Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review- Ghosts of Winter by Rebecca S. Buck

Ghosts of Winter

By Rebecca S. Buck

April 9, 2011

Lesbian Romance, Contemporary, (some historical stories inside)

288 pgs

Pub: Bold Strokes Books

Can Ros Wynne, who has lost everything she thought defined her, find her true life—and her true love—surrounded by the lingering history of the once-grand Winter Manor?
When Ros unexpectedly inherits Winter Manor on the condition that she oversee the restoration of the remote and dilapidated house, it seems the perfect place for her to retreat from her recently failed relationship, the death of her mother, and the loss of her job. But Winter Manor is not entirely at rest. The echoes of its past reach forward into the present, and Ros’s life is perceptibly shaped by the lives—and loves—of the people who inhabited those rooms and corridors in the centuries before her.

Then Anna arrives. The architect—with her designer clothes, hot car, and air of supreme professionalism—is at first an unwelcome, if necessary, intrusion. But as Ros learns Anna’s truths, she finds solace from her past losses in their developing intimacy. And when their love is threatened, Ros must decide whether her own ghosts will forever define her, or if she can embrace her life for what it is—past, present, and future.

Just to be clear, I think the blurb is not quite right and gives a false impression. This is not a ghost story. I think I had the impression from the blurb that it might be to some degree. It’s a contemporary that includes three stories of prior inhabitants of the house interspersed throughout the story. “Echoes of the past” don’t reach forward and Ros is not shaped by their lives.” She’s actually shaped by her own past and current feelings towards Anna. Also, for an FYI, the renovation doesn’t stir up ghostly energy either, which is a common thing in some renovation stories.

For the most part I really enjoyed this book. On the level of the love story, it was great. Roz and Anna have great chemistry even if there are some glitches in getting together. The best parts of this story are when Ros and Anna are interacting. And I felt the author built up their connection at a nice pace. I think though that there was maybe a bit too much filler in between their interactions that I felt were not that pertinent. But it did stretch the story enough to create more emotional and sexual tension as their attraction grows.

Ros is a down to earth woman who seems to deal with things in an understated, straight forward way. She just seems to go with the flow. She’s also hippie-ish in the way she dresses and is into eastern spirituality. She practices yoga, smudged the house when she arrived, and meditates. Both she and Anna are into these things, which is something that gave them common ground. While she doesn’t believe in ghosts, she does believe that the energy of the past inhabitants can imbibe a house.

Anna is like her complete opposite. Anna is cool, always collected, elegant and never really shows what’s she’s feeling or thinking.  She’s also very rich and unabashedly enjoys the finer things in life that money can buy. What I liked about her is that even though on the surface she seems more reticent, she initiates their interactions and has a vulnerability that contradicts her external demeanor.

Between both women, I felt that Anna changes the most with their connection even though Ros’ process is more in the forefront through most of the story. And maybe that’s because we don’t get Anna’s POV until the end of the book. Most of the story is told or expressed through Ros and what’s going on with her as well as her observations on how she thinks Anna is reacting to her. This is something that I felt lacking in this story. I would have loved to get Anna’s POV as well, how she perceives Ros and why she’s attracted to her during the process.  

I liked that the author created two characters who are from opposite social and economic backgrounds. This is something I don’t see explored too much in lesbian romances. I liked that Ros is not intimidated by Anna’s wealth and that Anna doesn’t feel guilt or superior about her wealth and that she enjoys it. They joke about it in an easy way.

There were some parts of the book that, while not impacting me negatively, didn’t really float my boat.  Ros’ inner dialogue, which is constant, often got too repetitive and redundant. There were also some sections that went on too long that didn’t add to the story, like a couple of pages of yoga positions that I skimmed through.

Also, I might add, that from other reviews, the historical stories of past residents of the house were liked by most readers. They are kind of interesting and add an historical flavor. However, I was not that crazy about them due to being too short to be developed stories, and… they took away from the current story between Ros and Anna, which is what I found most yummy about this story. I kept thinking, yeah, yeah, let’s get back to Ros and Anna.

That said, spoiler:

All the stories are about love that can’t be and all of a homosexual nature. Not unrequited, but one of the parties decides it’s not their time to be together, which mirrors a lot of what’s going on with Ros with regards to Anna. So those stories do sort of mirror the current situation even though this new resident breaks that cycle.       End Spoiler

I absolutely recommend this book though. It’s a feel good love story between two interesting characters and it does capture the falling in love process in a sweet, vulnerable way.

Heat level: 2 – few sex scenes not too graphically written

Grade: Really liked it