Unemployed, with her savings dwindling, Sara Howell thinks things are looking up when she lands a ghostwriting job and rents the affordable island home of her favorite author, Seth Fortner, who mysteriously disappeared in 1925.
Strange things happen, making Sara wonder if Seth ever left. When she finds an old trunk of Seth’s letters, she delves into a world she never imagined, filled with love and a family curse it seems only she can break.
As I do whenever possible, I read this story blind, without reading the synopsis. It was a slow build for me, and I wasn’t sure about Sara. She seemed very meek and mousy, and I was not really much invested in her woes as a ghostwriter for a political biography. And what was the deal with her obsession over a writer, Seth Fortner, that had been dead for over 80 years?
That didn’t last long, however, and I’m still finding that this story is sticking with me. After Sara moves into the island home of her beloved author, things really pick up. In fact, I could not stop reading until I had finished the whole thing. I was pulled in by Sara and the mysterious story surrounding Seth and his early demise. I realized at that point that the title was not only an indication of Sara’s profession. Seth makes his appearance, first to scare Sara away…but when that doesn’t work, an unlikely friendship develops. Then turns into something more.
“You left your hair down.”
Sara reached up to touch it. She hadn’t realized. But in dreams, one’s self-image was what was projected and for some reason, Sara had pictured herself with loose, flowing hair around her shoulders, icy white in the moonlight.
Seth stroked a lock of it. “It’s beautiful, you know. I heard you muttering to yourself about it one day, threatening to cut it all off. I almost broke my silence to urge you not to do it.”
“It’s limp and colorless.”
“It’s as soft and fine as gossamer, and the color of the moonlight on sand. I’ve never seen hair quite that color before.”
“You have a way with words, Mr. Fortner.” Sara smiled at him with a flirtatious bat of her eyelashes. She’d never tried batting her eyes before, but she thought it went over well. “If I’m not careful, a smooth-talking rogue like you could turn my head.
“I want you to turn your head.” Seth gently cupped the underside of Sara’s jaw and tilted her head up to give her a soft, sweet kiss that curled her toes.
She slid her arms up around his neck and the soft moan she heard must have come from herself, slipped out from her unbidden.
Seth’s arms tightened around Sara and he made a sound deep in his throat, that sounded a bit like a moan, too.
Oh, God, if just a kiss could set my senses alight . . . Sara wouldn’t let herself finish that thought, but now was no time for thinking, anyway. She felt his tongue lightly stroke her lip and she opened her mouth on a gasp. He took it as an invitation.
A fragment of Sylvia Plath’s Mad Girl’s Love Song flitted through her head: “ . . . And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane . . .” She could think she had made Seth up inside her head because nothing could have ever been more perfect, more beautiful than this moment under the stars with the waves lapping at their feet.
Seth pulled back, reluctantly, and as tempted as she was to throw herself into his arms and knock him onto his back in the sand, she knew it was too soon. She had to allow this to unfurl gently, naturally, and she could only pray for patience.
Just in case you are wondering how they are managing to kiss when only one has a corporeal form? Well…read it and find out! *grins*
This is a beautifully written story, and though the concept is predictable I found the story to be anything but. The relationship between Sara and Seth is achingly poignant, and Seth’s old fashioned ideas of courting are so damn adorable. I could not help but swoon for Seth in a big way. Sara is not at all as meek and mousy as she first appears to be, and the growth her character experiences throughout the story is inspiring.
I enjoyed the plentiful historical references to WWI, and I absolutely loved the letters Seth had written to his wife and family at that time. Letter writing is truly a lost art. Don’t guys realize how easy it would be to hook us if they bothered to put pen to paper? Duh…
I know that some will have a difficult time with a developing relationship between a ghost and a living person, but come on…this is fiction people. Let go and enjoy it. This is an endearing love story with mystery, intrigue, and heart.