Book Review: The Spirit Guide by Elizabeth Davies

The late twelfth century was a time of unrest between the English and the Welsh. So long ago that it is easy to envisage a time of myth, magic and superstition, as well as one of bloody battles and violent deaths.

Seren is a sixteen-year-old gentlewoman able to see and communicate with spirits. When her home, Painscastle, is besieged by the Welsh, Seren is plunged into the chaos of war, assisting her mother in the treatment of the wounded and giving comfort to the dying.

Seren believes her gift to be a curse. Many of the dead refuse to acknowledge they are dead, some cursing and railing at their fate. The simple act of

touching conjure up visions Seren would rather not see.

Overcome by the sights and sounds around her, it is love at first sight for Seren when she is assisted by one of the knights defending the castle. Disappointed that she is unable to find him amongst the many knights and soldiers after the siege, she assumes he has already left and hopes their paths will cross again in the future.

Terrified of being accused of practising the black arts, Seren tries hard to conceal her gift, but difficulties arise when she becomes one of Lady Matilda de Braoses’ serving women and accompanies her new mistress to Hay Castle.

Here Seren meets Vaughan fitz Maddock, Lady Matilda’s adviser, but he is not what he seems and their first meeting leaves Seren shaken and puzzled. These initial feelings soon turn to fear and distrust when he begins to show more than a casual interest in her. Forced into a loveless marriage, Seren cannot escape fitz Maddock's plans, but she is not quite sure what they are or her role in them.

The Spirit Guide is a compelling read by an author who knows how to weave the strands of romance, history and the paranormal together.

From the gripping opening I knew I was going to enjoy this novel such was the intensity of Elizabeth Davies' writing. While the vivid descriptions of the horrific wounds, the dead and the dying were disturbing, they showed why Seren believes her gift to be a curse and how her inability at times to make distinctions between the living and the dead could place her life in jeopardy. It is a few months since I've read this novel, but I can still recall the impact of that opening.

Both the historical and fictional characters, including the paranormal ones, are well portrayed and interact with one another in a very credible way, though some readers may have difficulty with the love scenes between the dead and the living. For me, this was all part of the fantasy and worked well within the nature of the story, providing the same passion and angst as in an illicit romance between two corporeal beings.

Another great thing about this novel is the ending. No matter how much I tried, my imagination could not come up with a plausible one. All I can say is the story was resolved in a totally believable and spectacular fashion.

The Spirit Guide is a ghost story with a difference and is sure to be a hit with those who enjoy historical romance with paranormal elements. Even if you're not into this genre, it is worth taking a chance on, for the plot and historical period are as enticing as the writing style. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to Elizabeth Davies for providing a free copy to read and review.


  1. Awesome review. I remember getting this book from Davies in the past as well and doing a read/review on it. I was as impressed with her and her skills as you are. You've brought back some fantastic memories for me on this book; me'thinks it's time for a re-read. :)

    1. Thank you, Sarah. Yes, this book was an unexpected delight. I'm looking forward to reading The Medium Path,also about spirit guides. Enjoy your re-read!