“Ghosts are a figment of the imagination . . . until I moved to the beach in Monterey”
Published in 2016 by Author Tony Lee Moral, this paranormal romance is about a girl named Alice. Alice is not having a good year. Her mother passed away, she left her home behind to move with her father and sister, started a new school, and she almost drowned. But Alice has found a distraction from her troubles, his name in Henry Raphael. Henry appears to be the perfect boy, handsome, charming, polite and mysterious, everything a teenage girl would want. But mysterious can be dangerous. After Henry pulls Alice from the sea, saving her life, she is struck by him and decides she must see him again. This proves more difficult than she thought when nobody in town seems to know who he is. Before long Alice comes to realizes that henry’s old-fashioned charm is just that, as she discovers that Henry has lived the past century as a ghost. While the two of them try and make their unusual romance work things around them become more complicated. With cryptic messages, psychic visions, wary fathers, death, and ghost with a vendetta threatening them, they are going to have to use all their strength and love for each other to save each other from eternal limbo and the town from disaster.
Alice is an interesting character. On top of being kind, smart, bookish, and in love, Alice is dealing with the loss of her mother and trying to be strong for her father and younger sister. She is placed in a complicated position of taking over part of her mother’s role, which is a lot to put on a teenager. Dealing with this death has also put a strain on Alice’s relationship with God, which is something Alice is confronted with throughout the book. But while this hardship, stress, and sadness are a part of Alice, she does not let it consume her. Alice is also striving to get control over her fear of water since she has moved to the beach and is active in this pursuit. Alice also has time to make friends, most notably her best friend Emily, an eccentric girl with abilities of her own. Parts of the romance do feel a bit rushed as Henry at first is very standoffish but quickly changes his mind, which becomes somewhat of a pattern for him.
Besides the romance aspect of this book, the key piece to the plot is the paranormal. While the idea of ghosts living among us is interesting there are some strange gaps in the information we receive about the rules of ghosthood. We are giving a backstory to the curse of the bay which has caused the ghosts to become so prevalent in this area but it is not explained who can see them and who can’t. When Alice first goes out with Henry people do not notice him with her but later she goes to a school dance with him and everyone seems to be able to see him. It also is not explained just how long the ghosts must remain at the Bay and how bad of a crime must be committed to be kept in the fourth realm. There are also the beginnings of rules revolving around souls brought up at the end. But while I would have liked some of these gaps to be filled, we are seeing things from the perspective from Alice who is not given all the information but only pieces from research and what she can get Henry to tell her. Since this book was published only a year ago I looked forward to these rules being further addressed as Alice is pulled deeper into the realm of magic in potential sequels.
Author Tony Lee Moral was born in Hastings England in 1971. He is most well-known for his books on film director Alfred Hitchcock but has begun to write fiction novels. This is an interesting romance novel that has left itself room to grow with a sequel or even a series. The characters are intriguing and show growth throughout the book and the rules of the magic have only just begun to be revealed. I enjoyed reading this book and will keep my eye out for more of this story.
by Tony Lee Moral
Alice’s mother passes away and with her father and little sister, Sophie, she moves to Pacific Grove in California. Alice is deathly afraid of the water despite living in a community surrounded by it. In order to push through her phobia, she joins the Kayaking club in high school.
During a routine kayaking drill, a fog rolls in and Alice becomes disoriented, losing all sense of direction. A large wave turns the kayak over, dumping Alice into the icy-cold pacific. She nearly drowns when a young man dives in after her. . .Henry Raphael.
After Henry’s rescue, Alice gains more than her life. Henry is a beautiful seventeen-year-old or more accurately, one-hundred-seventeen years. The relationship between them takes Alice on a journey for which no one could prepare her.
Long distance relationships are difficult – how can Alice bridge a divide between planes? Henry died over a century ago but lives on in the fourth plane of existence waiting for an opportunity to atone for past deeds that caused the death of his ship’s entire crew. Their vengeance still hanging over his head, Henry and Alice learn their love will be tested by more than the passage of time and living in different dimensions.