Paranormal romances have had quite a resurgence lately. I personally think paranormal activities and romance make a great combination. Then again, there are books that make me wonder if I could be mistaken.
The notorious Red Robin, Robin Rowe, was a phenomenally successful madam during the 1800’s until she was shot dead in her outhouse. Unfortunately, Ms. Rowe was not able to pass over, due to the bad luck her female descendants have had with men. Now, in the year 2000, Robin finds she has one descendant left, and if she wants to finish her business, she needs to give this particular descendant all the help she can. In other words, Maggie Potter, Robin’s descendant and infamous ex-political aide to the presidential hopeful Jack Kilbourne, needs to find true love before she dies, or she leaves the Red Robin with no descendants, and no hope of a hereafter.
Maggie does not trust reporters. After being thrown to the wolves after her ill-fated relationship with Jack Kilbourne, she just wants to be left in peace to run her newly purchased bed and breakfast with her sister, Catherine. Coincidentally, Maggie’s newly purchased B&B used to be the property of her ghostly madam ancestor Robin, and was – in fact, Robin’s place of business. When the B&B opens its newly refurbished doors, one of the first customers is Colby Drake, a very charming man with a secret. He is a reporter out to take down Jack Kilbourne.
Do you see the Big Misunderstanding potential here? Ms. Carmichael does not hesitate to use such a device, and indeed goes on to create a few more misunderstandings to keep the plot rolling along. Does Maggie forgive Colby? Does Maggie ever see what Jack really is? How does the Red Robin fit in? All unfolds in a predictable way.
Actually, the first few chapters read pretty quickly, with the exception of the Red Robin’s personal journals which read like an old cheesy detective story. You know, the kind where the seedy (but wonderfully appealing) detective talks to the camera while the story is unfolding? Her journals are written in the past tense, while the story is, of course, in the near future. Confusing and unnecessary. Of course, the ghost didn’t really serve any purpose in the story, but instead in her clumsy way, added unintentional roadblocks to the romance. A good ploy for humorous relief, but if that was the author’s intent, it didn’t happen. When the Red Robin goes from harmless ghostly shenanigans to possession, the book bogs down quickly and never regains momentum.
Colby is a very appealing hero – he makes no apologies for what he is and what he does. Maggie, on the other hand, for such an intelligent person, almost idealizes the man who used her and then threw her to the reporters. She is grumpy, unpleasant, and many times rude – enough so that when Colby professes to love her, it is unbelievable. A secondary romance starts out interesting, but fizzles out quickly as well.
Paranormals, at their best, are written in such a way that the ghost is very much an influential part of the story. Ghosts can also be used as a gimmick. Unfortunately, A Ghost for Maggie reads like one of the latter.
Publication Date: 1999
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