In this review, we’ll dive into Ashley Poston’s debut novel, The Dead Romantics.
I came across this novel after falling in love with the author’s latest release, The Seven Year Slip. And I can confidently say that Ashley Poston has become one of my favorite auto-buy authors.
At first glance, this book may seem like a romance, but underneath it all, it delves into the profound themes of grief and family wounds.
It’s based on a unique plot I haven’t seen in novels often. However, if you’re a fan of rom-com movies from the early 2000s, you may notice a striking similarity to a certain famous film (check below for the movie spoiler).
Just Like Heaven (2005) – Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo
The Dead Romantics – Ashley Poston
PUB DATE: June 28, 2022
TROPES: friends to lovers, magical realism
TWs: grief and death
A ghostwriter falls in love with a ghost in this heartwarming debut from Ashley Poston.
engaging characters and writing
relatable exploration of complex themes
pleasantly surprising ending
Florence was frustrating sometimes
Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.
When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.
For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.
Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.
Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.
Florence, our ghost-seeing, ghost-writing protagonist, is a true gem of a character. Witnessing her transformation as she learns to trust love again and reconcile with her family was an absolute delight.
“Not because I couldn’t exist on my own, but sometimes I just didn’t want to. Sometimes I just wanted to let my guard down, let the pieces of me fall to the ground, and know that I had someone there who could put me back together without minding the sharp bits.”
The middle of the book did get a bit frustrating when she was being stubborn by constantly denying her feelings, but she remained a relatable character throughout.
I would have loved to see Ben’s POV as well. What would it be like to die suddenly (Ps. This isn’t a spoiler, as it’s said in the blurb) with so many unfulfilled dreams?
“I wish . . . I had closed my office door after you walked in and kissed you until you saw stars.”
My heart ached for him and the sorrow that accompanies simple things like no longer being able to touch someone. However, Poston did an excellent job of expressing some of this through Florence’s perspective.
While a few side characters may rub you the wrong way with their callousness toward death, Florence’s family brings a wonderful balance of quirkiness and authenticity to the story.
Kudos to the author for the LGBTQ representation as well.
I don’t think I have ever rooted for a couple to get together as much as I have with Ben and Florence. Watching them fall in love, knowing they couldn’t be together, was so sad.
If you hate insta-love, you will love this one because we get a slow-burn kind of story as we get to know Ben and Florence and see them move from friends into something more.
It’s an engaging read that kept me on the edge of my seat. There aren’t a lot of audiobooks where I sat in the car and listened long after reaching my destination, but this was one of them.
And even though the book didn’t end how I expected it to, I was pleasantly surprised at the ending, and I know you will be, too.
Grief & Death
The theme of grief is heavily infused throughout the story. So be aware of that for readers who may be sensitive to this. Ashley Poston provides a deep, intimate look at how grief manifests differently in everyone, often leading to conflicts when people can’t understand that everyone grieves in their own unique way.
I haven’t come across many characters who work in funeral homes. However, I really enjoyed reading about the beauty that surrounds death and the lives of those who have passed away. It’s a topic that can often be difficult to discuss, but it was presented in a way that was both informative and engaging.
The dialogues towards the end got a bit cheesy at times, but overall, I really enjoyed Poston’s engaging writing, and I look forward to reading more books from her.
Eileen Stevens did a fantastic job in bringing Florence’s character to life, and I would definitely recommend listening to this as an audiobook.
The Dead Romantics is a heartwarming and delightful book about trusting love, grieving, and moving forward.
If you love stories that will make you laugh, cry, and feel all the feels, then you should add this one to your TBR.
Enjoyed this review? Then, add ‘The Dead Romantics’ to your TBR. And if you have already read this book and have some thoughts to share, drop them in the comments below. I would love to hear them!