I was kindly gifted a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review. At 267 pages, its a relatively short read. The story follows the life of Eliza, who has recently become engaged to her fiance, Erik. They are very much in love, but she is disturbed when she receives a phone call from a girl called Paige, suggesting her fiance is not all he seems. She is ready to dismiss this information, until her sister tells her she met with Paige a few weeks earlier, which seems impossible as Paige has been dead for years. Accusations fly from all corners, and the ensuing fight has devastating consequences. Erik disappears and life is forever changed for Eliza.
Following his fathers death, Erik returns five years later to find himself confronted with some seemingly unanswerable questions. The crux of the issue being, who called Eliza if Paige is dead?
This was an enjoyable read. Paranormal romance is not a genre I am overly familiar with, however I thought the story was interesting and original. Paranormal fiction is a very popular genre at the moment, and you can often find overused tropes in stories, however the plot of this book is unlike any I have previously read. There was quite a twist towards the end of the book that I was not expecting which certainly kept the story fresh and interesting.
The love between the two main characters, Eliza and Erik was obvious throughout the story. Crunden conveyed it well, including the hurt and betrayal Eliza felt when Erik disappeared, conflicting with the love she had clearly still felt for him upon his return. Erik’s guilt was also conveyed well through his indecision and his own hurt.
“Five years of questions and bereavements, of loneliness and longing, of guilt and rage, bound them together in the cold, rainy night.”Rebecca Crunden – Haze
Although the story was very enjoyable, I did find the writing style not completely to my taste. I feel the story could have benefited from a little more suspense building, and perhaps some deeper explanation of the paranormal events. I do feel that the paranormal elements of the story went from the background, to the foreground quite quickly and required some adjustment as the focus switched from romance to paranormal events.
Overall I enjoyed the story and found the characters relatable. Eliza struggles with addiction throughout the book, understandable given she is dealing not only with the loss of Erik, but with the death of her sister and the subsequent instability within her family. There are several real world issues tackled in the book and Crunden addresses them in a realistic way. Eliza is not just magically cured of her addiction and self destructive behaviour upon Erik’s return. She continues to struggle with it until the end of the book.
“Where she panicked continuously about losing the ones she loved, Erik was forever angry about all he that he had lost already.”Rebecca Crunden – Haze
The paranormal aspects of the story are hinted at to begin with; the phone calls from a dead girl, glimpses of dead people in mirrors and displays of inhuman strength. Towards the end of the story the paranormal occurrences became the main focus, ultimately culminating with the arrival of ‘Death’. This is where I felt the suspense could have been built a little more. It seemed the story switched gears all of a sudden towards the end, taking the focus away from the romance and grief, and focusing it on the paranormal. While I still found the story enjoyable, it did take a little adjustment to the change of pace.
At heart, this is a love story conveying the message that if it is meant to be, it will, no matter what happens. Love finds a way.