The Dead Romantics By Ashley Poston
Publication Date: June 28, 2002
Summary from NetGalley:
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.
ARC provided by Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this cute romance with a supernatural twist. I enjoyed the characters, some of them a bit quirky, and the setting and the writing were wonderful. And even though this is a romance, this is also a story of grief for loved ones and for love and how we as humans work through that and come out stronger for it.
Florence was a delightful leading lady and I certainly could not blame her for not believing in love or that romance was dead. Her piece of work ex-boyfriend and what he did to her would certainly devastate the most ardent romantic. (Of course her first hint should have been that he called her bunny all the time!) She was well rid of him, but that experience shaped her year and made it hard for her to write romance novels. She does seem to be on the track to losing everything when she meets her new editor and then her dad dies sending her into an even deeper and different kind of grief.
I just adored Benji, her editor and ghostly companion. He was just as mystified and shocked to find himself a ghost and hundreds of miles from where he died. But I think he caught on to why he was haunting Florence way quicker than she did, but he did have some insight she didn’t have. I also figured out pretty quickly what was going on with him, but I didn’t let that detract from the story. In fact it made me happier in the end that I was right.
I loved the dynamics between all of the characters in this story. I loved Florence’s quirky family and how they embraced life even though their work was embracing death. It certainly gave me Six Feet Under vibes in all the good ways. Florence had some issues with her siblings, but they were realistic in nature. I also loved that her father was present in her memories and in the stories the family and town told about him.
The writing was well done and the descriptions of places and people wonderfully rich and made you feel as if you were visiting this small town along with Florence. My only complaint is I wanted a bit more about when Florence was thirteen and solved a murder with a ghost. We got the bare minimum of that story, but it seemed so central to Florence and who she grew up to be and why she left town, that I wanted a little bit more about that story. The ending was perfect though and I loved that she finally got the last say with her ex-boyfriend.
A really fun romance with a supernatural twist, but one that also had a serious side in that Florence was dealing with grief over her father’s death as well as her hope in romance and in love. A well done adult debut by this YA author and I hope to see more adult books from her in the future.