Sunday, February 9, 2020

Ghosts of the Missing

Ghosts of the Missing by Kathleen Donohoe
HMH Books: 2/11/20
eBook review copy; 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9780544557178 

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 stay with 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.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HMH Books.

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