My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Wanted: One Ghost by Loni Lynne was an exciting read from the beginning till the end. I love ghost stories and this book didn’t disappoint me. I loved the premise, all the intricate ideas of Psychometry and how it was played throughout the story. There were a few minor complaints and distractions that I could’ve done without though. I’ll try to elaborate in the following.
April has the gift of Psychometry. She discovered this since she was a child, which is an inheritance from her mother’s side of the family. Her grandma Dottie and aunt Vickie have inherited such paranormal abilities from their mother, though their gifts differ, i.e. Vickie can feel the energy in her environment and can read the past from there. April’s mother, Virginia, who has always tried to ignore her ability, can hear the entities who seek her out to tell their stories. But Virginia hates this more than anything. She has dreaded April having to cope with something like this from their ‘freaky’ inheritance, and sure enough, April can see the past vividly by touching an artifact or an object. She has studied and trained to be a Historian. April loves her work but her love life has not gone so good. She couldn’t very well confide in her boyfriends. The last break up was really sordid because the guy blamed her for making things up. After that, April has been discreet about her abilities.
Presently, April is in the King’s Mill to unearth some important information about a man named James Addison, who was very popular in his days some 200 plus years ago. His gristmill was the biggest in the Kings Mill area (named after the said mill). He was also a known rake, a womanizer with questionable reputation of having ménage a trois with barmaids. Addison hailed from England to settle here but met an untimely demise when he was charged with treason and hanged. One of his descendents, a reclusive British billionaire named Kenneth Miles has hired April to dig out more authentic information about James Addison and if he owned the gristmill or not. Apparently, all the historical facts tell them that he never owned the mill but the then commissioner of the area, Henry Samuel did. Miles obviously has some business venture in mind and wants the information ASAP.
The tree where Addison was hanged, alongside some other spots are currently known as the hot spots of Paranormal activities. Kings Mill has a steady income from having ghost tours and other festivals that connects James Addison to the history of this place quite solidly. His hanging is the part of that yearly festival closer to the Halloween. Plays, dramas, ghost tours and what-nots are acted out. April is currently staying with her aunt Vickie who bought a colonial house here some years ago. April wants to do some thorough research, using whatever historical records she can find alongside her own special ability.
When the story begins, April was attending a ghost tour but the guide was obviously following a script, which would not be very helpful in her work. As the tour moves away, April decides to stay a while. Then she notices a man in colonial dress under the tree were Addison was hanged. April takes the man as another guide (Halloween time and ghost tours, people do dress up for those) and decides to ask him some questions. April manages to get him to give her a personal tour. When she’s about to leave, April is so impressed by his authenticity (his dress-up, his knowledge of the history of Kings Mill, accent etc.) alongside his good looks, that she’s moved to take a picture. At home, the truth is slapped on her face when she’s unable find the man in the picture but an orb. Aunt Vickie sagely confirms that she has seen her first real ghost!
James has been roaming the streets of Kings Mill since the day he has died of that false accusation. Yes he has been all those things that people like to talk about (especially his ‘prowess in bed’ which makes still makes him preen *eyeroll*) but he has never committed treason in his life. He has heard a lot of distorted versions of why he was hanged; one was about him having an affair with Henry’s pretty and sweet wife, Catherine which is a bald-faced lie. So far, James has never been able to contact or communicate with anyone. He has also been reliving his life as he did all those years ago (a residual thing), finally going back to his execution scene, though after 200 yrs. it has lost its gruesome touch. But James has had enough. He wants answers so that he can move on.
When that pretty young woman starts talking to him, James couldn’t believe it! When the truth dawns upon him, James couldn’t help doing a little jig. Someone is finally able to contact with him, even though she has no idea what she’s doing. James doesn’t want to frighten her so he acts as if he’s a tour guide. He likes the woman immediately, and wants her help to get the answer he’s looking for. But the next time he sees her, James startles her quite a bit. April was still pretty shaken from what Aunt Vickie told her. She went to this tour of the nearby cemetery when the tomb of the commissioner attracts her. She was trying to take an engraving when a hot electric passes through her. Then she finds James there, talking to her! April totally freaks out and decides to run away but James’s plea finally gets to her and she promises help. He leads her to his unmarked grave (no one has been able to find out where he was buried until today). When April touches the grave to find out what this might tell her, something happens to her... and to James. This complex form of power brings James back to life as the full-blooded man he once used to be!
Could you tell I was hooked in this book? Yep, I was!
April freaks the hell out after this incident. So far, she had the idea that she can only use her psychometry, but whadda hell was that? What has she done to bring a dead man to life?! She can’t come terms with this fact, which was understandable. Since he had no other place to go, April takes James to Vickie’s house. Vickie is also a little worried but more than that, she’s intrigued. Vickie wants to know what kind of ability April actually has, and how far this can go. Would this be something good or bad for her later on? But right now, there’s one hungry ghost at her resident and he needs to be taken care of. Vickie can’t but also notice James’s good looks when he was busy touching everything around him (you can imagine, after 200+ years, the man must’ve felt... crazy or something! I can’t even imagine.). She makes unsubtle hints to April about his studly looks, and then asks her to take James out to buy him food and clothes.
April tries her best to keep her recent ‘find’ a secret, but she has to carry on with her research if she has to keep her job. Moreover, James wants her help to uncover the truth of his death. In between, more paranormal activities keep intruding. One day, April drives up to the place where the gristmill once stood. She is bombarded by visions, played out in her mind as if she’s there with them. Visions of people working, then the vision of the fire that burned down the whole mill and James’s house. She also sees who were killed in the fire, or so she thought. The young woman can see her, but April can’t do anything to help her or the unconscious young man with her. April is terrified of this too realistic vision. Then later, on she encounters a ghost in the room next to hers. April recognizes the young woman from the mill. She was very distressed and asked for April’s help. Later Vickie confirms that she has sensed this young woman, too. Vickie also encourages April to help her move on but April chickens out, being scared of the unknown. She still doesn’t know how far her ‘gift’ can take her or if this is would end up being something harmful. For this reason, Vickie summons Dottie and Virginia.
April also is very intrigued by James and attracted to him. James definitely feels the same, but he more than anything thinks of her as his ‘savior’ and begins having soft feelings towards her. Between his efforts in getting used to with the modern world and all that comes with it and his interaction with April, things got a little out of the hand. As I felt, April was more interested in James because of his historical importance and no doubt his ‘rakish persona’. Her school girl crush over James annoyed the hell outta me. Her reaction to James’s legacy of ménage a troi (if you could see her thinking about this particular thing more often than not) was just not appealing to me. Personally, I don’t like rakes, unless the author makes him in a way that I can’t help but fall. I was still deciding if James is worth my patience when they almost end up having sex. It was also, IMO, too early in the story. But they were interrupted by the arrival of Virginia and Dottie.
Now Dottie was another character who grated on my nerves quite often. Between her public discussion of her own sex life and April’s, then very unsubtle hints where James was concern (for April to go and grab him) I didn’t know which was more unappealing. I mean, I’m not saying she can’t talk to her granddaughter about sex, I appreciated that she discussed sex with April when Virginia didn’t, but throwing in innuendoes and stories of her own sex life was just not done. Sorry.
Afterwards, April encounters the evil spirit that resides in the house, commissioner Henry’s. One day, while trying to communicate with Catherine’s (she now knows her identity from James, who confirmed he has never had any affair with her), Henry attacks her. He had already attacked April once before and James was duly worried about her safety. But if you know April, you’ll know she never thinks before leaping into action. So one night, she’s attacked again and James is the one who consoles her. And they end up having sex. If you read April’s reaction after that... ugh! It was more than obvious that she was infatuated with the ‘image’ James hold, rather than the man he really was, leaving me irritated.
After that they are somewhat ‘together’, but of course, not in public. April’s family is supportive of her affair with James, except for Virginia who’s more often than not is plagued by her headaches and not in a good mood. April also gets some help on her research from a member of the local Historical Society, Dr. Freelane. April takes James along for looking through the bundles of unsorted documents. Bits and pieces of information are found, but nothing tells her what she wants to know; if James ever really owned the gristmill. Kenneth Miles is somewhat disappointed by her lack of progress but April promises to do more. In between, Halloween is approaching and James lands a job! He was unhappy about April spending money on his behalf. He’s the one who’s supposed to have taken care of her, not otherwise Goddamn it! So when Dr. Freelane sees James (who was going by an alias), she is impressed, as April was, by his accent and knowledge of Kings Mill. When the actor playing James Addison suddenly resigns, she thinks James is the best option for them right now.
We encounter plenty of paranormal activities too. April keeps seeing Catherine. It seems like she’s trying to tell her something, indicating her chatelaine but without hearing her, April can’t help. Then Henry’s evil spirit interrupts her. One day, April finds her mother finally giving in and talking to Catherine. This was a big step for Virginia no doubt, and it showed that she’s finally trying to come to terms with her own ‘gift’. She also wanted to help her daughter since they’re still not sure about the depth of April’s psychometric powers. One earlier encounter in the mill, when they all went to investigate it, indicated that April can phase in and out of time, physically moving to that specific time-frame when she touches something having a history. This also worries them all, especially James.
But it seems James’s worries don’t touch April. Even after James specifically forbade her to do it, while he’s busy being the tour guide (acting as James Addison), April convinces Vickie, Dottie and Virginia to accompany her to the tree where James was hanged. She was certain she’ll be able to find something once she phases. She sees things alright, things that horrifies her. I mean what did you expect to see April when you knew you’d see James’s execution? When she returns to the present, she faints. James finds them there on the base of the tree and is very angry that they even took this risk. This is the kind of risk April took throughout the story. She even, in one scene, acknowledges that she doesn’t ‘think well’ before acting. Personally, all her repeated impetuousness (most of those she always planned on hiding from James for obvious reasons) didn’t endear her to me. I didn’t find her mature enough to handle her ‘gift’.
But as a character, James won me over after a few chapters. He already showed that he cared for April more than anything, even though April was interested into ‘taking it one day at a time’. I understand that she didn’t know how long James would stay in this world or if he’d become a ghost once more. Yet, James was brave enough to make his feelings known. April... umm no, she was not that brave. I didn’t even care about James’s rakish past at that point because I found him very endearing and sexy; an all-in-all gentleman. I was wondering, if April wasn’t sure, then was it wise to jump into bed with him like this, when she didn’t even know if she wanted to acknowledge her feelings, if any, for James?
But I want to acknowledge that Ms. Lynne did a great job of distracting me with more interesting and thrilling paranormal activities full of crazy twists and turns. The last 40% of the story was just too good. I kept having the feeling that I’m watching a movie, as the drama unfolded. I didn’t know, at all, what’s going to happen next. I was scared for James. Would he be able to stay on? Would he be forced to leave once the case is solved? What will happen then? Will April miss him enough, since I still wasn’t sure of her feelings for James as of yet.
Their research finally struck home, at one point, when James and April find some very important document with the help of Dr. Freelane. She also recognizes James from one of the old books that had a picture of his painting. But Freelane surprises April by not freaking out. She is a believer and acknowledges April’s gift without any rash judgment. April was more than sure by that time that Henry has been the one responsible for all the deaths and menace, even when he was alive. April also realizes that Catherine wants her to find out the chatelaine and look into her desk, a place where she has been most active. Dr. Freelane makes it easier for April to gain the artifact.
Halloween is only a few days away. James Addison’s hanging scene will be played out. James is terrified, worried but tries his best to think of other things. He is happy that April made such big leads in the investigation but unsure of his own life... if he can call this a life. Kenneth Miles is certainly impressed, and from his and April’s phone conversation, he’s excited with the finds and is coming to Kings Mills for the festival. April wants to meet this reclusive Billionaire, whom no one has met yet (I’m not sure how though!). James also wants to meet him but they don’t know how they’ll introduce him to Kenneth.
What will happen afterwards? How will James’s situation resolve in the end?
Gotta mention I already had formed some ideas about Kenneth and James and how this might work out but I didn’t know if I would be able to accept the solution. So, ‘thank God!’ was my reaction at the end of the story because it felt good. I also became very emotional, for James and April, for what they had to go through before being together. Then there was the fact that the story was ending. Somehow I wanted it to go on. Funny thing is, later on, I checked the author’s website where she mentioned about a sequel, that’ll feature one of the characters from James’s past. I’m SO glad that this is not ‘the end’ or so to speak.
5 really enjoyable stars for Wanted: One Ghost; a job well-done as a debut author, Ms. Lynne. Highly recommended.
This review copy was provided to me by Goddess Fish Promotions in exchange of an honest opinion. This review is also a part of the Wanted: One Ghost VBT.