I received a digital advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.
One of the weirder romcoms out there? Yes.
In Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston, Florence is a ghostwriter for a famous romance author, but she’s had killer writer’s block for months. Now, her deadline is here, and she doesn’t quite know how to break it to her new editor—and it doesn’t help that he’s drop dead gorgeous. But she’s spared from having to tell him when her father unexpectedly passes away. She returns home to her small town, where her family runs the funeral home. There, though, she finds she’s being haunted. Not by her father, but by her new dashing editor, who was hit by a car and now seems to have unfinished business with her…
Yeah, like I said, kind of weird. Not entirely without charm though, plus I had fun making the death puns in this summary.
Despite the supernatural twist, this romcom is structured a lot like other romcoms out there. It’s like if Book Lovers and Under the Whispering Door had a slightly predictably plotted baby. The story beats follow the usual pattern of the love interests meet, something happens that makes them annoyed with each other at first, the girl has to deal with her quirky family and the guy finds himself thrown into her life, there’s banter and conflict and love confessions, but then a fight and all seems lost until the inevitable happy ending. I was never really surprised at any point.
The characters are decent, especially Florence’s siblings. I would have liked to have seen more of them. I also would have liked Florence and Ben’s relationship to have more depth; their bond seemed more fueled by their physical attraction to each other than their personalities. I guess there was some chemistry shown in their banter and common interests, but it wasn’t enough for me to feel that invested. (Also, their flirtation is really weird, when you think about it, considering he is a ghost.)
I did quite like the parts about Florence’s feelings coming back to her hometown, which she left after a bad experience involving most of the townsfolk. I also really enjoyed what we get to see of her relationship with her father; that was really sweet, though again, I think that could have been explored further.
In the end, Dead Romantics didn’t break any new ground in either the romance or supernatural genres, but it’s a serviceable story that’s cute, if very predictable and not super impactful. If you like romcoms and want a good vacation read, you probably won’t be able to complain about this Emily-Henry-meets-Addams-Family story.
Dead Romantics will be published on June 28th, 2022!