Author: Rosie Walsh
Publication Date: 12 June 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
Part of me wants to sit back and think about this one for a while, digest and mull it over because I think I’m still sorting it all out in my head.
Ghosted is a book that I picked up expecting a romance. The premise tells us there’s other stuff going on that it takes time to unravel but I was not expecting the depth of mystery that unravelled.
There was a lot I wasn’t expecting about Ghosted actually. This first assumption I made has definitely made me think because I’m not sure why I jumped to this conclusion but it was certainly one that surprised me to have debunked and as such it took me a while to get my head around what was happening when. I think perhaps I was a little too scattered when I started reading. Our leads are older than I expected them to be, they are both on the far side of 35 and that allowed me to relate a little more I think because there’s a lot of other things going on around them and with the secondary cast that resonate more with me now.
The storytelling method used by Walsh was fantastic for feeding the mystery and keeping you guessing, it sure had me thinking I had it worked out only to realise I didn’t. It also means that writing a review is fraught with the danger of an unintentional spoiler that affects someone else’s enjoyment.
I really enjoyed Ghosted, it offered a lot more than I expected and was certainly a thought provoking read. Walsh created beautiful characters who are strong, flawed and complex.
Sarah Mackey has just come out of a long term marriage, it’s all very amicable and they will continue working together in the company they founded together. We meet her back in her childhood neighbourhood in England, far from her Californian home. She is out walking in a personally significant area when she unexpectedly meets a man deep in conversation with a loose sheep, and so begins a magical six days of togetherness.
Six days that brings Sarah to life in a way she didn’t completely know she was missing, feeling emotions she was sure were reciprocated. Time in which they talk and share big parts of themselves but they never quite get to sharing all of themselves. On their last morning together they say an au revoir, planning to talk again within hours. Sarah leaves so he can head off on a pre-planned holiday and he promises to call from the airport.
But then he doesn’t call, so she thinks of all the reasons that might be. Always thinking that he will call, and then time drags out into days and then weeks and by then she’s sure that something terrible has happened. Everyone tells her it’s time to move on, time to forget him, but she knows it was real and can’t let go.
Ghosted holds some pretty dark secrets at its core and they are revealed slow and stealthily so the reveal knocked me over, it was not what I was expecting. After that the story continues, in turns both predictable and completely unexpected.
Walsh explores the dark side of the no callback now that we live in such a connected time. Back in my day, which doesn’t seem like that long ago but would have been a couple of years before Sarah’s adolescence, when you waited for someone to call it was just the landline home phone. Now if you are waiting on a call, or trying to see what someone is up to, you have their mobile number, their social media accounts because there’s generally multiple and then the landline. All of which is pretty much at the touch of a button at your fingertips ALL THE TIME. It’s easy to get unhinged and caught up and stalkery as you switch from one to the other trying to see if they’re online or they’ve seen your messages.
Ghosted asks how far you’ll go for love. What will you risk, what lengths will you go to? And who will you put ahead of your happiness.
Walsh explores loss, grief and forgiveness from different perspectives which is always good to illustrate that everyone grieves in their own way, no way is necessarily right or wrong, and in their own time. We all have our ways of moving forward and we need to do what we can to make sure we’re okay.
Ghosted has a colourful cast of secondary characters around to support Sarah and try to stop her going completely off the rails. They have their own host of issues to deal with that will resonate with a lot of people around this age. Issues of relationship breakdown, the fear of being alone, fertility issues when parenthood was always a dream and dealing with the fertility of your friends while you struggle so fiercely.
Ghosted is a well rounded story that kept me guessing, made me teary, made me laugh and made me wonder whether our leads were going to crack.
A fabulous book that was nothing like what I expected, and that turned out to be a really good thing. I would recommend this to those who like a bit of romantic mystery and I think it’s one I might like to revisit one day in the future and see if I experience it differently.