This is an unusual ghost story that is beautifully written. Aida Brassington’s debut novel grabbed me from the first – it is 1970 and Patrick Boyle suffers a fatal accident. Ms. Brassington charmingly weaves some of the headlines, fads, and divisive politics of that turbulent decade into the young man’s story. I remember that time well, as I graduated from high school in 1971. I loved the little trips down memory lane; to see how Patrick, even as a ghost, remains shaped by the events of his lifetime. The comparisons between then and now are astutely demonstrated and, for me, add another layer of entertainment.
Sara certainly is an odd duck and I had trouble connecting with her, especially at first. For me, the story occasionally bogged down somewhat in the morass of her peculiarities, and I wanted to hurry it along. But, once she and Patrick finally connected, the story took off, and I shook off my exasperation.
The ending is so satisfying and well-thought out. While not totally a surprise, I was impressed with the congruency of the resolution, given the supernatural nature of this tale. Looking for an unusual blend of sweet romance and benign haunting? This unique novel should fit the bill nicely.
There are things Patrick Boyle will never forget: the sound of his own neck breaking at the moment of his death in the fall of 1970, the sweet taste of his mother's chocolate cake, and the awful day his parents abandoned him in his childhood house-turned prison.
Nineteen-year-old Patrick wonders for decades if God has forgotten all about him or if he's being punished for some terrible crime or sin over a lovely forty years trapped in an empty home. But when Sara Oswald, a strange woman with a mysterious past, buys his house, old feelings reawaken, and a new optimism convinces him that she's the answer to his prayers.
Things are never simple, though, especially when she begins channeling the memories of his life and death in her writing.