Author: Rosie Walsh
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: July 24, 2018
(Digital ARC graciously provided by Penguin Publishing Group via their First to Read program)
Romance, mystery and family drama abound in Ghosted, Rosie Walsh’s first novel published under her real name.
When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.
Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.
Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth.
It seems like the typical love story.
Sarah and Eddie meet in a quiet rural lane in Gloucestershire. Their attraction is instant, immediately becoming lovers only after a whole day together talking over drinks at their local pub. They spend six more days together, cocooned in the bliss of their newfound love. Their week is halted, however, when Eddie leaves for his planned vacation to Spain. Secured in the knowledge that they will see each other again, Sarah and Eddie part exchanging phone numbers and social media details so they can still keep in touch.
Eddie neither calls nor texts. Even on social media, he is silent. Like a ghost, he seems to have vanished into thin air. Distraught and worried that something bad might have happened to him, Sarah stalks his accounts, sends him numerous messages and calls his number all to no avail. Friends tell her to let Eddie go, to accept that he has changed his mind about her and them, but Sarah just cannot, convinced there is a reason behind Eddie’s radio silence. When she proves herself right, she must confront ugly events from her past if only to have a chance at a future with the man she has fallen in love with.
I really, really wanted to love this book. It just looked like something that I might like, but a couple of days after finishing, the only thing I’m feeling for Ghosted is ambivalence.
Without even giving much focus on their insta-love, Eddie and Sarah’s characters just felt flat to me. I couldn’t connect with them no matter how much I wanted to. Shallowly drawn and caricature-like, there wasn’t much to go about these two. I did not care what happens to them, if they get back together or not, probably because I did not get to know Eddie and Sarah well enough to even develop a bit of empathy for their characters. The same goes for the rest of the cast. Even the extraneous plot lines featuring these secondary characters – the affair between Sarah’s two best friends, Jenni’s IVF, her ex-husband’s new relationship – felt surface and don’t add anything to the story as a whole.
The mystery element of this story, however, was what kept me reading.
The puzzling letters, the constantly mentioned but absent younger sister, the dropped clues about a tragic accident – all these were intriguing enough that I continued reading Ghosted. Things started to become interesting about halfway through the book when, finally, more details about Sarah’s younger sister Hannah and the accident she was involved in were revealed. But this high point did not last long for me as the twists Walsh kept on throwing got very old fast. The revelations felt contrived and unbelievable, and by the end of the book, I just did not care for it anymore.
Rosie Walsh, who has written several books under her pen name Lucy Robinson, definitely had some good ideas for this book; it was in the execution of these ideas though that she failed. I hate to admit this, but Ghosted just was not for me.