The Ghost of Greenwich Village

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The Ghost of Greenwich Village

A Novel

For all intents and purposes, a novel with a title like The Ghost of Greenwich Village might be one to provide a night of scary entertainment. However, this is not the case for Lorna Graham's debut novel. Instead of being very afraid before you sit down to read this book, be prepared to laugh, to cheer characters on and to grip the book in excitement as characters telling people off and scenes of danger and mystery unfold before you. For a novel with a title meant to provoke fear or terror in readers, it is actually one which will have them slapping their foreheads in disbelief over such panache or falling out of the chair laughing out loud over such wit.

And that fits with the actual ghostly star of the story, Donald Bellows. Ghosts are supposed to be scary, right? They are supposed to frighten you or move things about. Even hide things, for crying out loud!

But such parlor tricks are beneath the attention of Mr. Bellows for, you see, he was a writer in his previous life and, it would seem, he is a writer even still. Move things about to scare people? Make eerie noises in the middle of the night? Rubbish! He has bigger fish to fry - such as, writing what he deems to be his greatest work of literary prowess yet.

And he implores Eve Weldon, a tenant in his former apartment, to be the unfortunate victim - er, "recipient," of his stories, via the telepathic form of communication he develops with young Eve.

Eve is not so inclined to be Donald's trusted secretary, ready to take dictation whenever the muse strikes him. She, too, is on a mission: To live what must have been the life her mother, Penelope, during the Beat generation in New York. She, like her mother, takes up residence in Greenwich Village, channeling whatever remnants from her mother's past she is able to come up with by reading what her mother read, wearing what her mother wore, visiting places her mother had visited and trying to recreate her mother's life somehow in her humble little Village apartment. She revisits memories of her mother before this woman died of cancer before young Eve's eyes, reconstructing the scattered fragmented puzzle pieces of who her mother truly had been and what her life had been like before settling down with her father in the Midwest to be a wife and mother. What kind of life had her mother surrendered - and why? In ironic turns of events of meeting someone her mother admired and researching journals written by people Mr. Bellows knew, Eve gets the answers to her questions - but are they the answers she really wants? In what way do they draw her closer to understanding the kind of person, writer and lover her mother had been so long ago?

Reading this novel took me along on Eve's journey of self-discovery. I admired her determination to "make it" in New York despite everything that constantly seems to come crashing down all around her as she struggles to keep her head above water. She is a headstrong and brave young woman staring down the forces of New Yorkers who throw a punch or two at her when they don't get their way. Most of all, Eve refuses to leave even after things turn darker and this is what makes her a character I wanted to stick with to the very end. I wanted to know what happened and what decision she will ultimately make because of everything she learned and discovered.

The Ghost of Greenwich Village is a gripping, entertaining novel I found hard to put down. It is a story of self-discovery and passion, of determination and wit. Reading this story was like cheering on a best friend struggling to make it in the great Big Apple, and hoping she'll find a way to get out of the many sticky situations that come with it.

Book Blurb for The Ghost of Greenwich Village

In this charming fiction debut, a young woman moves to Manhattan in search of romance and excitement—only to find that her apartment is haunted by the ghost of a cantankerous Beat Generation writer in need of a rather huge favor.

For Eve Weldon, moving to Greenwich Village is a dream come true. She’s following in the bohemian footsteps of her mother, who lived there during the early sixties among a lively community of Beat artists and writers. But when Eve arrives, the only scribe she meets is a grumpy ghost named Donald, and the only writing she manages to do is for chirpy segments on a morning news program, Smell the Coffee. The hypercompetitive network environment is a far cry from the genial camaraderie of her mother’s literary scene, and Eve begins to wonder if the world she sought has faded from existence. But as she struggles to balance her new job, demands from Donald to help him complete his life’s work, a budding friendship with a legendary fashion designer, and a search for clues to her mother’s past, Eve begins to realize that community comes in many forms—and that the true magic of the Village is very much alive, though it may reveal itself in surprising ways.

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2011 5.00