Favorite Ghost Books (Or Boo to You!)

starAn argument could be made that lately  Halloween is in the romance aisles all year long. We seem to have an endless feast of werewolves, vampires, demon slayers and psychics. I’ve been a happy participant in the gloms of monster books but right now I am  thinking more basic. The old standby of pull the ratty sheet from the cupboard, cut some holes in it and go -or in other words, its ghost season.

Ghost romances seem to fall  into two categories; ones where ghosts are present and ones where ghosts are the heroes  Ghosts as heroes are pretty short on the ground.. Funnily enough, my favorite in this category has not changed during the time from that column to this one. I still love Rita Clay Estrada’s The Ivory Key most of all.

On the other hand, my favorite type of ghost tales seem to be far more popular. Ghosts who are funny, ghosts who are evil, ghost who are matchmakers or ghosts who are spooky might not abound but they are definitely more readily available. Among my favorites are the following:

Under the ghosts who are funny, one of my favorites is  A Ghost of A Chance by Casey Claybourne, which deals with being haunted by your mother in law. Sound fun?  When his mother in law dies at the wedding, Iain Ashingford, the Marquess Lindley, doesn’t see it so much as a sign as a favor. The woman had been a complete nightmare to deal with. But when she begins to haunt him Ian is far less pleased. Her interference results in a successful marriage for Daphne and Ian, something they would never have pulled off without her. And some of the situations she put Ian into were rather hilarious from my perspective.

Emily Carmichael did an equally funny ghost story in A Ghost for Maggie. The ghost here, a former madam named Robin Rowe, is hilarious as she tries to  find a successful match-up for descendant Maggie. This is assuredly a case of the ghost stealing the show since the main couple is one of those strident types but Robin is delightful enough to have made the book memorable for me.

Susanna Kearsley is one of my favorite writers of gothic style novels and I adored her book Season of Storms. There is a building sense of impending doom combined with the ordinary aspects of life that give the book that perfect questioning balance: Is there a ghost? Or are actions being attributed to one that are being done by actual people? A spooky and yet somehow believable ghost story.

Another terrific eerie ghost tale is in  Nora Roberts In The Garden trilogy that included Blue Dahlia, Black Rose, and Red Lily. What was terrific about these three novels is how strong the romance in each is.  The ghost in this book in no way steals the show; the spot light stays directly on the hero and heroine of each novel.

And, of course, how can we discuss ghosts without ghost hunters? Amanda Quick’s Dangerous is perhaps my favorite ghost hunting tale of all time.  Prudence Merryweather hunts psychic phenomena. A successful mission earns her a Season in London and puts her directly into the path of Sebastian Fleetwood, the Earl of Angelstone. Sebastian and Pru’s adventures in chasing ghosts and murderers were utterly delightful.

A recent addition to my favorites (very recent, as in just this week) is The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. This is a terrific tale that combines high school, Jack the Ripper, and ghosts as both villains and friends. I really enjoyed this YA novel and am looking forward to the sequels. It has a sweet romance, though the ghosts are center stage.

So those are my favorites thus far. I say thus far because while researching this blog I stumbled upon a true treasure -Jove actually did a series for two years dedicated to ghost stories called Haunting Hearts. These tales of ghost lovers and ghost matchmakers sounded right up my alley and I have already ordered several from Amazon and my local library.

So do you have any favorite ghost romances? Do you prefer books with ghosts in them or ghost as heroes?

- Maggie AAR

26 thoughts on “Favorite Ghost Books (Or Boo to You!)

  1. J. R. Rain, The Body Departed. Not a romance, although there is plenty of love and affection.

  2. I recommend two old ones by Laura Parker, Moon Shadow and For Love’s Sake Only. Wonderful old romances with ghosts that have been firmly on my keeper shelf for at least a decade.

  3. I remember the ghosts stories by Barabara Michaels fondly. Scary enough, but not too scary that I was afraid to go to sleep at night. Like you I enjoyed Emily Carmichaels but I remember Miss Piggy more. I will have to check out some of the others you mentioned.

  4. In the funny (to me, YMMV) category are Jana Deleon’s three Ghost-in-Law mysteries centered in Mudbug! Each book has a different romance to go with the ongoing mystery.

    • PatW: In the funny (to me, YMMV) category are Jana Deleon’s three Ghost-in-Law mysteries centered in Mudbug! Each book has a different romance to go with the ongoing mystery.

      Pat,

      I loved Jana Deleon’s Rumble in the Bayou. Her Mudbug series is on my TBR. She has a new series through Harlequin Intrigue that I plan to catch up on too. IMO, she is fantastic!

      maggie b.

  5. One of my favorites is Tryst by Elswyth Thane, which was recommended by someone here. Can’t remember who, it’s been a while now, but thanks again whoever you are! And thanks, Maggie for the Haunting Hearts list – I tried to find that after reading Stardust of Yesterday and was never able to turn it up on my own. I really miss this type of paranormal. I have a weakness for ghost heroes – it makes for such wallow-able angst, even if the endings are usually problematic.

    • Mrs. Fairfax: One of my favorites is Tryst by Elswyth Thane, which was recommended by someone here. Can’t remember who, it’s been a while now, but thanks again whoever you are! And thanks, Maggie for the Haunting Hearts list – I tried to find that after reading Stardust of Yesterday and was never able to turn it up on my own. I really miss this type of paranormal. I have a weakness for ghost heroes – it makes for such wallow-able angst, even if the endings are usually problematic.

      I’m so glad I found that list! I hadn’t even known these books existed!

      And Tryst is excellent. It is a very intense read, memorable and romantic in a rather sweeping, luxurious sort of way.

      maggie b.

      Maggie

  6. Thanks Virginia and Wendy for the recommends. These look really good.

    Leigh, I didn’t remember Michaels having ghosts in her books but I will have to look back and see. Buried in the Rain is the one of hers I remember best. I listened to it on a trip once and still get the shivers thinking about it.

    maggie b.

  7. Nothing beats the classic Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte for a believable, haunting ghost story and much more.

  8. How about the classic “The Ghost and Mrs Muir?” The film with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney is fun, but I found the book – which is perhaps less romantic – to be unexpectedly interesting vintage entertainment. The author is Josephine Leslie, a.k.a. R. A. Dick.

  9. I love ghost stories (I’m planning to write a series around them)! I tend to prefer books with ghosts in them a little bit more than books with ghostly heroes. My favorite ghost novels are the Nora Roberts In the Garden trilogy, Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts, and Meg Cabot’s Mediator series.

  10. The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. What a great ghost story, written in 1959. The movie made in 1965 (?) based on the book was better than the one made 10 years ago with Owen Wilson, but still good.
    Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Not to be missed ghost story. Frightening with a little love story in it.
    Shadow (The Mediator bk.1) by Meg Cabot. YA, but wonderful. I read the series out loud to my daughter years ago. Romantic too.

    • xina: The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. What a great ghost story, written in 1959. The movie made in 1965 (?) based on the book was better than the one made 10 years ago with Owen Wilson, but still good.
      Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Not to be missed ghost story. Frightening with a little love story in it.
      Shadow (The Mediator bk.1) by Meg Cabot. YA, but wonderful. I read the series out loud to my daughter years ago. Romantic too.

      Your mentioning Shadowland by Meg Cabot reminded me of another YA ghost series – The Darkest Powers starting with The Summoning by Kelly Armstrong. I finished the whole series on my last vacay and loved it.

      I have heard great things about Heart Shaped Box and plan to read it someday after I have gotten my TBR pile down to a manageable number.

      maggie b.

      • .I have heard great things about Heart Shaped Box and plan to read it someday after I have gotten my TBR pile down to a manageable number.maggie b.

        I loved Heart Shaped Box! A good book to read around this time of year…Halloween. Joe Hill is talented like his father..Stephen King, but with an entirely different style.

  11. I really enjoyed the Barbara Michael’s books and read every one of them over the years. Then there’s Rebecca by Daphne DeMaurier. Not a real ghost, but still. Another creepy story was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

    I have not read any recent ghost stories. I’m not a fan of horror books at all and tend to avoid the genre.

    • Susan: .I have not read any recent ghost stories. I’m not a fan of horror books at all and tend to avoid the genre.

      Horror fiction is the one genre I just don’t read, with the exception of Stephen King’s older works. But other than that, I won’t even walk down that aisle in the bookstore.

      That is one thing I love about romance ghost stories. They tend not to be creepy or scary at all.

      maggie b.

  12. Loved For The Earls Pleasure By Anne Mallory. Some of the ghosts are very funny. Body and Soul By Susan Krinard another good one.

  13. I loved the Haunting Hearts series..they are all in my closet :-), but you didn’t mention Stardust of yesterday by Lynn Kurland. That was one in the series and the first of her de Piaget/Macleod books

  14. Dealing with ghosts (not h or h ghost):
    A Babe in Ghostland by Lisa Cach
    I recall the Linda Fallon trilogy Shades of Midnight, Shades of Winter & Shades of Scarlet as dealing with some fairly nasty ghosts.
    I know the Jennifer Greene trilogy of Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered includes ghosts, but I remember no details.
    Lord Sayer’s Ghost by Cindy Holbrook is a Regency mostly about a fake ghost, with a little about a real ghost.
    Rebel Waltz by Kay Hooper is a fun story with lots of ghosts.
    The Haunted Miss Hampshire by Kasey Michaels is part of her old alphabet Regency series.
    I recall the Glenda Sanders trilogy of Dark Secrets, Haunting Secrets & Lovers’ Secrets as fairly dark.

    The problem with ghost h or h is that any HEA pretty much requires divine intervention or some sort of big deus ex machina to incarnate the disincarnated.
    I can recall these:
    The full mediator series by Meg Cabot is:
    shadowland***
    the ninth key***
    the reunion***
    darkest hour**.5
    haunted**.5
    twilight**
    The heroine, rather than the hero, of Kresley Cole’s Dark Needs at Night’s Edge.
    Highlander in Her Bed by Allie Mackay (and sequels I haven’t gotten).
    A Ghostly Affair by Charlotte Maclay.
    A series by Kelley St. John:
    kiss and dwell**.5
    ghosts and roses**
    shiver and spice*
    fire in the blood*
    bed on arrival**
    live and yearn**

  15. The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels

    from BN.com

    While the body of rodeo star Pony Jones lies motionless in the northern Alabama woods, her spirit is on a mission to find her killer. Invisible to the eye but not to the sixth sense, the only thing Pony can do is guide the living to the truth.

    Her grief-stricken father, Titus, wants nothing more than retribution for his daughter’s death, so when former police detective Jo Beth Dawson comes to town, something compels him to seek out her help.

    But when Jo Beth and Titus team up to track down Pony’s murderer, it turns loose a whirlwind of intense emotion and unexpected encounters. As they uncover more and more clues leading them to the killer, dark family secrets are revealed and the two must search their souls for redemption.

  16. Another vote for Stardust of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland. One of my favorite books and great on audio.

  17. I can definitely add to the recommendations for Tryst — an unusual but beautifully written ghost story. Elswyth Thane also wrote Queen’s Folly, a lovely old-fashioned romance set in the 1930s in which the owner of an old Tudor house is devastated by the necessity of selling his family home … until an American woman rents it and falls in love with the house and its owner. Queen Elizabeth I is not so much a ghost, but certainly a presence, in the house named after her.

  18. I can’t believe I forgot to add another favorite – Maiden Voyage by Judith O’Brien. The ghost brings the h/h together.

    maggie b.

  19. I’ve only read two romances where ghosts play a significant role in each & they are both by Angie Ray. ‘Ghostly Enchantment’ won her a RITA award, & it’s very funny & sexy, where a woman falls in love with a ghost. In another, ‘Ghost of My Dreams’, a ghost attempts to keep a happy couple from marriage due to his own bitterness with his former fiancee. You can get a good used copy of each on Amazon for $4 in total & they’re well worth the money.

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