. Every time he had her, he wanted more, needed more, she was like a fucking drug.”
And he’s completely alpha.
“If you ever leave,” his voice had changed from soft to harsh, “I’ll find you and bring you back.”
My favorite part is the kids, and I loved the way the narrator portrayed them. I love books with kids, and Kristen Ashley writes some of the best of them. Sommersgate House was a very slow-burn romance, but you couldn’t miss the connection between the couple. So much so that the kids even played matchmaker. And once the two gave into their desires, you couldn’t deny the chemistry.
“I intend to sleep in sheets that smell of tangerines and jasmine. I intend to have your naked body squirming under mine. I intend to touch you everywhere with my hands and my mouth. I intend to memorize the taste of you, to make you call my name while I’m moving inside you, to make you so excited you beg me to let you come…”
- I love books with kids.
- I thought the paranormal/ghost element was fun and unique, and never took over the main romance.
- Another amazing KA epilogue.
- Douglas was a great alpha, and I loved how he went from a cold unfeeling ass to a KA alpha in the end.
- Those in-depth Kristen Ashley descriptions (I forgot about how detailed she used to be).
- I laughed and teared up.
- 3rd person—made me feel like I was watching rather than experiencing.
- The narrator was a bit too formal sounding.
- Had a very historical novel feel.
- Had a bit of a sad thread throughout the whole story.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4-4.25 stars, Heat- 3.75, Narration – 4