Ghosts of the Missing by Kathleen Donohoe
HMH Books: 2/11/20
eBook review copy; 320 pages
Ghosts of the Missing by Kathleen Donohoe is a so-so tale of loss, memory, and traditions.
Adair McCrohan has long been haunted by the unsolved mystery of the
disappearance at age twelve of her best friend girl, Rowan Kinnane, on
October 28, 1995, in Culleton, New York. She returns to her family home,
the Moye House, an old mansion that is currently a writer's retreat to
her poet uncle, Michan McCrohan. A writer currently living there,
Ciaran Riordan, has a personal connection to Rowan and hopes to solve
what happened to his sister. Adair joins forces with Ciaran to try and
discover what happened to Rowan. In the process of investigating they
uncover some hidden secrets and ghosts of the past.
In this very slow moving novel the chapters alternate between Adair
in the present and in 1995, as well as various other people who have
lived in Cullenton since the 1800s. Mixed into the melancholy,
atmospheric tale is Irish folklore, legends, conspiracies, mysticism,
rumors, murder, and science. While the plot is supposedly focused on
solving what happened to Rowan, it really isn't at all. This may be as
problematic for many other readers as it was for me. There is no closure
in solving a mystery. This is more of a character driven family saga
that jumps around in time between decades and characters.
The quality of the actual writing is quite alluring. It is
beautifully rendered and poetic. The problem is twofold. The jumping
around between time periods and characters detracts from the novel
rather than creating interest and becomes distracting. The second is the
premise that a mystery is to be solved. It isn't a true focus of the
plot at all. This really wasn't a good choice for me, but may be a
better fit for others.
My review copy was courtesy of HMH Books.