A Date with the Other Side
I generally don’t read ghost stories and am not much for comedy in romances. So this isn’t a book I would have normally picked up to read. But I had just finished another novel by Erin McCarthy when A Date With the Other Side was published. Her mix of romance, charming characters and the funny worked for me the first time, so I gambled it would work again. Turned out to be a safe bet because A Date With the Other Side had me at hello.
Since her divorce from her childhood sweetheart, Shelby Tucker has been leading tour groups through the haunted houses in Cuttersville, Ohio. After three years, the first spook she personally see comes in the shape of a sleeping man, a handsome, naked, sleeping man. Only he isn’t a spirit but Boston Macnamara, who rented the cottage from her money hungry granny for the next three months.
Boston isn’t really sure what he did to get sent to podunk but plans to check up on the local Samson Plastics office, try and work his way back into his boss’s good graces, and work Shelby out of her shorts. Hey, what guy doesn’t want to go ghost watching in the dark with a beautiful woman? Or at least Boston would if he could get her alone long enough. But with Danny, the ex-husband/all-American farmer, who suddenly wants to get back with Shelby and the boss’s daughter, Amanda, who shows up trying out a new way to annoy daddy, it’s a good thing the ghosts are on Boston’s side.
All of these characters are ones we have met before in romance land, but they are different enough from the everyday to give them a little style and tons of charm. Dialogue is a spot where Erin McCarthy really shines, and we are treated to some of her best in this novel.
Shelby does have the dreaded romance novel heroine never had an orgasm during sex disease, but at least she isn’t a sexpert, afraid of sex, or had a thousand men and still not figured out what “down there” is for. Boston is the workaholic, never been serious with a woman type of man. And together that all changes, but the road to together is fun and amusing without insulting to the reader. So even though some of these traits could have been called cliche, they don’t read that way.
The ghosts work into the story without distracting from the romance, really in their own way they help it along. The legends that are told about their lives are fun and create a mood without creating a mystery to be solved. I love that Shelby gave tours of ghostly haunts for years but never saw a ghost until she and Boston got together. They are just other characters in the town, well…except that they are dead.
A few things didn’t work for me:
- The reason Boston was sent to Cuttersville
- Amanda (who stars in this book’s sequel – Heiress for Hire), who we are told is smart, acts like a twit
- Talking sex with grandma squicks me
- We keep getting told Shelby looks dusty….my mental image conjured Charlie Brown’s Pigpen, hardly a romantic figure.
Although McCarthy can go over the top at times, she manages to keep her characters grounded and real. A Date with the Other Side is cute, fun, and doesn’t require any heavy lifting. It’s my third and favorite book so far by this relatively new author. If you are looking for a steamy and amusing read, give it a shot.