A Love Most Haunted
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Pages: 55
Goes Well With: a toasted sandwich and a cup of hot tea

As the host of Haunt and Seek, TV ghost hunter Val Eccelston has seen her share of haunted houses, but she’s never seen anything like Haventon Hills Manor, an old home that’s been turned into a bed and breakfast. Guests at the Manor have spotted a variety of ghosts—from bitter and violent Sir Herbert Smith to lonely Lady Beatrice, who roams the halls in search of true love. Worst of all, though, the house is supposedly under a lover’s curse, and any couples who wander out for a romantic stroll through the gardens end up running from the house, shrieking in terror.

Ghosts and curses aren’t exactly good for business, so the Manor’s owners have called Val and her crew in to contact the ghosts and help them move on. But Val, historian Ryan Hawkins, and medium Lionel Nelson have a lot of ghostly mysteries to solve before the sun comes up tomorrow morning.

Author Helen Pilz’s A Love Most Haunted is quite a bit longer than most of the Lunch Break Ebooks that I’ve covered—and those extra pages allow for more characters, more set-up, and more development. Unfortunately, though, Pilz uses the extra space to throw in extra characters—and extra stories—instead of giving just a couple of stories the attention they deserve. Instead of finding a ghost or two in the house, Val and her team eventually find five ghosts—with three unrelated stories. Meanwhile, the living characters add a couple of storylines, too—most notably, the romantic tension between headstrong American host Val and confirmed bachelor Ryan.

There’s a lot going on here—and though most of the plotlines that run throughout the book are interesting, they simply don’t get the attention (or the development) that they deserve.

The characters don’t really get enough room to breathe, either, and readers are left to get to know the characters through descriptions that sometimes seem to contradict their actions. Their dialogue, too, feels a bit awkward, and it’s sometimes hard to tell the language of the 17th-century ghosts from that of the living, breathing characters from the 21st century.

With A Love Most Haunted, Pilz has certainly created an intriguing story—a paranormal adventure with touches of mystery and romance—but it’s a bit too ambitious for such a short novel.

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