“I think, as readers, we all have a comfort read, the one book that protects us in the exact ways it needs to – whether it is a romance or erotica or a thriller or a crime story or a fantasy. A book that we find ourselves in, like looking in a mirror. Oh, you, too? It will ask, as it fills that soft, hollow place in our heart that nothing else dared to touch. I think we all deserve a book like that, whatever yours is.” – Ashley Poston, The Dead Romantics readers guide.
I can’t honestly say what I love more; The Dead Romantics, or its author, Ashley Poston. I haven’t actually met Ashley, but I’m pretty confident we’d be instant besties if I ever got the chance.
I saw her on Good Morning America, and she’s exactly what you’d hope for; a bit wide-eyed at her success, utterly without pretense (no Warby Parkers or studied-casual scarf for this literary sensation), and quirky.
I saw the GMA interview before I read The Dead Romantics, so admittedly I was inclined to like it, but it surpassed even my high expectations. What’s more astonishing is that Ashton dips her toes in many tropes we’ve seen before without the narrative ever feeling like a re-run.
Here are the things that should make this novel derivative:
- The love interest is a ghost.
- The heroine’s family owns a funeral home in a small town. Cue the small-town tropes and Dad-jokes about death.
- The heroine, Florence Day, is an author, the main ghoul, and the editor. To take the this-could-be-bad stakes up a notch, she is a ghostwriter.
- Florence can talk to ghosts.
Somehow, despite the odds, The Dead Romantics is one of the most original novels I’ve read. Poston’s love for this story, and her total belief in it, shine through her writing. She leaves the reader with no other option than to open wide, accept the hook, and be pulled along.
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