An 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