Charming and poignant, this ghost story is a little bit romance and a little bit women’s fiction. Our hero is a ghost, so that causes plenty of tension, naturally. But as someone who exclusively reads romance novels, I wasn’t making an exception for this. There’s a sweet and swoony love story wrapped up in the center of a somewhat heavy book about grief and processing loss. Mixing bleak moments with hopeful ones, this intricately weaves together so many important themes in a masterful way. And the ghost puns! SO MANY ghostly references within the text, I loved it. The romance reader in me gobbled up every little bit of the romance; I personally wanted a stronger focus on that, but that’s because I’m greedy. One of the best parts of the book is how it balances the light with the dark – there’s as much time spent on the pain of death as there is the hope for the future. And that one-of-a-kind feel is what makes this a truly special book – a truly special romance novel – even if this romance reader wanted a stronger focus on that element.
The story follows Florence, a woman who ghostwrites for a famous romance author. When her own debut novel failed, Florence was worried that her career was over, but she’s found success being the woman behind the scenes. At least she did, until her own love life imploded a year ago. Now Florence is on a tight deadline to produce a happily ever after, and she just doesn’t have it in her. She’s starting to think that love is dead, and the sudden death of her father certainly doesn’t do anything to change her mind. So when Florence’s sexy and stern new editor shows up on the funeral home’s doorstep – as a ghost – she’s not sure what to think. Florence and Ben only met briefly before he became a ghost, and neither one is sure whether Florence is supposed to be helping Ben find peace or whether he’s supposed to help Florence wrap up her novel while processing her father’s death. Either way, as these two near-strangers spend time together, they begin to wish that they’d gotten closer before Ben crossed to the other side.
You’re probably still skeptical about whether this is a romance novel or women’s fiction, because of the ghost situation. I would call this a romance novel for readers who enjoy elements of women’s fiction, because the book is truly Florence’s journey, and that doesn’t always involve Ben. But… yeah, it’s a romance too. While much of the book is emotional and full of grief (not only is Ben grappling with the fact that he’s no longer amongst the living, but Florence’s father has just passed away), it’s also got a funny, uplifting side. It’s hopeful. It’s a little bit swoony. I loved the opposites attract vibes between Ben and Florence, and how they definitely wouldn’t have found their way together if Ben hadn’t experienced this time with her. Florence is a chaotic mess of a woman who communicates with ghosts, so that’s not something the controlled, workaholic Ben would’ve been able to handle pre-accident. There are these tiny shifts to the dynamic along the way, and Poston does a masterful job of tying everything together perfectly. That’s why this romance reader is willing to round up her rating – while I was greedy for more romance, this is the kind of book that I’m going to be reflecting on for a long time. And it had exactly the kind of ending I wanted.
The audio was excellent! The story is told exclusively from Florence’s point of view, so there is just a single narrator. But she does a great job of differentiating between the characters and giving a stellar vocal performance. I found her voice soothing and easy to listen to, perfect for the many different facets of the story. The runtime was just slightly too long for one day/sitting (10-11 hours), but I was eager to pick the book back up every time I had to set it down. It also makes an awesome workday listen, because there’s little to no steam (Florence and Ben literally can’t touch), and the romance is an achingly slow burn. I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed the book in a more traditional format as well, but the audio definitely enhanced the experience.
A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.
Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.
When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.
For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.
Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.
Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.
About the Author:
Ashley Poston writes stories about love and friendship and ever afters. A native to South Carolina, she now lives in a small grey house with her sassy cat and too many books. You can find her on the internet, somewhere, watching cat videos and reading fan-fiction.
Tweet her at @ashposton and find out more about her at www.ashposton.com.
Follow Jeeves on social media!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases