Many thanks to the author for the review copy.
While this is the first of Lori Brighton’s work I read, I can safely say that Brighton numbers among the better indie published paranormal romances I’ve read this year. From exorcisms to sword fights and family intrigue, The Ghost Hunter offers more than just a romance, creating an evocative fantastical world which I enjoyed sinking into.
When she inherits a decrepit pub, Ashley Hunter is determined to search the place for clues about her father’s disappearance. But the pub doesn’t come alone: the place is haunted, and is set to become even more crowded as the mysterious, handsome Cristian Lucius turns up on her doorstep demanding that he rent a room. Beset on all sides, Ashley struggles to uncover the truth about her father only to realize that her search will place her in far more danger than she could ever have imagined.
From the cover I thought this was going to be a pretty straight up romance, but already a few pages in I was proved wrong. The story is set in a small English town and boasts of a wide range of supernatural creatures, from ghosts, angels and witches to vampires, werewolves and faeries. The ghosts are the main focus of the first few chapters and are quite well characterized, alternating between charming and creepy.
Ashley is a stubborn woman who can see ghosts, an ability that has created deep insecurities as she’s spent her whole life being told she’s crazy. Cristian is a tough-as-nails (fallen) angel whose job is to help ghosts move on to the other side. The two have instant chemistry of the ‘destined to be together’ type, which I often dislike but created a certain delicious suspense. And there are many other interesting characters, such as the cheeky little ghost Maggie, and the conflicted Devon, not to mention the slightly clueless witch Camille.
But what I loved most was the paranormal aspect of the novel, and in particular the ghosts. While there is a lot of sweet romance and a HEA ending (and I’m not one for sweetness and romance!) there was a darker side to this story as well, and a number of creepy scenes including possession, hauntings, attacks, demons and more. I never knew what to expect and enjoyed following Ashley down into the darkness of the basement if only to get to the bottom of the mystery!
The writing wasn’t as polished as I would have liked, with the smut getting a little repetitive, and I also found some of Ashley’s mannerisms irritating (eg, how she says “fangfreakintastic” all the time), but overall the plot moves along quickly and the intrigue kept my interest piqued.
In sum, a spooky, light-hearted paranormal love story. Recommended for those who want some thrill with their romance.
This book is one of my 100+ Reading Challenge!