Title: Nothing but Ghosts
Author: Beth Kephart
Pub. Date: 2009
Main Themes: Grief, Loss, Family, Love, Mystery
Plot (from book cover):
“Ever since her mother passed away, Katie’s been alone in her too-big house with her genius dad, who restores old paintings for a living. Katie takes a summer job at a garden estate, where, with the help of two brothers and a glamorous librarian, she soon becomes embroiled in decoding a mystery. There are secrets and shadows at the heart of NOTHING BUT GHOSTS: symbols hidden in a time-darkened painting, ans surprises behind a locked bedroom door. But most of all, this is love story – the story of a girl who learns about love while also learning to live with her own ghosts.”
Nothing But Ghosts was absolutely beautiful. There was something so calming about this novel – I can’t say that it was exciting necessarily; it is better described as engrossing.
The story unfolds so perfectly; I found the story to be compelling and engaging. There are two main plot lines in Ghosts: Katie’s and that of the mysterious old woman Katie works for. Beth Kephart wove the two stories together perfectly to create just the right balance of past, present, and future.
I have never lost a parent, thank goodness, but I know many people my age that have. The closest experience that I can relate to losing a parent is losing my grandparents. Still, I could empathize with Katie’s grief and confusion over the death of her mother; the disbelief that someone can be vibrant and full of life and then be gone forever. Even though my grandfather passed away a few months ago, I still forget that he is gone sometimes and when I remember and it hits me, I feel the pain of his loss all over again. I can only imagine that Katie, living in the house that she once shared with her mother, surrounded by her things, her room untouched, exactly the same as it was when she was living, and feeling distanced from her father, must feel. Kephart wrote this aspect of the novel particularly well.
I loved the mystery in this novel! Katie’s quest to uncover the truth about the old woman who was a socialite in her youth, but has grown to be a recluse, was one of my favorite aspects of Nothing but Ghosts. I was amazed by the Kephart’s skill as all the pieces of the puzzle slowly came together. I loved that I didn’t figure out the secret until near the end of the novel, it is a bit anticlimatic when it is too easy to figure out the mystery. I love the fact that the mystery brings so many of the minor characters out of the background as well.
There is also a love story within Nothing but Ghosts. This aspect of the novel isn’t really a main plot line, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. When I started the novel, I wasn’t really sure that there would be a romantic plot line, so I was pleasantly surprised when one developed.
Ratings (Out of 10):
Total: 50/50 (A!)
Nothing but Ghosts is an amazing novel and I will definitely be reading Kephart’s other novels! Ghosts is a novel that I need to have a copy of on my bookshelf!