Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ghost Unlaid by Marie Treanor

TITLE: Ghost Unlaid
AUTHOR: Marie Treanor
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 28k)
GENRE: Paranormal romance
COST: $3.50

Julie Macbeth works for the Scottish National Library, but her latest assignment has her more excited than ever. It’s one of the largest personal collections she has ever seen, and her job is to catalog it. It’s not just comprised of books, however. The library in which it’s housed is haunted by the ghost of a man who claims to be a Scottish king, killed over a thousand years ago. Julie doesn’t see him as a ghost, but as a man who’s reminded her what it’s like to love again…

Since I’ve been having less than great luck lately, I decided to go with an author I usually enjoy. I wasn’t disappointed, though I didn’t love this as much as I’ve loved other work by her.

Julie Macbeth works with rare books for the National Library in Edinburgh. Her new boss, a man she resents for taking the job she wanted, punishes her for a minor indiscretion by assigning her to catalog a new collection that’s become available to them. The owner is eager to sell as he’s convinced the house he’s inherited is haunted. She goes to work on it, and in the library meets a man who spends most of his day reading. She assumes it’s the owner, but speaking with the housekeeper later proves that wrong. The lack of information on who he really is doesn’t bother her that much, since he’s funny and gorgeous, thoroughly charming her very quickly. It’s not until she starts to suspect that he’s crazy because he thinks he’s a ghost that problems arise.

Ghost stories always require a measure of suspending disbelief in order to work. They’re helped when characters act and react in what I consider intelligent ways. This novella benefits from having a heroine with just the right amount of skepticism about what she’s being told. She doesn’t accept it blindly, but at the same time, there’s not a ton of time wasted over her agonizing about it all. It’s a delicate balance, and works extremely well here, primarily because the chemistry between the hero and heroine was already off the charts by the time the truth is exposed. I really liked Julie, for her go-getter attitude and her refusal to be played a fool. She’s highly relatable, and if I didn’t buy the ending, that’s through no fault of her character.

Lulach, the hero, isn’t quite as well-rounded, but that’s mostly because we only get to see him through Julie’s eyes (barring the very brief prologue). He carries a vibe of too good to be true, but I guess if I was a king in a previous life, I might give that off, too. Still, in contrast with how real Julie seemed, it was a little jarring. In spite of that mild disconnect, though, I was still able to fall for their chemistry.

What wasn’t as easy to accept was the slightly odd ending. It’s an inherent flaw in ghost stories that attempt to be romantic, however, and at least the characters acted intelligently to get to that place. I probably held too high of expectations and was disappointed as a result of that. This is an early work by this author, and I know for a fact she’s grown a lot since this was originally published. Still, it was more enjoyable than a lot of what I’d tried to read lately, with a surprising heat level considering it’s not an erotic romance. That’s down to the characters, and for getting to share that with them, I’m highly grateful.


8/10 – Dialogue that snaps along, enough description to make it visual…yep, it works for me.


6/10 – Hunky and adorable if a little too good to be true


7/10 – A go-getter with just enough skepticism to make her palatable

Entertainment value

7/10 – I can’t say I really cared for the way it all worked out, but I was wrapped up in the romance of it throughout the entire story

World building

6/10 – The paranormal explanations left a lot to be desired, but the Scottish setting is more than real



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