Review of The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
Love is dead. No, literally. From National Bestselling author Ashley Poston comes The Dead Romantics, a romantic comedy about accepting the ghosts of our past and falling back in love with love itself.
Romance ghostwriter Florence Day has the all-time greatest case of writer’s block. How can she finish her latest book when she doesn’t even believe in love anymore? Her good-looking new editor doesn’t agree with this sentiment though, and just when Florence thinks her writing career is on the chopping block, one gut-wrenching phone call stops everything dead in its tracks. Now Florence has two impossible tasks: a book to finish, and a father to bury.
Florence returns to her hometown of Mairmont for the first time in ten years, only to be met with an abundance of surprises: her late father’s elaborate burial wishes, and even more surprising, the ghost of her newly deceased editor, Benji Andor. As if she didn’t already have enough on her plate, now Florence must help her handsome phantom with his unfinished business. If only either of them knew what his unfinished business actually was.
The Dead Romantics is a never-saw-it-coming marriage between Nora Ephron and Sixth Sense, burning a candle for scorned lovers, ex-fan-fiction writers, and small-town weirdos alike. Poston shows that a great summer story doesn’t always have to be set on a beach, proven by her ability to trap the magic of a southern evening in a jar and unleash it on the pages of her novel. Glittering descriptions of Mairmont’s ghosts and moonlit walks in the graveyard create an intimate small town where everyone knows everyone, and sometimes the dead stick around.
While the ghosts of Mairmont could be more prominent–especially given their impact on Florence’s life–their presence gives the small town the perfect quirky feel. They subvert normal expectations; rather than being spooky, they’re soft-edged beams of light, memories and faces in the crowd looking to wrap up their time on the mortal plane before passing on. This lends an extra layer of charm to Benji, making him the ultimate spectral companion to Florence.
Mairmont’s living residents are just as much fun as the dead ones, from the Day family to the oddballs in dive bars and eccentric bed and breakfast owners. Florence’s memories of growing up are particularly well written, doled out in little pieces over the course of the book as she reconnects with each member. Readers will find themselves right at home with the Days in the most unexpected of places–a funeral home. In the end, it’s the endearing–and surprisingly sexy–chemistry between heart-of-gold book nerds Benji and Florence that will sweep you off your feet and out of the grave. Relatable, charming, and predictable in all the right places (and unpredictable in even better ones), The Dead Romantics is here to prove once and for all that love might be dead, but it isn’t buried.
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston is published by Berkley and available for purchase at your local independent bookstore or wherever fine books are sold.