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Why Echoes of Ballard House is a Must-Read for Paranormal Suspense Fans



Book review: Echoes of Ballard House

By E. Denise Billups


Official Blurb

Hidden secrets. Unearthed truths. Simone Doucet returns to uncover the sinister truth behind a series of murders within an opulent mansion in the heart of New Orleans’ Garden District.

 

Yearning to escape the confines of her New York City brownstone, Simone jumps at the opportunity to house-sit a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian home in her cherished New Orleans Garden District. Upon her arrival, the walls whisper ancient voices, the owner’s parrot mimics an eerie nightly tune, and elusive footsteps echo through the floorboards. Simone quickly discovers she is not alone in this majestic house.

 

Tackling the afterlife alone, Simone becomes entangled in the stories of three tormented souls caught in a web of greed, hatred, and infidelity. Their deadly secrets converge in a bone-chilling tale of murder. Yet, within the grandeur of Ballard House, Simone is far from alone.

 

The peril she faces extends beyond the spectral world, and she will soon confront evil from both the living and the dead. What dark secret lies hidden within the walls of Ballard House?


"Echoes of Ballard House is a Must-Read for Paranormal Suspense Fans."

 

My thoughts

⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

E Denise Billups is a maestro at storytelling and world-building. Echoes of Ballard House is a must-read for Paranormal Suspense fans. Here is a ghost story that draws the reader in with its intimate and intricate details connecting our “ghost-hunter”, Simone Doucet, with spirits that seek her help. Simone’s gift and willingness to accept it entwines her in the gruesome history of Ballard House as soon as she sets foot in the house.


Let's stop here so I can take you back to the Simone Doucet series book 1, Tainted Harvest. Book 1 is where we learn of Simone’s background. A travel writer, she lives in New York and grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Travelling back for a writing assignment at a luxury bed-and-breakfast, she discovers she has a gift for communicating with her dead ancestors. Simone's ancestor, Delphine, haunts the B&B. I won’t say more because I recommend you start at the start, with Delphine. Happy to say though that Simone is encouraged (compelled even) to write her ancestor’s story, which leads us to book 2, Wicked Bleu. Simone receives complimentary accommodation tickets in New Orleans for Mardi Gras Week and quickly discovers she was “brought” to town to solve another ancestral mystery, the death of Bleu Jasmine. Each book in the series leads into the next and at the end of Wicked Bleu, Simone visits a newly discovered distant cousin connected to the Bleu mystery at her home… Ballard House.


The side stories are as intricate as the central mystery!


The amount of American history research supporting these novels is nothing short of amazing. I particularly enjoy stories often hidden from history books and Billups includes these with great skill. Delphine in book 1 was a slave. Bleu in Book 2 was a prostitute. Joseph in Book 3 was the child of an illicit romance between an “upstanding” white man and a Creole teacher. The plotlines are more than ghostly. Contemporary tales, Simone's story, also add a few twists here and there.


E Denise Billups does not shy away from the racism her historic characters would have encountered, nor does she avoid the racism her contemporary characters experience. It forms an underlying theme and avoids overwhelming the paranormal suspense story. The characters strive on their journey through life. They aspire for freedom, a better life, for a voice. A voice which Billups expertly gives them.


On reading Echoes of Ballard House, I must admit that I had difficulty with the point of view, first person mostly with forays into third person, compounded by not knowing Simone Doucet’s back story. By reading the first two stories in the series, I could merge my reading style with Billups’ writing style and appreciate the access this gave me into her rich world. Her detailed descriptions and somewhat formal use of language suits the superbly structured narrative. Billups introduces and deftly juggles an ensemble of well-developed characters. Each is an individual thread at the start, woven into a perfectly balanced tapestry of emotion, history, and paranormal suspense.

 

Will I read more in this series? Yes, I will.


Do I recommend you read it? If you like creepy tales, ghostly mysteries, and otherworld suspense enveloped in fascinating settings and locations… what are you waiting for? There is a buy link below just for you!


Book cover featuring a heritage house backlit in red and black sky, shadowed tree in foreground.

Book information

 

  • Genre:  Paranormal Suspense

  • Print length: 280 pages

  • Age range: This is an adult book, but would be suitable for mature teens age 16+

  • Trigger warnings: Murders, historic racism

  • Amazon Rating: new book, not yet rated

  • This is the third in the Simone Doucet series, but reads well as a standalone novel (though I recommend reading books 1 and 2 first).

 



Black and white photo of female author.

About the author

E. Denise Billups was born in Monroeville, Alabama, and raised in New York City, where she currently resides. She’s a former Financial Analyst turned writer. A multi-genre fiction author, she’s published six novels and several supernatural short stories. A skilled artist, she trained as a dancer (ballet, modern, and jazz dance) in her younger years and dabbled in writing, which she would not pursue until much later.

 

As an avid reader of many genres, she was greatly influenced by magical realism, mystery, suspense, and supernatural novels. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s running miles in the park, finding her inner calm with yoga, experimenting with vegan dishes, and enjoying time with family and friends.

 

Connect with E. Denise Billups:

·       Website

·       Next Chapter Publishing

·       Facebook

·       Instagram





 I received a free copy of this novel with a request for an honest review. as part of a Coffee and Thorn Book tour.

A shorter version of this review will also appear on Amazon (Australia) and Goodreads.

1 Comment


Guest
Mar 29

Patricia, thank you for this fantastic review! I'm thrilled you enjoyed the story and the series.❤️❤️

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