In Karen Brown’s new novel, our protagonist, Martha is born with a unique gift. She can see spirits of those who have died. When the time has come for her to go away for college, in an attempt to begin a new and independent life, she moves to an apartment alone. Until she comes across the spirit of a college girl who had gone missing years before: Mary Rae.
This story is billed as a ghost story, but I found it to be more of a coming of age experience for Martha, who is on her own for the first time, learning to unravel the mystery behind Mary Rae’s disappearance. While doing so, she has to navigate her first love, her desire to study photography, and deal with the return of her sister. In many ways, dysfunctional family shapes who Martha has become and how she deals with these situations.
Brown does an excellent job of having the reader question all the characters for their motives and choices. We are left wondering how well we think we know someone. They’re all mysterious but are one’s intentions more sinister than others?
If you’re looking for page-turning suspense, you won’t find it in this story. Questions are answered but at a much slower moving pace. If you’re looking for an engaging read with complex characters, be sure to pick this one up or enter to win a copy below!
About the author: Karen Brown is the author of a novel, The Longings of Wayward Girls, and two short story collections–Little Sinners and Other Stories, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, the John Gardner Book Award, and was named a Best Book of 2012 by Publishers Weekly, and Pins and Needles: Stories, which was the recipient of AWP’s Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction. Her work has been featured in The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, The New York Times, and Good Housekeeping.
Thanks to Henry Holt, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader. U.S. and Canada only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.