I don’t like sad or scary fiction, and since ghosts are a consequence of death and are usually associated with violence, unhappiness, revenge, terrible secrets and unfinished business, they’re not a natural choice for me.
Despite the caveat above, every October I get caught up in the atmosphere of approaching darkness, and ubiquitous Halloween/All Souls/Samhain imagery.
Yesterday I was looking for something seasonal but not too scary to read, and thinking that unlike vampires, demons or shifters, ghosts don’t really lend themselves to romantic fiction. A furred, fanged or soulless hero is one thing, but an incorporeal one?
I asked Mr. Google, and to my surprise, I discovered that Goodreads has a 95-book list called Ghostly Romance.
I spent a happy hour or so investigating. Inevitably most (though not all) of the heroes and heroines are flesh and blood, but the stories themselves sound satisfyingly spectral. I am pleased to share my selections below 😮
The Haunting of Maddy Clare – Simone St James
This sounds like a proper, spine-chilling old-fashioned romantic suspense with ghosts. It’s probably at the limit of my spooky tolerance, but I’ve been curious about this book since it won two RITAs, including the one for best first book. Here’s the first bit of the cover blurb:
In 1920s England, a young woman of limited means and even less experience confronts the ghost of a mysterious serving maid…
Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis–rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts–has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is said to haunt the barn where she committed suicide.
If Walls Could Talk (Haunted Home Renovation Mysteries) – Juliet Blackwell
I’ve read and enjoyed cosy mysteries by Juliet Blackwell already, (thanks, Jennifer P!), and I’m currently wrestling with some annoying home renovation challenges, so this one appealed to me immediately:
Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now her reputation may be on the line.
At her newest project, a run-down Pacific Heights mansion, Mel is visited by the ghost of a colleague who recently met a bad end with power tools. Mel hopes that by nailing the killer, she can rid herself of the ghostly presence of the murdered man-and not end up a construction casualty herself…
MacGowan’s Ghost – Cindy Miles
The first review I read on Amazon included a sentence that had me reaching for my Kindle: This is a fun paranormal romance starring a likable heroine, a Grinch of a male lead, and a fine cast of ghosts who play matchmaker along with his son. It sounds like my kind of story any time of year, and I’m excited to report there are other, similar-sounding titles by the same author. If it’s half as fun as it sounds, I’m probably heading for a binge-read of Cindy Miles books. Here’s the first bit of blurb:
Gabe MacGowan, a sexy, brooding, guilt-ridden widower and father to mischievous seven-year old Jake, is the proprietor of Odin’s Thumb Inn and Pub in a misty Scottish seaside village. He decides to sell the inn and move, not only to give his son a more stable environment, but to escape the ghosts who haunt him, in particular his dead wife.
Gabe hires Allie Morgan, an easy-going and fun-loving American, to oust the spirits who are chasing away potential buyers. Odin’s Thumb is bustling with frightened tourists, quirky residents of the village, and dodgy yet lovable apparitions—including the ghost of a sea captain who fancies Allie.
The Ghost and the Goth – Stacey Kade
Quite a number of the books on the list are Young Adult. This one sounds like a ghostly YA version of my favorite SEP: Ain’t She Sweet? I love the title, and the reviews make it sound snarky and funny and smart. Here’s the blurb:
After a close encounter with a bus, Alona Dare goes from homecoming queen to Queen of the Dead. She’s stuck as a ghost in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her to a better place. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast.
More than anything, Will wishes he didn’t have the rare ability to communicate with the dead, especially the former mean girl of Groundsboro High. He’s not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side, though it would bring him some welcome peace and quiet.
So that’s my TBR plan for Halloween 2016.
Your thoughts, comments and suggestions (all treats, no tricks, please 😉 ) are invited. Friendly ghosts and happy endings would be particularly welcome!