Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Ghost of Greenwich Village by Lorna Graham

The Ghost of Greenwich Village
by Lorna Graham
Copyright 2011
Random House - Fiction with Paranormal
345 pages

After many years of working for her father and putting off her dream, Eve has moved from Ohio to Greenwich Village in search of a new life and a connection to her deceased mother. Instead, she's discovering that life in New York is not as easy and charming as she hoped. Making friends and keeping a job is every bit as difficult as paying the rent. And, on top of all that, there's a ghost in her apartment.

Donald was a writer from the Beat generation whose life was cut short. He is stuck in his former home and he likes to crawl into Eve's head. Eve tolerates the ghostly Donald and is willing to help him fulfill his dream, occasionally putting up with his bizarre stories as he dictates them to her. Secretly, she's hoping to dig up some clues to her mother's life in the Village and hopes Donald will be the key, but he appears to be a dead end (no pun intended).

After finding a job working as a writer for a morning television show, Eve attempts to find her place in the city. She makes friends with a legendary fashion designer and the owner of a vintage clothing store. But, the rest of her world is one disaster after another, until a close encounter with a criminal propels her to momentary fame. Will Eve survive life in the Village? Is Donald massively talented or stunningly deluded about his ability? What incident drove Eve's mother from New York to Ohio? Will Eve's moment in the limelight cost her her job or propel her to a higher level?

My thoughts:

I didn't fall in love with The Ghost of Greenwich Village or find it as enchanting as I'd hoped. Eve is not a particularly likable heroine, the ghost acts arrogant, possibly to cover up his wounded past, and Eve's friendship with a famous designer is hard to buy into. But, there was plenty to like about the book. I thought Eve's friendship with the owner of a vintage clothing store was believable and sweet. And, I understood her yearning to find out about her mother's past, make her escape from her hometown and create a new life.

This is the kind of passage that made me dislike Eve:

The next few days would be a time of goodbyes. Or would they? Undoubtedly easiest for everyone would be for her to simply slink out of town. It would be impossible to say goodbye to Gwendolyn face-to-face, anyway. She'd never had a friend like her.

-- from the uncorrected proof of The Ghost of Greenwich Village (changes my have been made to the final print version)

Say what? Eve's found a special friend and she's considering not even saying "goodbye" to her, let alone keeping in touch? I can't imagine just disappearing without even saying goodbye to a close friend, regardless of the circumstances.

There are also a lot of downright mean, nasty people in The Ghosts of Greenwich Village, which can be disturbing at times, and I'd hoped for a little romance but there is none. Eve has difficulty summoning a social life of any kind, apart from her friendship with the designer, at least partly because she's not willing to let anyone into her apartment because it's haunted. She's afraid to mention the fact that her home is occupied by a ghost, even to her closest friend, for fear she'll be thought crazy.

I guess I found Eve a little gutless and silly. I've had my own little ghost encounter and I don't frankly care whether anyone thinks I'm nuts or not. So, I could not relate to her refusal to tell anyone about Donald, especially close friends. And, I certainly couldn't understand why she'd regret the fact that her jerk of a date stopped calling because she didn't let him sleep over, thanks to her ghost. If a date will dump you because you're not willing to sleep with him, he's not worth your time, in my humble opinion.

The bottom line:

A so-so read about a woman struggling to make a new life for herself and unearth her mother's past while dealing with a ghost who has his own agenda. The heroine is not very likable and a wee bit spineless, although she does sort of redeem herself, eventually, (although her reaction after that particular scene is a bit on the clueless side). I thought the ending was decent. I had trouble buying into the storyline, though, including the ending.

My thanks to TLC Book Tours and Random House for the review copy.

Side note:

I'm afraid this book suffered a bit from following a read that was so fabulous I still haven't stopped thinking about it along with my eagerness to return to reading Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy, although I did set everything aside to focus on finishing The Ghost of Greenwich Village.

Cover thoughts:

The cover shown above is apparently the final cover. I like it. The book is as much about life in Greenwich Village as it is about a ghost haunting a girl trying to change her life, so it makes sense to put a pretty photo of the area on the cover.

Blah:

That's how I feel at the moment, thanks to a new, killer exercise class that I started, last night. So, I think I'll keep this post short and head to bed with a couple bottles of water (I'm pre-posting). If I have any energy at all, I'll come back and add some kind of picture to this post in the morning. We'll see if I can get out of bed in the morning. Should be interesting.

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

15 comments:

  1. It sounds like a good premise, but I fear I'd grow pretty tired of Eve as well.

    Maybe I'll pick it up from the library, but it doesn't sound like a purchasable one.

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  2. Andiloo,

    Exactly! Good premise, middling execution. It's not a book I would reread.

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  3. It kind of sounds like this book was all over the place, and I think I might have had the same reaction to it as you did. I don't like spineless characters so I am sure the protagonist here would get on my nerves. And why would it have been so bad to share what was going on in her apartment?

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  4. Zibilee,

    It sounds like it but it wasn't *that* bad - definitely not as tightly written as it could have been. I really did find Eve spineless. I know! I couldn't understand that at all. What's wrong with mentioning the fact that there's a ghost in your apartment? Some people might think you're nuts, but it's not like hauntings are anything new or unheard of. I just didn't get that about the character. And, that one line I quoted really brought home her lack of courage -- the fact that she found the idea of saying goodbye to a good friend so hard that she was considering not even doing it at all. Ick. That's just cruel. Some friend!

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  5. It SOUNDS good, but too bad it didn't live up to that...

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  6. I was hoping to see this was fabulous. I'm drawn to it because of the setting.

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  7. Kelly,

    Yes, I was pretty excited about it. It's not awful, but I just didn't fall in love with it as I'd hoped.

    Kathy,

    I don't consider it fabulous, by any means, but it's not a horrible book. You might like it. We occasionally disagree, after all!

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  8. I wouldn't mind the lack of romance but her spinelessness would get to me. It does sound like an interesting premise.

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  9. Carrie,

    I was really hoping for romance and it seemed like she'd found it, for a while there, but it fell flat. The end is nicely upbeat. I think this author needs to work on making her characters more likable, though. There were just too many icky people and that might have been okay if the heroine was wonderful but she just wasn't.

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  10. Hi, I'm new here. I just came across your blog and the review of this book. I haven't read it but I was drawn to it because of the ghost element. (I, too, have had a couple of run-ins with the paranormal and would not care if someone thought I was nuts) So that would definitely frustrate me about the character.
    However, Everything Beautiful Began After sounds great. I'm going to put that on my TBR list.

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  11. Elspeth,

    Hello! I'm glad you decided to drop by my blog! I'm curious about your paranormal encounters. I've found that people like to talk about their ghost encounters, myself. What's to hide? It's not like they're anything new, after all! So, yes, very frustrating if you've been there.

    I am a tireless fan of Simon Van Booy's writing, ever since I discovered him when he was published by a small press. You simply cannot lose with his writing. I'm about halfway through the book. He just broke my heart and after my exercise class I'll expect him to put it back together. I just love his books. And, Simon is truly the kind of person worth supporting. He's kind and sincere, a total gentleman. I hope you fall in love with his writing as I have!

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  12. The book after a great book always pales in comparison but it sounds like this one wouldn't have been a good fit for you regardless. Too bad! Hopefully the next book you pick up will be a better fit.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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  13. Heather,

    I think you're right - it probably wasn't the right fit for me. But, it definitely did suffer for following up The Summer of The Bear, which is just a flawless book.

    The next book is breaking my heart. I've got to go hide with it, tonight, and give the author a chance to glue my little broken heart back together.

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  14. I almost bought this one today but now I'm glad I didn't. I guess it does sound interesting but I'll see if my library has it instead. I hate it when I don't particularly like the characters. I just finished one where one of the characters was kind of mean too and she was supposed to be such a good friend. Whatever.

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  15. Iliana,

    There was an iffy friend who turned vicious in this book and while I expected it, when she finally blew up at Eve it was so nasty as to be downright disturbing. Surely there are plenty of kind-hearted souls in Greenwich Village. I think she could have made the book a pleasurable read by softening a lot of characters, myself.

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