Ghost of Summer
Ahhh, now this is the book I was looking for when I picked up one of Jove’s first entries in their new “Friends” line. Although it fits just as neatly into the “Haunting Hearts” line, Ghost of Summer works well as a friendship romance.
Kate Fallen’s parents shared a rare kind of love, a love so strong that it transcended death. When Kate was but a wee toddler of two her mother died in a car accident – her body died but her soul remained alive. She returned to her beloved husband as a ghost and is unwilling to rest until young Katie grows up to find a true love of her own.
Fast-forward twenty-six years.
Kate has just agreed to marry a man who makes her feel “secure.” She and her fiance are perfectly compatible; they share the same interests and never fight, and if she ever loses him she knows it won’t be a big emotional loss because they are not really in love. Kate’s had her heart broken once and isn’t about to let it happen again – which explains her engagement to the bore. When she phones her dad to tell him the news, he shocks her by asking her if she’d like him to put her (dead) mother on the phone so that she can tell her the news herself. Kate fears her beloved daddy is losing his marbles so she puts her nuptials on hold and hightails it back to her hometown to make sure he’s A-okay.
Kate gets quite a shock when she finds ye old heartbreaker himself, Luke Rodgers, making himself quite cozy in her dad’s office. Her dad is the town sheriff, and it turns out that Luke is dad’s new deputy. Kate hasn’t seen her childhood friend Luke since he and his mother moved away and he shattered her young heart by ignoring her letters. She’d known Luke since they were in diapers and they were closer than siblings. When she lost him, part of her heart died. One look at his delectable all grown up self makes her determined to avoid him. However, Kate’s dad and ghostly mom plan to see them live happily ever after and do everything possible to wake them up to the love that has always been between them.
This is an uncomplicated little love story with down to earth characters, but if you’re looking for strong conflict, this is not the book to read. We’re supposed to believe that these two adults, now in their late twenties, have both shut off their emotions and have only been able to have detached relationships because they lost each other. I might have bought into this if they had been in their teens when they were separated, but they were twelve! Yes, folks you read that right – I said twelve. Kate’s refusal to trust Luke and her reluctance to forgive him for abandoning her when he was twelve seriously tests one’s patience. Luke’s reluctance to love is only a tad easier to believe because he lost his father as well as Katie in a short span of time. Really though, as the main crux for the conflict, this was all a bit too much to swallow.
There are a few other minor problems; a little stilted dialogue, an episode where the heroine does something TSTL, and an over-abundance of exclamation points, like in the following excerpt:
“No, damn it, I don’t know! I just said that! If you’ll tell me I’ll try to help put it right, but if all you’re going to do is shout at me, I can’t do anything!” Kate was humiliated to hear her voice crack. She wasn’t going to cry in front of Luke!
However, I was willing to forgive the book these foibles because I enjoyed the overall reading experience. Kate and Luke were decent people and it was gratifying to spend some time with a couple who had a friendly background together and who took the time to rebuild their friendship before succumbing to lust. These two plainly liked each other and, as a result, I liked them despite their stubbornness.
If you want a light and easy book, are exhausted by nefarious villains who take center spotlight, and silly subplots that do nothing to advance the story line, give this book a try. Ghost of Summer is a touching and sweet story about two people rediscovering a love that never died, and it’s good summer reading.
|Review Date:||August 14, 1999|