Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby - More Like Union Spirits, But Okay

Pros: Cute concept, easy read
Cons: A lot of little things that add up.

The Bottom Line: The premise of this book is very promising, but it doesn’t quite deliver.

I’m a sucker for ghostly love stories, but they’re tricky because it means that somebody is already dead – so how can there be a happily ever after in that case? Either way, I wanted to see how this one ended because hey, the summary made it sound like love might just find a way.

Lorelei Chase has just moved into a big old house in Gettysburg where her parents look forward to running a bed and breakfast. Great timing too because the big reenactment of the battle at Gettysburg is about to take place – which is precisely why Nathaniel Pierce has started appearing in her room. Except Nathaniel is dead. Lori has encountered a few ghosts before, but this takes the cake. Nathaniel made it through the battle – only to be murdered. And he wants Lori to solve the case. But if she doesn’t do it in time, Nathaniel will disappear from existence and that’s something neither of them wants to happen.
Sounds promising, right? I was excited because I like a good ghost mystery and when a ghost and living soul fall in love, I always like to hope that somehow things will turn out so that the ghost can be a live person again. However, this book had a lot of weird things going for it.

Giving the mystery case a time limit makes for a good ticking clock, but Lori only had about three days. Three! First of all, that’s not enough for a Civil War cold case. It isn’t nearly enough time for them to fall for each other to the point that they’re taking up time because they’re making out (during the battle’s anniversary he gets to become physical for a while, hence the ability to make out). Likewise, I’m pretty sure Nathaniel would feel making out with a girl without properly courting her is inappropriate, even if he has been lingering around in this plain of existence long enough to comprehend many of the changes.
The short time limit also drove me nuts because Lori knows for a fact that Nathaniel is going to go poof! in a few days, and yet she’s like, “Oh sorry, I have to go wash some dishes first.” I’m sorry, but a ghost asks for your help and you have that big of a case to solve, you don’t waste time.
There was also a weird red herring which eventually turned out to be oddly convenient. It’s hard to elaborate on without giving things away, but it was just a bit too deus ex machina for me. Along those same lines, I’d like to add that Lori doesn’t figure anything out. A friend does, her dog somehow does, and then the whole whodunit is handed to her on a silver platter. I was very disappointed with that because there are plenty of ways Ms. Lois Ruby could have written things for a more interesting discovery.
Then of course, there were the random bad guys. This made for a semi-interesting sub-plot, but I didn’t find it very believable. Lori gets no points for failing to report an intruder in the house (especially when she finds out who it is). Her parents get no points for failing to ask the realtor about certain people when they should have (and any business owner would have). And a mish-mash of other little details that had me saying, “….Seriously?”

While I do nag on this book a lot, like I said it’s a lot of little things that just added up that I wish the author’s critique buddies, agent, or even editor had pointed out. It was still a very fast and easy read, and I really liked Nathaniel (he’s a union soldier by the way, but I guess that wouldn’t have sounded as good for the title), and it was neat having a setting in Gettysburg with a Civil War mystery going on. Maybe nab it from the library and give it a whirl – maybe you’ll like it more than I did.

Notes from the Playlist: "The Mystic's Dream" by Loreena McKennitt

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