Delightful, YA, ghost-story romance set in gorgeous Scotland
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Pages: 293 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
When sixteen-year-old Ivy Calhoun’s widowed mother falls in love with and marries a rich Scottish laird vacationing in America, Ivy has no choice but to move from her lifelong home in Charleston, South Carolina to the Scottish Highlands where her new stepfather, Niall, lives. Ivy is sad to leave her home country, but she decides this is her chance to make a fresh start. Perhaps she can form new friendships with teens her age who don’t remember how bright and outgoing she used to be before her father died three years ago and will accept her as the quiet introvert she has become.
Ivy’s hopes for friendship are soon realized when she connects with a girl her age named Emma. Ivy is also thrilled to learn that there will be a grand music festival in the area where she is now living with a contest for young violinists that she can compete in. Her father introduced Ivy to the violin when she was only three, and she is a virtuoso player, frequently composing unconventionally beautiful music of her own.
Unfortunately, there are some major downsides of her new home. Her step-grandmother clearly despises her, and the enormous, ancient castle that is Niall’s home is physically intimidating and, according to local legend, haunted. Ivy doesn’t believe in ghosts, but it is hard not to be terrified–and concerned for her sanity–when she distinctly hears a voice from an invisible source ordering her to leave.
This is a beautifully written young-adult, paranormal romance. Logan Munro, the ghost, is a wonderful hero, and the course of the romantic relationship between him and Ivy is slow and steady, rather than “insta-love,” which many readers of YA romance, as I did, will find a refreshing change. In addition, there is plenty of exciting, magical villainy afoot, and I highly enjoyed the beautifully written local color of the Scottish setting.
This book is in the same magical universe as an adult romance by this author, Highland Knight, which contains a similar story theme of ghostly romance. Readers who enjoyed that book will be delighted to experience the heroine and hero of Highland Knight and multiple other important subcharacters in this novel.
This is a “clean” read with no drinking, drugs, wild parties or sex. I would not, because of that, however, classify it as a “middle-grade” novel. The publisher, in fact, is marketing this novel as YA fiction for readers age 12 and above, and I agree with that designation. I also think that female readers of all ages will enjoy this book, particularly existing fans of the author’s adult romances.
I rate this book as follows:
Highland Setting: 5
Paranormal Elements: 5
Romance Plot: 5