Ghost of a Chance Review
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Back when I had more time to spend in discussion groups, a topic once came up about characters being too realistic. At the time, I thought that sounded sort of ridiculous. How can a character be too realistic? Since then, I’ve come across several novels where that logic seems to fit—logic being sort of an irony here—and Judi Phillip’s Ghost of a Chance is one of them.

Ever since her husband walked out on her thirteen years ago, Wynter Storm has been raising her daughter, Jenny, alone. She left her eccentric mother in California and headed back to Lost Falls, Minnesota, where she set up an herbal shop and began settling into a nice quiet life, away from psychic mothers and voices in her head—something she never plans to explore. Then along comes Trace Hawthorne, who throws her plans out of whack. Wynter has no use for a man who will only run when he finds out just how different she truly is—something she’s finding harder and harder to hide.

After his wife died in an automobile accident, Trace picked up his daughter, Sara, and moved from Minnesota to Egypt to get away from his mother and the other things that he just didn’t feel like dealing with. Now, ten years later, he’s decided that Sara needs to know where her roots began, so he moves back to Minnesota. There, he meets Wynter, who’s mostly emotion and no logic—and, to make things worse, Sara and Jenny become best friends. And, on top of all that, a little boy named Edward seems to be hanging around the house uninvited. But all Trace wants is a normal life with a normal woman—preferably one who follows logic and not her feelings.

Okay, let’s get the negative out of the way: I could not stand Trace Hawthorne in this novel. His constant harping about logic had me clicking out of this ebook more than once. I understand that logic has its place, but Trace takes it to the extreme, and he comes off sounding like a jerk most of the time—something I’d rather not encounter in a book. Also, he criticizes Jenny because she’s not as neat as his daughter, and his constant disdain for Wynter’s mother because she’s “different” truly had me blowing my top. This is not a hero that I could like—let alone fall in love with—and that’s something that I require in my romance reading.

With that said, though, I loved the rest of the characters. Wynter is independent, but not to the point where she won’t rely on the help of others if she needs it. She took what life dealt her, and she managed to build a successful business in a small town. Her daughter, Jenny, is a sweet teenager who befriends the new girl, Sara, and helps her fit in. And Wynter’s mother, Aerial, is the hippie/gypsy type—and she’s an absolute delight to read.

The ghost story involving Edward stays mostly in the background, and since the reader gets to know what happened to Edward in the prologue, it makes his presence even less of a mystery. So I was a bit disappointed with that aspect of Ghost of a Chance. In fact, if the author had made the ghost story more of a mystery—and if she’d brought the reasons for Trace’s overuse of logic forward sooner—Ghost of a Chance would have been a much better read.

All in all, Ghost of a Chance isn’t a bad read. It’s very well written, and the majority of the characters make it an entertaining way to pass a long, hot, summer Sunday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Ms. Phillips will write Aerial’s story next.

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