Book Review: The Haunting by Alan Titchmarsh

Gardening enthusiasts, especially those living in the U.K. will know of Alan Titchmarsh from his television appearances and his books on gardening. However, he also writes romantic fiction and has written several novels in this genre.

The Haunting is part history, part mystery, part romance and part ghost story, as the title suggests. It is not a “frightened to turn the lights off” ghost story, but a tale of a sad spirit lying dormant until disturbed. The supernatural element does not happen until later in the book and is a very small part of the story.

In 1816, Annie Flint, a young housemaid, disappears. A body is retrieved from the chalk stream, a place Annie frequents, but it is not Annie.

In 2010, divorced and disillusioned with his life, Harry Flint decides it is time for a change. He resigns from his job as a history teacher and buys a cottage in need of renovation. Harry is also an amateur genealogist attempting to solve the mystery of one of his ancestors.

The novel switches back and forth between the two centuries.  Harry’s is a simple love story, with plenty of heart warming scenes and also some sad ones involving minor characters. Annie’s story is a little more gritty, one of betrayal and tragedy.

I selected this book because of the historical setting and also the family tree aspect. Anyone who has researched their family tree and have leads peter out will empathise with Harry. From the start, it is obvious there is a connection between Annie and Harry because they share the same surname, but the  revelation regarding Harry's ancestor is unexpected and adds a nice little twist to the story

The Haunting is an easy read. The characters were developed enough to engage and the time switching was handled well. The romantic outcome was predictable, but it was the historical aspect that kept me interested to the end. A perfect book for that lazy afternoon.


  1. I reviewed The Haunting on my site a while ago and remember enjoying it. Genealogy mysteries and ghost stories are among my favorite types of books. By chance I came across a copy when I was visiting the UK, and I'd never heard of the book or author before. I don't think his gardening shows are broadcast in the US.

    1. We don't get his gardening shows here in Australia either. It came as a surprise that he writes romantic fiction. I'm off to read your review.