Dead bodies, fake money and falling in love were NOT part of the assignment.Cleo Davis must find a model for her senior art project or she won’t graduate. When she discovers Lily Telfair-Gordon, she gets more than just an eccentric old woman who spouts famous quotes, talks to ghosts, and wears a weird hat. Lily has unwittingly stumbled upon a counterfeiting ring, and Cleo gets dragged right into the middle of it.Jonas Holmes, an investigative reporter for the local paper, is asking the question: why do bodies of homeless men keep showing up in the river? But the homeless are scared and won’t talk to him. When he finds Cleo and Lily, he thinks his problems are solved; he doesn’t realize that they’re justbeginning.While romance blossoms between Cleo and Jonas, they work together to see how the two things are connected, but will they find out before it’s too late?
This romantic suspense is also a ghost story, set in Savannah, Georgia, one of the most haunted cities in America. The author does a truly fabulous job of introducing the reader to one of my favorite places, painting the scenes so you can feel the winter breeze blowing through the Spanish moss in the park squares that make Savannah such a unique place.
She also does a wonderful job of adding the ghosts as real characters to the story, not scary or for shock value, but woven right into the story line as integral parts of forwarding the plot. The novel is told in three unique points of view: Cleo, a painfully shy art student with a painful past; Jonas, a transplant from Charlotte striking out from his rich family to make his own way as an investigative reporter; and Lily, the homeless woman Cleo befriends, who sees and interacts with ghosts. I know I've ranted recently about too many points of view in a story, but the author sticks to these three, and although each chapter is labeled with the narrator's name, each character has a different voice and unique perspective on their surroundings and situation.
The suspense part begins when Lily witnesses a murder one night through her window. Through her red curtains. Which is where the title comes from, I think. Okay, I have to put in my two cents right here and now to say I think this book should have a different title. And maybe a different cover, too. The current title tells you little to nothing about what to expect, about the story, the genre, or the ghosts. Maybe there was some significant part of the story that was lost in the editing process, but personally I want a more compelling title for this pretty compelling story. And since the ghosts are such important characters, the word ghost should almost definitely be in the title.
Rant over. Back to the review.
I absolutely loved the character development with Lily. Her story was so much more complicated and intriguing than I first thought, and kept unfolding like a Chinese puzzle until the end. Alternatively sweet, funny, sassy and brave, I was impressed by the heart the author showed in writing a homeless character with such compassion and depth. The actual heroine of the story, Cleo, was fun to read, quirky in all the right ways, and it was good to see her character grow and become stronger but it happened in fits and starts and I would've enjoyed more uncertainty. I have only good things to say about Jonas the hot reporter who makes Cleo want to be stronger, but has his own issues to overcome in addition to trying to investigate the corruption in Savannah's seedy underbelly.
This is a well written, engaging tale that kept me reading way past my bedtime because I just needed to finish and find out what happens to each of the main characters, how they reach their happily ever afters. Which they do, eventually, and some in unexpected ways. I totally recommend curling up with this unique take on a ghost story - pick a night when the wind is howling and you're cozy and warm inside. I dare you.
Grab a copy on AMAZON.