I enjoyed the essence of The Good Sisters, which surprised me as once it got underway I was inwardly despairing, due to my dislike for a certain genre of fiction rather than anything else. But actually once that got out of the way I was able to compartmentalise it and read the book as a pure horror/ghost story. Just to add to the mix I thought reading it around the time of Halloween would add an extra 'je ne sais quoi' to the experience!

The characters themselves are interesting and likeable enough, from Sister Agnes to the present house-owner Kate and her builder Ollie. Even Ollie's building buddies Jack and Ethan had me cheering them on and smiling at their antics. The ending too, whilst predictable, was also a good apt drawing up of the story.

But, and here it comes, I often wished I could have given up on it. Actually maybe that is a little unfair, I wanted to put it down at the beginning (and perhaps I would have done had I not requested it for review), but whilst it irritated me throughout, by halfway through I wanted to see it through to the end.

My problem was the writing, I just didn't like it. It felt like Helen Phifer just didn't have hold of the story at all at times. There was an uneven timeline (which is one of my major bugbears), and repetition of the phrasing "to a woman of all people". I mean, would it have been better the house being sold to a man? And then why keep repeating it? It was not needed and just made the writing feel shoddy and undeveloped.

The whole romantic attractions between Kate and Ollie was equally annoying, with the initial development of it sounding clumsy and erratic. This, coupled with the general lack of control and naïve writing style, was what made it hard for me to want to continue reading it. The style did improve slightly but in reality it was the characters which held it together for me throughout. I don't think that is a bad thing though!

Like all good ghost/horror stories, they seem to be better if the spirits/entities are unseen for as long as possible; the sightings of them often spoiling the "woo" factor which serves to unnerve us. My feeling is that probably holds true here too. I was just disappointed by the reality of it, but then I'm much more scared by the horrors my mind can conjure than any presented spectre on page or screen.

So for me this was a bit of a flop I'm afraid. The essence was good but the delivery of it more than failed to hit the mark I'm afraid to say.