Imagine meeting a man and falling in love. You have seven perfect days together, and just before he leaves for a long-booked holiday, he even confesses he’s fallen in love with you too. But then he never calls, and when you message him on social media, he never responds. Your friends tell you to move on, but you know that what happened between you two was real, and something horrible must have happened to him.
I had high hopes for Ghosted, which may be why the book ended up falling a bit short for me. I admit I let my imagination run a little wild before beginning the book. I was convinced the hero would turn out to be an international spy or that he witnesses a crime and has to enter the witness protection program. All perfectly valid reasons for ghosting someone you love.
The book’s reason turned out to be a lot more realistic, and a lot more emotional. I actually really liked the reason behind Eddie’s ghosting; it advanced both characters’ development and took us a bit deeper into their humanity. I also really liked the subplot about Eddie’s mom — Walsh does a good job in depicting the stresses of being a caregiver and sole support person for a family member who’s “struggling.”
I also like that Sarah and Eddie are both in their late 30s. Given the book’s premise and cover, I was expecting a young adult / new adult romance, so I liked that this romance involved characters who were a bit older.
But overall, I found myself disappointed in the book. My main issue is that, for me to believe than an adult woman gets this emotional over being ghosted, I must buy into their romance. Unfortunately, while Walsh gives us some glimpses of Sarah and Eddie’s seven days together, I barely felt any romantic spark between them. The seven days that were supposed to be so magical they made Sarah lose perspective and turn full-on stalker when Eddie ghosts her didn’t quite grab me, and I ended up feeling more sorry for Sarah than actually invested in her quest to find out the truth.
Likely, Walsh was trying to depict a different type of romance than the kind I expected. I think I remember reading something about how instantly comfortable Sarah feels with Eddie, and certainly with their very first scene together, I initially mistook them for a long-time married couple. Walsh also does a good job of showing how needy Sarah is in general (from her high school friendships and romances to her insta-love with her now-ex-husband), which can explain why this kind of romance would have appealed to her. But still, I never felt like their relationship was compelling enough to make me care about them getting back together. Mostly, I had to keep fighting the feeling that Sarah needed help to move on.
The story does pick up in the final third of the book. Like I said, I liked the reason Walsh crafted behind Eddie’s ghosting. I thought it was one of the strongest points in the book and formed probably my favourite scenes. Moreover, this revelation picks up the story’s pace somewhat, and I did find the ending to be heartwarming and sweet.
I’ve seen a few Goodreads reviews that says this book may appeal most to romance readers. I disagree and think it may have a bigger hit with the literary fiction crowd. Asa fan of both genres, I thought the romance aspect fell flat, and I found that the story was really more about both characters dealing with their emotional baggage and moving on from some difficult experiences, than it was about their relationship.
Thanks to Publisher’s Group Canada for an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.