Rosie Walsh
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Buy *Ghosted* by Rosie Walshonline

Rosie Walsh
Pamela Dorman Books
352 pages
July 2018
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Sarah can't believe how desperately she's fallen in love with Eddie. Perhaps someone matched them at birth and nudged and aligned and planned until they finally met six days ago. From the sadness of the past to the uncertainly of the future, Sarah is trained to be solid and untroubled, a skill she's honed from working in the shifting tides of the nonprofit sector. when Eddie suddenly disappears, Sarah is convinced that something terrible has happened. Her best friend Jo tells Sarah to walk away, but Sarah can't get beyond the seven days she spent with Eddie, a friendly, warm-eyed, straightforward man.

Ghosted is a tale of two people who fall in love to the point of no return. Flattened by shame and desperation, Sarah wonders why Eddie doesn't call. It was such a relief to talk to someone who knows nothing of the sadness she's suffering, a sadness that culminated in her estrangement with her sister, Hannah, who blames Sarah for a tragedy that has haunted their past. In Gloucester, at the site of a terrible accident, Sarah picks crowfoot flowers, her heart filling with the memories: the late-night conversations, the belly laughs and "the broad mass" of Eddie's body. She remembers being in the pub garden in this hidden corner of the Cotswolds. Amid the oasis of flowers, briar roses and picnic tables, they looked out at the little valley below Sapperton village where the thin ribbon of the River Frome spooled unseen around the meadow that fringes the pub's car park.

Walsh's lyrical style lets us experience every part of Sarah's emotional journey, from her most intimate pain and sadness to her frustration at not knowing why Eddie isn't contacting her. What if he's wasting away in a ditch or has drowned in the Strait of Gibraltar? On their last night together, there was no awkwardness, no misplaced fumbling or self-conscious questions: "I closed my eyes, committing to memory the feeling of his skin on mine, the gentle weight of his hand." Perhaps Sarah is at last beginning a last to get a handle on the thoughts that have been whispering at the peripheries of her consciousness.

While the mystery of Eddie's disappearance lies at the heart of the book, Walsh is better at tying the past to both Eddie and Sarah's blossoming love affair. From Gloucester and London to Los Angeles, Sarah dreams of meeting Eddie. Eddie's own recollections and the implications of his one and only day with Sarah add yet another sheen of uncertainty to an already perplexing landscape. Eddie is sometimes an unreadable presence, and his awkward explanation for not contacting Sarah is murky at best. Luckily, Walsh swerves to avoid the obvious sentimentality by channeling all of Sarah's emotions back to her friends. Jo, Tommy, Jenni, and ex-boyfriend Alex have little time for her pity-soaked memories of romantic heartbreak.

Back in Los Angeles, time marches on. Sarah attempts to leave Alex behind: "I went to LA to become the sort of woman I wished I had been--afraid of nobody." Eddie's voice eventually brings the novel full circle. When Eddie first meets Sarah, he remembers how life can feel, the lightness, the ease the laughter, "life sung in a major key." He often wonders if he's presenting her with a counterfeit version, "a happier freer version." The love Eddie feels for Sarah is something he's built from scratch, something he grew. By the time he says goodbye, "it seemed as tangible as Sarah."

Walsh has solid writing skills, but Ghosted feels like a dressed-up Lifetime movie. Sarah and Eddie's destinies are presented as two separate entities travelling down one singular road. Signifying how one tragic event can permanently alter lives forever, Sarah and Eddie's digressive, meandering voices circle around their own particular loves and losses, all knitted together in Walsh's melodramatic tones.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Michael Leonard, 2018

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