Cindy Miles certainly knows how to write an addictive tale. I’ve been enchanted with her backlist so far and MacGowan’s Ghost is a nice addition. Her sweet style with a paranormal twist shines through each page.
Allie Morgan is a something of a therapist for ghosts. Since she began seeing them on a regular basis, she’s used her gift to help others manage their spirits. Gabe MacGowan of Scotland has a big problem with the ghosts that inhabit his pub, Odin’s Thumb, and is ever so subtly pointed in Allie’s direction.
Arriving in Scotland, Allie discovers a town like no other. The ghosts – two regency fops, a medieval friar, a French noblewoman and a sexy pirate – are well known around these parts. Despite their lack of a mortal body, the Odin’s Thumb lot are just as much locals as the living and breathing inhabitants. Allie’s initial job was to help Gabe control his ghosts in order to sell the pub, but it doesn’t take long for Allie to realize she must side with the ghosts on this matter; Odin’s Thumb is where Gabe belongs. A rascally bunch normally, they really only have Gabe’s best interests at heart when they scare away the potential buyers.
Gabe is in a tough spot. He loves the ghosts, especially Justin (the pirate) who has been like a second father and best friend to Gabe since he was born. But Gabe wants what is best for his own young son and he is under the impression that leaving Odin’s and the town behind is the answer. Since his wife died, Gabe cannot sleep without being plagued by horrifying nightmares.. They seem to be turning more and more real, scaring not only himself but his son. This is the catalyst that keeps Gabe persistent in selling.
Allie takes to the town like a native and finds herself falling for the gruff Gabe. It causes some conflict when Gabe learns whose side she really on, but quickly finds the error of his ways and realizes he should stay put with the family and friends who love him. This isn’t as simple as it seems and something must be done about the nightmares and haunting by his late wife.
With many things to like about MacGowan’s Ghost, it was a no-brainer that I’d be grading it well. Allie and Gabe are nice surprises in the world or paranormal romance as they are both well aware of the existence of ghosts and have made there peace with that way before the start of this story. Taking away all the “this can’t be happening,” “I must be dreaming,” and other various forms of disbelief made for a refreshing start and an even more enjoyable read.
Allie and Gabe also share a nice amount of chemistry and a less-than-obvious HEA. That they were going to end up together, somehow, was a given, but how and where was a mystery – one that is sorely lacking in many of today’s romances. I have a great affinity for a formula romance that can still keep me guessing. It is also a nice change of pace for Ms. Miles to have her leads both being of the living and breathing sort.
Now the ghosts of Odin’s Thumb, along with Allie’s spirit friend, are a real nice group. I thought it would get a little cumbersome with so many quirky characters, but everything was handled with panache. Unfortunately, their story was never resolved. This wouldn’t have been an issue if I wasn’t intrigued from the beginning by Allie’s use of research to help ghosts find out the how and why they died in order for them to gain peace in the afterlife.
I have one final quibble that I still cannot decide if it really is a quibble: I fell for the wrong man. Hook. Line. Sinker. Captain Justin Catesby was my driving force through MacGowan’s Ghost. Now Gabe was a great guy, don’t get me wrong. Handsome, passionate and all that, but nothing compared to the magnetism of Odin’s resident pirate. Whenever Justin is on the scene, no other man exists. How Allie didn’t feel the same way is baffling. What upsets me is that Cindy Miles has always had a very charming and dashing man who plays second fiddle to the real leading man. I hope to see him is her next novel as the lead, but so far it hasn’t happened. Considering the open storyline for Odin’s ghosts, I hope this time it really happens and I’ll get more of my beloved Justin. In fact, I will simply plead. Imagine me on my knees – begging!
Now you may take that situation as you will. I couldn’t really fault an author for giving me a character straight out of my dreams, though I admit it might bother some that he didn’t get the girl or a larger part of the plot. Even if you don’t find yourself as big of a Justin fan as yours truly, MacGowan’s Ghost is still an enchanting book to while an evening and gets a hearty recommendation from me.