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Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

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Witches and ghosties and vampies, oh my!

The Ghost and the Graveyard - Genevieve Jack

Disclosure:  I obtained the Kindle edition of this book on 28 March 2014 when it was offered for free.  I do not know the author and I have never had any communication with her about this book or any other matter.  I am an author.



I routinely surf the Amazon freebies and this was one of those I picked up a couple years ago.  It worked for the Halloween Bingo, though it was longer than I expected.  Still, I read the whole thing.  It wasn't too terrible.


The premise is that Grateful Knight, a 22-year-old nurse, has escaped a bad relationship and is mired in debt.  Rather than file bankruptcy, she determines to pay back everything -- no details of the debts are given -- and takes her real estate agent father's offer of a free house outside the little town of Red Grove, New Hampshire.  The property adjoins an old cemetery.


The cemetery's caretaker is the gorgeous hunk Enrique "Rick" Ordenes, who seems a bit odd.


Shortly after her arrival, Grateful discovers the house is haunted.  But the haunting is more than just a couple of ghosts living -- if you want to call it that -- in the attic.  And the old cemetery is much more than the resting place for a lot of old bones.


I don't have much background in urban fantasy; the only other title I've read is Fae Fever by Karen Marie Moning.  I wasn't intrigued enough to read further in that series, either.  There were some similarities with The Ghost and the Graveyard, notably the young heroine with secrets about her birth.  One of the reasons I never read any more of the Moning books was that I couldn't stand Mac, the main character.  She came across as not only young and impulsive and obsessed with name brands, but as stupid and irresponsible.


Grateful Knight is also young and impulsive, but she's not irresponsible.  That alone made a huge difference in my overall opinion of the book.


The writing was decent.  I caught a couple of typos, not enough to make any difference, and the one huge error regarding the timeframe, but even that didn't really affect the storyline.  


I would have preferred less action and more description, but maybe this is a feature of urban fantasy, since the Moning book was somewhat similaar.  The Ghost and the Graveyard could have been much more atmospheric.  I never got a real sense of what anything looked like or felt like, and for me that is part of the great pleasure of reading.  In that sense, this was just about the exact opposite of Jamaica Inn.


Throughout the book, there's one element that seemed to be very essential to the resolution of the plot and was actually one of the main reasons I kept reading:  Grateful has two lovers.


In addition to Rick the caretaker, Grateful has to deal with the ghost of Logan in the attic.  Logan doesn't have his own name; he can't remember much of anything about his actual life so Grateful gives him the name Logan.  Though he's not as handsome and sexy as Rick, Grateful is still drawn to him, and vice versa.  And the two men are constantly warning Grateful away from each other.


This worked well as a device to keep the reader guessing which of them was going to end up being the "hero" and perhaps partner of Grateful.  Was Rick too slick, and did he have ulterior motives that were less than honorable?  Did Logan have more supernatural knowledge than he was letting on?  Would he end up challenging Rick?


What didn't work for me was the eventual resolution of the conflict between the two men.



Logan, it turns out, isn't really dead, or at least not quite.  The circumstances are contrived and left me rolling my eyes and muttering "give me a fuckin' break" several times.  First of all, how could he be an actual ghost haunting her house if he hadn't really died yet?  How did the other ghost in the house not know that Logan wasn't dead?  Given that the real live Logan was, or should have been, known to the real live Grateful, how didn't she know?  And given that the real live Logan was in the hospital where Grateful worked and was a patient of her best friend Michelle. . . well, the list went on.


At the point of that revelation, and the idiocy Grateful and Michelle go through to resurrect the real life Logan, I knocked the review down a full star.  I've too often seen romantic relationships with two lovers treated very poorly, and this was one of the worst.  (LaVyrle Spencer was superb at treating discarded but honorable lovers like shit; I stopped reading her books after Twice Loved because that kind of behavior on an author's part struck me as, well, as dishonorable).



(show spoiler)


The other element that didn't work for me, but wasn't as damning to the book's quality as the resolution of the love interest, was the development of Grateful after the explanation of her background.



The first revelation was so confused and so poorly written that it prompted my "hot mess" interim review.  I simply couldn't understand what Rick was explaining to her about the history of the cemetery, his relationship to her, and so on.  Most of that confusion was resolved as the story went on, but her magical powers are so immense, almost absolute, that I was for more eye rolling again.  A couple of the scenes were reminiscent of Practical Magic -- the movie, that is; I haven't read the book -- and everything seemed to work out just fine with few problems.


Along with Grateful's powers, Rick's seemed pretty much all-powerful, too.  He can shapeshift into this gigantic zombie-eating dragon, he's impervious to point-blank gunshots, and he's able to communicate with her telepathically.  Not to mention being drop dead (pun intended) gorgeous and incomparable in bed.  His only flaw is his raging jealousy??


(show spoiler)


Maybe I'm old and old-fashioned, but I prefer characters who are a little more human, who have flaws and work to overcome them, and who grow through the course of the story.  Maybe the characters in this series do that, but I'm not holding out much hope.


If you're a fan of urban fantasy, this probably would work well.  It's just not my thing.