The Ghost Notebooks by Ben Dolnick – book review

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Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for review. Opinions shared are mine.

Happy 2018, everyone!  I hope you celebrated the new year with loved ones and friends.  Our family watched the ball drop on TV, then I immediately headed for my pillow.  Oh, the days when I would have stayed up late celebrating the new year!

My first read of 2018 was The Ghost Notebooks.  Technically, I started reading it in 2017, but finished it today, so…that counts.  This supernatural tale really took me by surprise. Forgive me for being shallow, but the cover has so little appeal when it could be a VERY cool haunted house.  Right?  Don’t let its passivity fool you. This author’s writing style is so engaging that I found myself lost in the story many times. At once conversational and poetic, the language and format is interesting enough to make the book a worthwhile read.  Now, I love a good ghost story, but this one focuses more on the living than possible ghosts.  There is, however, a delightfully creepy historic home as a setting. So, I insisted upon browsing through my photos and finding a couple of spooky houses suitable for an alternate cover.  Too bad I didn’t think of it before the post because I could have found some really great local spooky houses for photos!  Oh well, thank goodness for photo filters.

The story itself is heartbreaking. Mental illness is never pretty, and in this case it becomes a major theme in the story.   For the first two-thirds of the book, I wasn’t sure what to think. The paranormal elements of the story, as suggested by the title, are downplayed and shadowy. The final chapters really make this a winner. I wish there’d been more of an epilogue, though — something to make me feel more closure about the finality of this book.

Do you like books about historic houses? 

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book.

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