Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Ashley Poston - The Dead Romantics

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.
When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.
For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.
Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.
Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

Comment: This book has had some hype and I agreed with a friend to read it sooner than later, and that is why we got to it still in 2022. I don't think it worked out as well for me as it did for my friend, but it had its cute moments, yes.

In this story we meet Florence Day, a young woman who hasn't had much success with her debut book and now she works as a ghostwriter for a very famous romance novelist. Florence has done a great job but she can't seem to be able to finish the last book, still part of her contract. When Benji Andor, a new editor takes over her novels, she thinks her career will be over, after all a romance writer not believing in romance anymore and missing the final deadline? Not done...but things take a radical turn when Florence receives the call announcing her beloved father is dead. As she rushes back home to deal with this, she is also informed her new editor had an accident and she starts seeing his ghost. It seems she has gotten more time after all and if she sees Benji's ghost it's because she needs to help him cross over, butt he longer he is around her and they talk, the more she likes him. Will Florence find a solution to all these issues?

Let me say right away that I liked the book. However, I wasn't dazzled by it and perhaps, in part, the reason is that I was so into how it begun that I feel the development and plot choices weren't that appealing to me. I know this is terribly personal, maybe not the author's intention, but the initial setting in New York about a young novelist with doubts and a ghost editor was so charming. I did think the story would be about and focused on that.

However, this is actually a story about wanting to believe in love again, of wanting to feel confident again in the things that Florence was good at, and for that she had to go back home, where most of her insecurities originated. But, then, her dead editor's ghost - presumably the hero - follows her all that way and the setting is, for around 80% perhaps, in Florence's hometown instead. This doesn't have to be a problem but the first chapters about Florence in New York were so cute... I found the transition jarring.

I guess what made me think this is that, besides all the situations already included we also had Florence's ex stealing ideas and memories from her to his book, we had a dead father who left a list of things to be done and some were very odd, we had the dead ghost who knows how to follow Florence to her hometown?, we have the family dynamics between Florence and mainly her sister to be considered, we have the deadline still looming somehow... I think there was just too much going on and too many too specific details included, making the story feel cluttered and distracting for me.

The idea and the general impression I got were good, thus why I liked the book, but when I think about every single detail alone, it can feel quite busy and tiring. I suppose if the setting didn't change, if all this were to happen at the same spot Florence lived in or if her "baggage" had one or two less elements... I can't say for certain but there were moments where Florence's thoughts and actions just failed to interest me and I was eager to get to the end where the whole ghost situation would be solved.

The romance is cute but not amazingly romantic to me. I think it's a pity because Florence and Benji clearly like the same things, have more things in common than what we know at first and have complementary personalities and even jobs. It was cute how they got to know each other better while Florence is helping him but the way we are told they are falling in love seemed a bit under developed. I wasn't sold on that fact even when they said words to that effect or acted as if they were.

This being a romance, of course there is a solution for their problem of not being in the same plane of existence. Unlike some readers I wasn't that devoted to this to have guessed immediately how this would be achieved, but rest assured that there is a way.
I also think the detail about Florence seeing ghosts wasn't developed properly, it's like that extra that allows the romance to be a possibility but I didn't believe this was such a big deal because we only know about it when it becomes convenient, and that makes me think it might not have been the author's first idea to develop the romance the way she did. 

I feel a little disappointed. Something must be very wrong with me, I always make assumptions, create ideas about what the stories will be like and often the execution of some just baffles me. I wanted this to be about Florence dealing with her novelist issues, more book talk, more writing talk... I don't mind the ghost idea and Florence could have dealt with loss and mourning and all the things she does while helping Benji anyway, in New York or in her hometown, but why couldn't things just happen in one place and focused on one idea? All the childhood and mortuary business memories were fine, but why mix it up with al the other many other elements too? It was too much and while it's a cute story, it's just not memorable for me.
Grade: 5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment