Book Review: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by Josephine Leslie (3/5)

23 Sep

I added this to my TBR ages ago, when a girl at my writers’ group threw out a quick comment that she’d read it and liked it. I was still in my Goodreads phase where I added any book I heard of. That didn’t last long and is now much more under control. Nonetheless, this book remained on the list for six years and I’ve finally read it.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by Josephine Leslie (aka R.A. Dick)

Summary from Goodreads:

Burdened by debt after her husband’s death, Lucy Muir insists on moving into the very cheap Gull Cottage in the quaint seaside village of Whitecliff, despite multiple warnings that the house is haunted. Upon discovering the rumors to be true, the young widow ends up forming a special companionship with the ghost of handsome former sea captain Daniel Gregg. Through the struggles of supporting her children, seeking out romance from the wrong places, and working to publish the captain’s story as a book, Blood and Swash, Lucy finds in her secret relationship with Captain Gregg a comfort and blossoming love she never could have predicted.

The summary seems odd to me because I never would have classified the relationship between Lucy and Captain Gregg as romantic. If anything, it was a love more similar to a father and daughter than lovers. I thought the feelings between them were really well developed, though of course any time you’re dealing with a ghost or the supernatural, things are bound to see a bit odd. I thought Leslie set up the premise of their relationship well and it was clear from the beginning why they agreed to enter into the relationship that they did. I liked how the children and Eva were never let in on the secret but how they almost interfered several times. I liked the restrictions Lucy put on Captain Gregg and the times he broke their agreement. Overall, it was a cute ghost story and I enjoyed it.

The one thing I didn’t like was the lack of character development in Lucy. While Cyril and Anna developed into adults and were shaped by their world, I didn’t feel that Lucy did anything of the sort. She seemed oddly stubborn with Captain Gregg at first and that never changed. She was very insistent at times but very malleable at others. Her character was just a bit too contrived for me and never felt true, more idealistic.

I liked Anna. She was a fun child and Lucy never encouraged her to be like her brother and be studious. She encouraged her to do what made her happy even when it was at odds with what Cyril was doing with his life. I thought it was fitting that Cyril would never rise too high and Anna would be married to a politician. It was a reversal of fortunes but they were both the happier for it.

Nothing in this book was very relatable for me. There was a lot of supernatural plot elements that I couldn’t relate to and the time period made it a little further removed from my experiences. I think most women can think of a time a man might have charmed them who shouldn’t have, but her brief tryst with Miles wasn’t very critical to the plot and didn’t make me feel much sympathy for her.

I thought the adventure of publishing the captain’s book was fun. I know publishing is different today, but her path seemed so easy it was almost frustrating! I laughed at her hearing feedback from her family without them knowing she’d published it and I thought it was funny how the publisher would never believe that she’d written the book. The whole thing was really funny and I liked how it played into her story with Captain Gregg.

The strained relationship with Eva seemed a bit unnecessary to me. Eva only came in to annoy Lucy and she never gave in to her demands after she moved into Gull Cottage. Eva was good for a few quick laughs, but she could have been left out. It feels odd to say something could have been left out of this short book!

Lucy learned that she was enough. She could raise children by herself and she could make money by herself. Yes, it took the help of a ghost, but she learned to trust herself until she didn’t need his help and guidance as much later in life. There weren’t a lot of independent women at the time this book was written so I’m sure Lucy was a welcome anomaly. I wonder if that’s why Leslie published under a pseudonym. I almost didn’t find the book because of that.

Writer’s Takeaway: For such a short book, it does seem to have had a lot of success. Both a movie and a TV show are a lot to get out of the slim volume. Keeping it short isn’t bad. And supernatural elements are never bad. I really wonder what made this book so successful because it doesn’t seem to have a lot of substance. I liked it, though, so it has a sort of charm that’s kind of hard to describe.

Overall fun but not too much to it. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Post:
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – R.A. Dick (Josephine Leslie) | Christina Wehner

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One Response to “Book Review: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by Josephine Leslie (3/5)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Challenge Update, September 2019 | Taking on a World of Words - October 1, 2019

    […] and Selling the YA Novel // K.L. Going (3/5) Beautiful Music // Michael Zadoorian (3/5) The Ghost and Mrs. Muir // Josephine Leslie (3/5) Becoming Madame Mao // Anchee Min (2/5) Hillbilly Elegy // J.D. Vance […]

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