In this supernatural mystery, a woman’s dream house seems perfect for a bed-and-breakfast—but it comes with a curse and a few ghosts.
Rachel Morgan is ready for a permanent home. She’s been married to Ryan for less than a year, and since then, they’ve lived in four different cities. She finds an old, six-bedroom house in small Harwich Port, Massachusetts, where they can reside and run a B&B. The real-estate listing mentions rumors about the house being cursed and haunted, and Rachel thinks that such a reputation will certainly attract curious guests. She comes to realize, though, that the rumors may be true. There’s unexplainable, loud banging at night, for example, although only Ryan seems to hear it. The more pressing issue is Ryan’s secretiveness, as Rachel knows next to nothing about his job. This puts a strain on their marriage, so she runs the B&B without him. She befriends some intriguing Harwich locals, hires college-student Nikki as her assistant, and, soon, actually meets the house’s several ghostly residents. Thankfully, most of the spirits are amiable, and surprisingly protective. But one ghost, in particular, isn’t very friendly and may be responsible for the aforementioned curse, which may have caused the deaths of past residents. Rachel’s only hope is to convince this phantom to remove the curse once and for all. Bevans’ (Secrets on Sycamore Street, 2016, etc.) novel is an often lighthearted tale with plenty of melodrama and even some unexpected romance. The ghosts aren’t generally scary, but they do add intrigue to the story—particularly when they help Rachel in unusual ways. The unfriendly ghost, meanwhile, becomes a threat to someone that Rachel cares about. The book really hits its stride in its more realistic moments, as when Nikki encounters a delightfully mysterious guest at the B&B, discovers an unplanned pregnancy, and anticipates an impending storm that promises to be fierce. Several characters have their own subplots, but some storylines have no resolution, such as an alleged rape and the ghosts’ “mission.” Interestingly, however, Rachel acknowledges the lack of resolution regarding one issue, which ultimately leads to a mild but effective open ending.
Sharply drawn characters deliver a mostly jovial ghost story.