Title: Giving up the Ghost
Author: Melissa Ecker
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Fans of light paranormal romance should keep an eye out for Melissa Ecker. In Giving up the Ghost, she brings readers a warm and engaging tale about transcending deep, personal loss and finding love, despite great evil.
Kylie and Jackson have the kind of marriage one can dream of, and a beautiful daughter, Abby. A bright future lies ahead of them, or so it seems. A tragic accident changes all of that in a heartbeat, and Kylie finds herself in the unenviable position of widow and single mother.
All is not lost, however. Kylie has the support of her loving family, as well as Jackson’s best friend, Ryan, who steps into the breach. He’s never settled down and it’s while he spends time with Kylie and Abby, that he grows into the realisation that he wants more than just friendship, and that fatherhood appeals to him.
Unfortunately Kylie’s grief is still fresh, and her love for Jackson threatens to turn into an obsession as she hangs onto his memories. Symbols of this include his wedding ring, which she wears on a chain around her neck, or the fact that she goes to bed wearing one of his sweatshirts.
This fixation on her lost husband offers a malignant spirit—an incubus—the opportunity to latch onto Kylie and feed off her vitality. At first she welcomes this intrusion, confusing it with her husband’s spirit, but its presence in her life soon displays a darker side. Kylie begins to weaken physically and emotionally, and cut herself off from the ones closest to her.
In order to recover Kylie literally needs to give up the ghost that’s haunting her, and it’s touching to view her transformation from grief-stricken widow, into a radiant, confident woman, despite the grave danger in which she’s placed.
Stylistically I had a few quibbles with regard to the editing, which could have called for better layering and a tighter pace. Certain key scenes were a bit too short while others could have benefited from trimming, especially near the end where some of the tension could have been ratcheted up. I had some issues with regard to motivations, in that I felt Kylie’s and Ryan’s acceptance of supernatural events was a bit too convenient, but this did not detract much from my overall enjoyment of the novel.
Giving up the Ghost is, on the whole, a satisfying read within its genre, and if I had to highlight my favourite scene, it’s definitely the one where Kylie and Ryan make love out in the woods while it’s raining—incredibly sensual.