Sunday, April 17, 2022

Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore by Nellie H. Steele - Book Review


Today, I'm featuring a book review of a new cozy mystery by a new author for me. 


A new town.

A haunting legend.

New beginnings or the beginning of the end?

After Cassie MacGuire’s husband dies in a plane crash along with her father, both her and her mother, Lily Bennett, are left as widows. Looking to make a new start, they move together to the quiet seaside town of Hideaway Bay.

But their new home, Whispering Manor, has a reputation stretching back centuries. Legends of ghosts, paranormal disturbances and pirate treasure are all associated with the former sea captain’s mansion, starting with the death of its first mistress, Henrietta Blanchard.

When Cassie stumbles upon Henrietta’s journal and Lily uncovers a more recent tragedy in the home, they begin to wonder if the stories may be fact instead of fiction. When the strange occurrences turn dangerous, Lily and Cassie will have to investigate to save their home and possibly even their very lives!

Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore is the charming first installment in this small, seaside town mother-daughter cozy mystery series by Nellie H. Steele.


Book Review by Nadaness In Motion  

"I'd be careful about digging too deep in the past. You might end up regretting it."

Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore by Nellie H. Steele is the first installment in a new mother-and-daughter cozy mystery series.

Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore opens with Cassie and her mother Lily getting very-late calls informing them of the deaths of their husbands. In other words, Cassie is stunned to learn that she'd lost both her father and her husband in a plane crash.

Chapter 1 focuses on the death and its impact on the two women. It's a very long and painful chapter.

Lily and Cassie decide to leave their city and move to the much-smaller town of Hideaway Bay, where – unbeknownst to them – they buy a reportedly haunted house overlooking the ocean.

After they settle in, the two women learn that a few tragedies had taken place in their new home. But is the new house-by-the-shore really haunted?


"On the large mirror above the dresser, in dripping red blood was the word LEAVE."


What I liked about Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore 

One of the things I liked about Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore was the presence of the two diaries that Cassie and Lily uncovered in the library.

We get to learn about the mystery of Black Jack's treasure and the former occupants of Whispering Manor through these detailed accounts.

"Others would say it's whispers of past souls, long since forgotten, but not yet gone."

A few of the characters in Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore reminded me of characters in the Hallmark sort-of-paranormal series The Good Witch.

Even the mayor, Tinsley reminded me of Martha Tinsdale from The Good Witch. It made me want to re-watch the show.


What I didn't like about Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore

One of my biggest problems with this book was the number of times characters raise their eyebrows. You'd think that from the sheer number of times the characters do this, their eyebrows would be stuck to their hairlines by the end of the novel!

There were over 70 references of 'raised eyebrows' in the book! Seriously!

Another problem was that half way through the book, the reader isn't introduced to a 'real mystery.' It's only when Cassie and Lily hear of the tragedies that took place in Whispering Manor and discover the journals of Henrietta and Susan Davis (two women who died in their house) that they begin reading into the mysteries.

I'm not sure if my copy was an uncorrected proof or not but there were many grammatical errors and phrasing problems. Plus some illogical verb usage. (Does your cat 'sigh?')

Also, halfway through the book, I began to question the coziness of the story. It's significantly different from standard cozies because

1)    It opens with a heartbreaking event (two deaths for two family members)

2)    The mystery comes in very late in the book


Review sum-up

Overall, I think Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore has lots of good potential. It can act as a prequel to the series, though not book 1.

As an Instagram follower of Nellie Steele, I learnt that Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore is a spin-off of another historical fiction series featuring Henrietta and her brother Clifton and some piratey tales.

That said, I think there were many redundancies in the novel that could have been crossed out. I'd have liked to see more focus on the mystery and a faster pace.


Note: I received a free Advanced Readers' Copy (ARC) of Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore by Nellie H. Steele as part of a blog tour by Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.


Overall rating for Ghosts, Lore, and a House by the Shore: 2.5-3 stars


About the author

An Indies Today finalist for Best Book of the Year 2020 with Cleopatra’s Tomb, Nellie H. Steele made the leap from science to art with her first book, The Secret of Dunhaven Castle.

An animal enthusiast, Nellie often features a version of one of her fourteen rescue animals in her stories, though the fictional pets are usually better behaved than her own fur-babies!  A literary split personality, Nellie’s work ranges from cozy mystery to supernatural suspense to riveting adventure.

She lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.  When she isn’t writing or engaging in animal care, she enjoys teaching Statistics and Data Science at a local university.

Check out all Nellie offers at  or at her blog, Nellie’s Book Nook, available at

Connect with Nellie Steele via her WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokGoodreadsBookbub, and Amazon.


Publisher Website:    



  1. Replies
    1. Hi there
      I thought the book was worth 2.5 to 3 stars (out of 5). It's not trash, it has a good premise but could have used more focus on the mystery.