A compelling story that wraps paranormal, faith, and grief into a cohesive read.

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smangela112 Avatar


I'll start by saying the book wasn't what I had expected from the "first look." I'm not sure what I expected, but the story was more centered on grief and healing and faith than paranormal.

Our two main characters are Emily, a young woman fresh out of law school starting her first job. She's had unbearable grief in her lifetime. At a young age Emily's parents were killed in a car accident. From the outside she looks like a shining example of perseverance in the face of tragedy. She has excelled at every task she's undertaken, she graduated law school and was sought after by many law firms. She's tried to honor her parents by following in their lawyer footsteps. But if you dig just a slight bit into Emily you'll see she's quite stuck. She's never fully grieved the loss she experienced. She just keeps pushing and running forward tackling obstacles and ignoring the emotions as best as she can. There is a feeling that her happiness lies at the end of the goal, but not in the process of achieving the goal. It's gotten her this far, but it's starting to boil over now. It's affecting her relationship with her boyfriend, Ryan, relationship with her guardians, and her job.

Then we have Elizabet. She's a ghost. She's been haunting the church Emily is working in for 80 years now. She's not the only spirit hanging around, there is also Dorothea, alias Madame Lou, the infamous Madame of Seattle. They're life-long friends, well, even longer than life actually. She's been here waiting for her husband, Rupert. Rupert passed away too soon into their marriage and Elizabet has been grieving him ever since. Elizabet's grief has mostly consumed her, it was like a full-time job in her living life and she's clinging to the grief and his memory even in death. Dorothea is eager to get going, she's done with living in this limbo but won't leave Elizabet behind.

Their stories collide when Emily begins archiving the basement storage of the church. Elizabet is beside herself with the idea that her beloved church could be destroyed. Emily's work though is interesting to her and the more she uncovers, like Elizabet's own diaries, the more Elizabet takes interest. Emily could be the key to saving the church. And more than that, whether Elizabet realizes it or not, Emily and Elizabet have much in common.

The way Williams weaves together the stories of past and present, she shows how grief and healing is timeless. She plays with faith and I think readers can make of that what they will. It isn't a novel that tries to push a religion or belief system on you, but adds an element of "wisdom" for the characters involved and I enjoyed it.