Past and present exist side by side as the ghost of a young poet seeks to protect the family living in the house he haunts.
Robert ‘Robbie’ Clavell, a young Victorian poet, is murdered by a jealous competitor, but his murderer, not content with ending Robbie’s life, also invokes an ancient curse that forces his spirit to remain earthbound.
When Jamie Barrett, a dancer in London’s West End, receives a phone call from his mother telling him of strange knocking noises and furniture moving about, he travels home to Manchester to investigate and give support to his mother and his twelve year old niece, Laura.
Advised to contact a psychic for help, Jamie meets Kevin Singleton, and despite the seriousness of what they discover, the two men find a mutual attraction. Kevin explains to Jamie and his mother that their recent family tragedies had opened a portal allowing base spirits to enter and feed off of Laura’s youthful and vibrant energy.
Kevin is able to make a psychic connection with Robbie who tells him that George Russell, his murderer, is the one responsible for the upheaval in the Barrett household. But when Robbie tries to help Kevin exorcise Russell’s spirit, Russell summons up an even darker force—one that could not only destroy the house and everyone in it, but ensure Robbie’s spirit will never find his way home.
I wondered when another Golden Nib book would come our way—and here it is! A Ghost Story ticked every box for me and left me wanting more, wishing it would go on forever. It starts off in the past, and let me tell you, the writing and voice is out of this world. I settled down thinking it was an historical, loving every minute of it, but it switches to contemporary. And there we have another treat, another side of J.P. Bowie’s talent. The contemporary voice was different but no less excellent—very British, so if you like the English way, this is definitely the book for you.
The historical opener drew me in. I was right there, readers! I saw the gathering, felt the spite emanating off a certain person, and wanted to read more about this section of the tale. The characters are delightfully real, a big splash on the page. At this point I’d to say a historical by this author would be at the top of my wish list, hint hint!
Jamie and Kevin (contemp characters), along with Jamie’s adorable mother and sweet niece, are a set of characters who also came alive while I was reading. I loved the way Jamie’s mother didn’t bat an eyelid that Jamie is gay—it was nothing to write home about at all for her. The instant chemistry between Jamie and Kevin is a joy to experience, and wanting them to get together is a strong pull on the heart strings.
The later scenes where the spirits battle is gripping, and the explanation as to why Kevin and Laura can see and hear spirits is sad yet understandable.
Best Bits: The historical introduction.
Verdict: One word: stunning. Actually, here are two more: buy it!