In this charming fiction debut, a young woman moves to Manhattan in search of romance and excitement—only to find that her apartment is haunted by the ghost of a cantankerous Beat Generation writer in need of a rather huge favor.
For Eve Weldon, moving to Greenwich Village is a dream come true. She’s following in the bohemian footsteps of her mother, who lived there during the early sixties among a lively community of Beat artists and writers. But when Eve arrives, the only scribe she meets is a grumpy ghost named Donald, and the only writing she manages to do is for chirpy segments on a morning news program, Smell the Coffee. The hypercompetitive network environment is a far cry from the genial camaraderie of her mother’s literary scene, and Eve begins to wonder if the world she sought has faded from existence. But as she struggles to balance her new job, demands from Donald to help him complete his life’s work, a budding friendship with a legendary fashion designer, and a search for clues to her mother’s past, Eve begins to realize that community comes in many forms—and that the true magic of the Village is very much alive, though it may reveal itself in surprising ways.
Eve leaves the safe confines of Ohio for the bustling unknown of New York City on a quest: to find some trace of her late mother’s life during the height of the Beat movement and to forge a new independent path for herself out from under the wings of her father. I think the tagline from Lorna Graham’s website for The Ghost of Greenwich Village really sums up this book and drew my interest in the first place.
In the world’s most storied neighborhood…inside an 1840’s brownstone…a Bohemian spirit stirs:
The ghost of a mid-century writer…with unfinished business.
Can he convince a new arrival with an old soul to make sure the Beat goes on?
Eve Weldon is definitely very green when it comes to living on her own and fending for herself. She has been working for her father as a paralegal since she finished school and never lived on her own. After finally growing tired of the scripted life she lives in Ohio, she moves to Greenwich Village to start a new life for herself. She dresses in her mother’s vintage clothes and retraces her steps, searching for the tiniest glimpse of what her mother loved about the city so much…enough to not be completely there in Ohio as a mother when Eve and her brothers were young until her death when Eve was eight years old. While she expects to find traces of the lively community that her mother resided in during the height of the Beat movement, Eve finds barely any trace of the era…only a grumpy ghost that resides in her apartment and in her head.
Donald Bellows was a writer who died young, just like Eve’s mother did. But Donald died before he could complete his life’s literary masterpieces. Once he is able to communicate through Eve, they strike a deal for her to take dictation of his remaining stories in hopes of publishing them.
With the help of a college friend, Eve lands a job as a writer for morning show Smell the Coffee, where she does research, interviews the subjects, and writes the scripts for the shows anchors. While she is more than capable of doing this job well, there is a hierarchy present and she quickly grows restless with the assignments she is given and makes some very stupid decisions regarding her career that leaves her life in New York City up in the air.
The heart of this story is the unraveling mystery of tracing Eve’s mother’s path and how it peripherally weaves in with the paths of Donald and fashion designer Matthias Klieg. The story unfolds with a mixture of recollections of the past of Matthias and Donald’s life and present events in Eve’s life. These events were not predictable and I was pleasantly surprised with the way the story unfolded throughout the book.
I give this book a four and a half. Eve was a little hard to connect with when you see some of the decisions that she makes, but the heart of the story really comes to life with the side characters of Donald and Matthias. The scene that I was really looking forward to seeing, the final meeting between Donald and Matthias takes place off of the pages. I was a bit disappointed to not know what happened between them. But this book had one of the funniest and creative ways to take down a serial mugger that I’ve ever read, so tons of props for originality!
About Lorna Graham:
Lorna Graham was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from Barnard College. She has written for Good Morning America and Dateline NBC. She also wrote a short film, “A Timeless Call,” honoring America’s military veterans, that was directed by Steven Spielberg. She lives in Greenwich Village.
The Ghost of Greenwich Village is her first novel.
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A complimentary copy of The Ghost of Greenwich Village was provided in exchange for a fair review. Thank you TLC Book Tours for the great tour!