“Ghost of the Falls” by Sarah Gilman

Posted on October 22, 2013

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Plot: Jade Clarence is an exorcist who falls in love with a ghost.

This novella was a light and refreshing read that would be perfect for a lazy afternoon.

It slips perfectly into the romance genre. It was well paced, the characters were as fleshed out as they could be in 54 pages, the writing wasn’t too purple and was at times quite poignant. I found the premise interesting because I haven’t actually read a story that has romance and smuttiness with a ghost before.

I have now learned that sexing with ghosts provides interesting sensations. Who knew?

FYI the sex scene is kinda kinky and not a little hot. I may now have a serious case of ghost lust.

However I would have loved to have seen this fleshed out into a full length novel because it did leave me with questions. (I’ll fully admit that this might be personal bias; I like complicated romances and love thinking about things.)

I wanted more of the back story to the family business and to the ghosts’ character. Gilman focuses mostly on Jade’s back story because it was integral to the conflict in the plot but I wouldn’t have minded seeing a bit more of the other characters.

I would have liked more explanation around the theology and theory around souls and ghosts. I would have liked a better glimpse into the world of the supernatural. Admittedly Gilman does a good job of covering the basics for this story but I did want more, especially about the ghosts limitations. (Is there a limit to how long the ghost can remain in human form? What about ghost babies?)

I was left wondering until the end of the story if the ghost could actually leave the area around his body. I felt this would have been better placed towards the beginning of the story because it was a little distracting. I had the same problem with the ghosts’ willing isolation. Gilman doesn’t explain until the last couple of pages why the ghost wasn’t interacting with humans and since his loneliness (which could have been easily fixed as he could stay in human form and pretend to be human) was a catalyst for the plot I felt this deserved an explanation sooner.

But perhaps the biggest problem I had with this story was the way Jade was infantilised by her family. There was a lot of discussion around how the men in her family felt she might be too emotional and not hard enough to undergo the rigours of conducting an exorcism. This struck me as a rather rigid and unpleasant determination of gender roles and it spoiled the story for me a little.

Just on that note I didn’t like the way her brother’s were portrayed as being so rigid. The elder brother in particular acts like a arrogant arse and was clearly meant to be the villain of the piece. I felt a little like his actions were unbelievable and I think writing her family in this manner was a little lazy.

Finally I wasn’t sure why Jade was the only member of the family to see the value in trying to exorcise a ghost without doing it harm. I get that granddaddy exorcist hated ghosts when he wrote the initial spells but surely after a few centuries the family wouldn’t have felt the need to needlessly torture them?

Just about all of the problems that I had could have been solved by turning this into a longer story. As it was it was an enjoyable way to spend a half hour and despite my complaints it’s not a half bad read (also for the price of $2 on amazon it’s worth the read).

If I was to actually rate it I’d give it a C.

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Posted in: Review