Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review: Haunted Ever After

By Melissa Amster

Halloween is coming, which means ghost stories are just waiting to be told. I'm not much for horror, but I like a good Chick Lit ghost story (such as Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella). Thanks to Juliet Madison, I had a real "treat" from reading Haunted Ever After!

When bride-to-be Sally Marsh attends a weekend away with her bridesmaids, the last thing she expects is an uninvited guest: the ghost of her fiancé's ex-girlfriend.

Red is quirky, loud and distracting, and Sally is soon desperate to find the reason behind her presence, so she can rid herself of her embarrassing shadow before the wedding day. Unfortunately, the ghost is reluctant to share the reason for her existence, but very enthusiastic about Ty, the surprise hen’s night stripper who keeps showing up at awkward moments.

Time is running out for Sally, but it’s also running out for Red. By the time all is revealed, Sally will be tested to the limits, and go above and beyond everything she’s ever believed in order to ensure not only her own happy-ever-after – but Red’s as well.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

I've enjoyed everything that Juliet has written in the past two years, and Haunted Ever After is no exception. Honestly, I went into it expecting a book version of Over Her Dead Body (this Eva Longoria movie that I never even watched but knew enough of from previews). However, Juliet goes above and beyond the story of a dead girlfriend who haunts the new woman in her boyfriend's life. Especially since that isn't Red's mission. Haunted Ever After might start out a bit silly, but it has a lot of substance that I didn't see coming. I just thought it was going to be light and funny because of the bachelorette party, with a touch of sexiness courtesy of the stripper. There's so much more to it than that and it makes for a bittersweet and emotional story.

I don't understand much about ghosts, but I happened to read two ghost-themed stories around the same time and both had the ghosts making physical contact with the living and their objects. (Ex. Red is able to blow out candles and grab Sally's arm.) I can't wrap my head around how that is possible, but I guess that's the way it works in books? I haven't really watched any ghost-themed movies in a while as most are horror-based. Also, the cover art didn't seem to work for the story. It has a romance novel feel while I think having a woman look in the mirror and see herself with another woman next to her would be more relevant. (Or something along those lines.)

Overall, Haunted Ever After is a great read, whether it's around Halloween or any other time of year. (It takes place in Australia's winter, which is summer for other countries.) I applaud Juliet's writing once again and look forward to her upcoming novels, including more in the "Tarrin's Bay" series. She recently posted a cover picture and synopsis for her upcoming holiday novella, 12 Daves of Christmas. And what do you know...there's a ghost involved!

I had a difficult time casting this story in my head (at least for the lead roles), but Juliet had some great ideas and shared them on Pinterest. Definitely check them out! I could actually see Wendi McLendon-Covey as Georgie and Ellie Kemper as Mel, two of Sally's friends who share in her Bachelorette Weekend (both were in Bridesmaids). Come to think of it, Maya Rudolph might be good as Lorena.

Thanks to Escape Publishing for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Juliet Madison: