Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Pocket Books on June 24, 2014
Several sex scenes
Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!
When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”
But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.
But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.
Take a standard romance novel trope, add a ghost story and some humor, and you get a romance novel only Molly Harper could write. BETTER HOMES & HAUNTINGS is a departure from Harper’s normal vampires, werewolves, and witches, but it doesn’t suffer for it. In fact, this standalone was a treat, and definitely worth the read despite my complaints about tropes.
There were some truly creepy moments in BETTER HOMES & HAUNTINGS. Between the ghostly experiences, plus the “trapped on an island” plotline, there’s almost a horror movie feel in the background. I appreciated that the ghosts were scary, because the last paranormal romance with ghosts I read, the ghost was the heroine, and it just doesn’t seem right. Creepy ghosts are much more like it.
My one complaint was the real-life bad guy. I think the book could have done without that addition, since there was already enough tension with the ghost story and trying to figure that out. Plus, the story was unique, and the addition of the stalker ex-boyfriend made it feel, at times, a little formulaic. I could easily see this novel without the ghosts being a standalone contemporary romance novel, so anything that made it feel more that way was a downside, in my opinion.
All in all, BETTER HOMES & HAUNTINGS was classic Molly Harper, with laughs and romance and just enough paranormal to round it out. While it isn’t my favorite Harper, it definitely stands on its own merit, and since it isn’t a series, there really isn’t much investment required (though I wouldn’t mind a book about some of the other characters…).I would recommend it to anybody looking for a fun, creative romance read.