After being laid off from the newspaper where she worked as a
journalist, and losing her boyfriend in rapid succession, Sara Howell is looking to downsize before her dwindling savings run out. Things are finally starting to look up when she lands a job ghostwriting the biography of a popular politician and rents an isolated island house which turns out to have once been the home of her favorite author, Seth Fortner, who mysteriously disappeared in 1925.
But when strange things start happening, as objects break, or go missing, and terrifying visions appear, Sara begins to wonder if Seth ever left, or if she is losing her mind.
What happened to Seth is a secret closely guarded by the family to this day, a family that seems to exist under a terrible curse. Through an old trunk of letters she discovers in the attic, Sara unravels the mystery and becomes caught up in a tale of greed, lost love and the horrors of WWI.
When Sara realizes she is not going crazy and that Seth Fortner’s spirit still haunts her new home on the isolated island, she begins to draw him out of his shell bit by bit. She will discover what happened to the idealistic young writer who went to the battlefields of France to save lives, and to his beautiful bride to destroy the love between them, and what led Seth to make a terrible choice which would have consequences
that would echo for generations.
They gradually fall in love in their world of dreams, dreams which swiftly become more attractive than reality, as Sara learns from a ghost how to truly live. Will she be the one to break the “Fortner Curse” by helping Seth conquer his demons, and heal both of their hearts in the process?
The pace is slow, but that didn't deter me from devouring this story. I was a little frustrated with the beginning, and felt some of the history Lissa put into the book was a little heavy. This book isn't long, so the pacing ended up working in Ms. Bryan's favor. Short books usually have the tendency to rush, and the emotions are forced and come off unauthentic. Not this one. Lissa does a great job of exploring character growth, and creating a dreamy world where Seth has the ability to bring Sarah to his plain and show her first hand what he suffered through during the war, opening her eyes and giving her-and us- a better understanding of Seth's motivations.
Seth is a deeply emotionally scared man who lived through WWI, came home and penned books of genius, only to die mysteriously. Sarah had been following his work since she was in middle school and developed a literary crush like one would a boy band. But through tender moments, haunting confessions, and a budding friendship, Lissa cultivates that crush into an overwhelming love that will withstand the test of life and death. I actually cried a little in this story, and I don't do that too often where books are concerned.
Lissa is becoming one of my favorite writers, because she brings something different to the table. First with Ghostwriter, and then again in her other book I read/reviewed already (Which got a Golden Olive score) The End of All Things. That one is about surviving and overcoming a new world after a pandemic hit every nation, leaving the Earth nearly depleted of human life. The hero, Justin is the epitome of what a man should be, and I related with the heroine, Carly. It's not about zombies really, but more about people becoming infected with a disease that compromises their mental faculties before perishing. The focus is definitely romance and as someone who doesn't like gore or horror or zombies...this book is one of my favorites. I HIGHLY recommend it and this one as well.
Check em both out if your looking to add a little chocolate to your vanilla flavored reading. Step outside your comfort zone. Lissa Bryan won't let you down.
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