My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Ghosts of the Falls by Sarah Gilman was a nice and short ghost story where an exorcist and a ghost fall in love with each-other. Although the concept of the story seemed so very intriguing, I did have the moments where I thought this could’ve been much more, especially when I consider how soon Jade and Dutch fell for each-other. It was contrived a little too rushed IMO.
Jade is an exorcist with special abilities to detect ghosts. She can hear them or feel their energies around. Exorcism is a family business and Jade has been working with her two brothers, the elder Aaron and the younger, Jeremy. But a recent disaster on a job and the following death of a woman has left Jade shaky and depressed. A stern Aaron has warned her that she might even lose her job if she can’t prove herself in this line of work, and Jade is not about to give up.
On this mission, Jade is sent to exorcise a ghost that has been haunting a whole park and its surrounding buildings. Apparently, this male ghost has been around for a long time, since his death in the 1800s. But a recent tumult of activities scared the visitors of the Motel away. Then a call from someone to check up on it and exorcise the ghost came, which is why Jade is here.
On her first day, while exploring the site, Jade meets Dutch, a handsome young man who comes forward and introduces himself as the person reported the haunting. Jade falls for Dutch on spot, seeing how he was only clad in a pair of trousers and work boots and nothing else. Later Jade finds the gravesite deep in the woods, near the falls from where he fell and died. The stone on the grave still spells a name- Derrick Hutchinson. He was a one of the loggers who were working to clear that part of the wood. Jade knew that the ghost would be active around his gravesite. She is also able to feel his energy around but not the truth of whom she just met!
But of course, I kinda knew who Dutch was... yep, Dutch or Derrick is our ghostly H, who can assume his corporeal form whenever he wants to and can transform back into his disembodied one just as easily. It remained a mystery to me, just how or why he was able to do it so but later, Jade tried explaining that this might be because of the strong energy that this area holds. Dutch has been here for long, so he’s been loaded with that strong energy, giving him enough to become real. I wasn’t sure about that though.
Anyway, Dutch’s little secret is revealed when Jade tries to bind the ghost to his gravesite at a time when he was also present with her. Jade is angry at him for hiding the truth, but what the poor guy could’ve done? I felt for Dutch, he was such a sweet guy. He just wanted to leave this earth for good because he couldn’t take his lonely existence anymore. That is why he staged all those haunting and called in the exorcist. He certainly wasn’t thinking of liking the exorcist in question!
As it happens, in those few days, Jade is a convert. She totally believes in Dutch and didn’t have any intention of exorcising him because the more they talk and spend time together, the more she felt protective of him. Something deeper was already forming in her heart. She knows that the specific process of exorcism that her family performs inflicts agonizing pain on the spirits. Even though she was quite worried about Aaron’s stance about it, Jade hadn’t the heart to put Dutch through that.
You ask, did they have sex? You bet! Dutch’s corporeal form is just as any full-blooded male. It feels, it gets a hard on. And it has a heartbeat. When Jade asks Dutch about it, he keeps saying that this is an illusion, not meant for her to take seriously. But Jade isn’t convinced. She is sure she could find a way for Dutch to be in this world living a better life, preferably sharing it with her. Soon, Dutch’s long dead heart also starts agreeing with this idea. This was a temptation even a ghost couldn’t resist! But when her brothers come in search of her and Aaron decides to perform the exorcism no matter, Jade had to take some drastic measure (and a leap of faith) to save the man she’s gradually falling in love with.
Don’t expect any traditional HEA. I’m not even sure there should be any because there was no precise solution for their life ahead. The whole ending seemed vague. I would’ve loved to know something more specific about it.
Ghosts of the Falls is not one of those creepy or scary Halloween read but if you’re looking for a sweet love-story with a twist of its own, give it a try! 3.5 stars.
PS: I did love to whom the author dedicated this story. I’m intrigued. Who exactly is Charles?
This ARC was provided to me by Entangled Ever After via netgalley which didn’t influence my review and rating in any way.