A Ghost and His Gold
by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
About A Ghost And His Gold
A Ghost and His Gold
Publisher TSL Publications (1/27/2021)
Number of Pages 264 pages
After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.
Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?
After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.
Michelle Cleveland characterisation
Michelle is the young wife of Tom Cleveland, an equity partner at the prestigious auditing and advisory firm, Kellerman, James & Thompson. Michelle is also a chartered accountant but has elected to run her own small company offering bookkeeping and tax services to selected clients. This choice allows Michelle to work flexible hours and spend some of her time developing her writing skills. Michelle hopes to become a published author.
The reader first meets Michelle as the competent hostess of a housewarming party thrown by the couple to celebrate moving into their smart, modern townhouse in Irene, near Pretoria, the previous capital city of the Republic of South Africa (Transvaal). It is quickly apparent that Michelle is efficient and well organised as well as intelligent, but that she has a dreamy and artistic side to her personality. Antique furniture, family heirlooms, and homemade silk curtains are Michelle’s choice in home furnishings and her best friend, Alice, is single and a bit wild.
Open minded about the occult and practices like playing with a Ouija board, reading Tarot cards, and performing cleansing rituals to ward off evil spirits, Michelle quickly realises there is something not quite right about her new home. Pieter choses to reveal himself to Michelle in an attempt to gain her assistance and support to his plans for redemption.
Despite her education and abilities, Michelle is in awe of her successful older husband and does not want him to think her silly or foolish. As a result, Michelle does not tell Tom about her strange experiences in the house and accepts his explanation for the bottles and cans in the cooler box exploding without interrogation or even questions. Michelle lacks confidence when dealing with men. This characteristic also presents itself when she interacts with the doctor who treats Tom’s mental health problems.
Michelle tries to be understanding and kind to her husband and refuses to believe anything bad about him until the truth is impossible to deny. When Tom starts to disintegrate emotionally and physically, she worries about him and tries to look after and protect him as best she can. She is distressed when she believes he has turned away from her.
Michelle is portrayed as being both nurturing towards her husband and needy through her reliance on advice and guidance from Alice as well as Pastor John. Despite her own unease and trepidation about certain advice given, she does not take a stand against Pastor John or even express her own opinion.
Relevant extracts from A Ghost and His Gold
A strange sense of foreboding about this house-warming party has bothered her all week.
There is something strange about this house, she thinks. I’ve seen such weird things since we moved in; shadows of people who aren’t there, flickering movements with no apparent cause, and that hair. Yuck!
A shiver ripples up her spine, causing her hands to tremble slightly.
Nothing untoward has happened so just relax.
Tom bounds over. His shoulders, usually slightly hunched with stress, are relaxed and his grin is boyish and charming.
“She’s a great cook, Carl.” He grabs a few of the delicious home-made pastries from her tray.
Michelle returns his contagious grin. She’s absurdly pleased that her distinguished husband has praised her catering, especially in front of his best friend and long-term colleague. Carl and Tom are both partners at the prestigious auditing and advisory firm, Kellerman, James & Thompson.”
Michelle backs up a step or two, scouring the room for the two figures. They are gone. She stands frozen for a few minutes, breathing deeply and trying to regain control of her chaotic thoughts.
Should I wake Tom? No, he’ll laugh at me and say I’m imagining things.
Wrapping herself in her dressing gown, she goes downstairs stealthily and sits, drinking a strong cup of coffee, in the kitchen, while she reflects on what she has witnessed.
Did I really see the figures of two men? Did the Ouija board summon them? Could one of them be the mysterious spirit that seemed to take control of the planchette last night? If so, what help did he need?
“The first man was unarmed. Maybe he needs help to escape the evil intensions of the soldier?” she murmurs to herself. She hears a sound behind her. Turning around quickly, an embarrassed flush on her face, she expects to see Tom standing there. She can almost hear his cocky comment that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness. There is no one there.
I’m tired after the move and the party yesterday. We got to bed late. There is nothing there and I didn’t see anything upstairs either. I’m just tired!
Focusing on her meditation object, a rose, Michelle concentrates deeply on opening her third eye. Her mind finds solace in rest, as she sits there, repeating her mantra “peace” to herself.
Within her mind, the light of a spiritual eye starts to appear. Gradually it takes the shape of a white star with five points in a dark blue sphere, surrounded by a golden circle. A light pressure builds in the area between her eyebrows and she knows her third eye has opened.
Seeing herself, through the lens of her mind, is disconcerting. The hallway or waiting room in which she finds herself is dark and gloomy.
The ceiling and walls are faraway and have no clear definition. The room is full of faceless people, all standing or sitting as if waiting for something. She can hear them whispering and moaning.
“This is not what I planned for or what I wanted.” A single loud voice ricochets through the room like a bullet, bouncing off the distant walls and ceiling. “I never wanted to be trapped here in this place of lost souls,” it moans, “you need to help meeeeee.”
The words echo around the cavernous room which is getting bigger and bigger. Michelle opens her mouth to answer, to ask the voice how she can help, but no sound comes out. It is not fear that has made her mute, it is an inability to grasp the words with her mind and force them from her mouth. The voice has an underlying tone of sadness and distress.
After a further period of timeless silence, another presence makes itself known. A shadowy red form. It exudes anger like flashes of lightening, making the fine hairs on Michelle’s arms stand to attention. The shadow elongates like a piece of chewing gum and tears down the middle. The rent widens and stretches to form a mouth.
“I hate you,” the voice that issues from the rent booms.
The voice frightens her, and she turns and starts pushing her way through the countless milling people, their faceless countenances disfigured by gaping holes from which a collective and continuous doomed moan issues.
She can hear another voice now. It is far away but has a confident and comforting ring to it.
“Michelle,” it calls, “are you ready for your reading?”
A Ghost and His Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a haunting historical mystery. I liked the alternating timelines of the story. I felt like I learned a lot about the history of a part of the world that I didn’t really know anything about. You could tell that the author did a ton of research for this story. As well-written as the setting was, the author did just as well with character development. The characters really pulled me into the story and I had to know how things turned out. I give this story 3.5 stars and I would definitely read more from this author.
About Robbie Eaton Cheadle
Robbie Cheadle has published nine books for children and one poetry book. She has branched into writing for adults and young adults and, in order to clearly separate her children’s books from her adult books, is writing for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate children’s picture books are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision. Her books for older children also incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.
Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s supernatural stories combine fabulous paranormal elements with fascinating historical facts.
Children’s picture books – available as a square book and an A5 book (co-authored with Michael Cheadle):
Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five story and cookbook
Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook
Middle school books:
Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town (includes five fun party cake ideas)
While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with Elsie Hancy Eaton)
Open a new door (co-authored with Kim Blades)
Supernatural fantasy YA novel:
Through the Nethergate
Supernatural historical adult novel:
A Ghost and His Gold
Horror Anthologies (edited by Dan Alatorre):
Wings & Fire
Paranormal Anthologies (edited by Kaye Lynne Booth):
Spirits of the West
Whispers of the Past
Murder mystery Anthology (edited by Stephen Bentley)
Death Among Us
Follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle at:
Purchase Links – Paperback: https://tslbooks.uk/product/a-ghost-and-his-gold-roberta-eaton-cheadle/ – https://amzn.to/3tvLHoL
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