A Ghost Among Us: Romance abounds in this fantasy

By Debora Hill

Fire Mountain Press
ISBN 1-929374-14-3

Review By: Vivian Outen

Meet Sir Jerome Kennington, the most lovable ghost since Casper. Jerome has been dead almost two hundred years, but he still inhabits the residence he once lived in as the Earl of Arden. It seems that he is bound to the house until he finds out who murdered him on his wedding night in 1811. Suddenly Jerome meets six people who can help him accomplish his mission.

American photographer Charlotte Lewis lives and works in London. She is delighted when she receives a letter from her girlfriend, talk-show host Diedre Hall, informing her that she has accepted a new TV hosting job in London and that she needs a place to stay. Even better, another girlfriend, painter Natalie Ladd, also decides to move to London with encouragement from Charlotte. Natalie has just been through a nasty divorce and could use a new place to show her paintings. Realizing her flat is not big enough for all three of them, Charlotte finds the perfect house in Hampstead, which used to be part of a country estate. Soon, Diedre and Natalie descend upon London and life in the manor house is never dull.

Diedre is preparing for her first show and studying her subject, a rock star named Robin Herald, when Sir Jerome first appears before her. After her initial shock, she discovers that Jerome is very surprised that she can even see him; no one else has been able to in over 150 years. Dierdre accepts Jerome pretty quickly since she had researched the history of the house the day before at the library and read all about the Earl of Arden and his murder. She has information that she shares with Jerome to aid in his quest for his killer. Jerome believes that it is a fluke that Diedre can see him, but is soon stunned to find out that Natalie and Charlotte can see him also. The girls are intrigued with his story and determined to dig up more information for him. Jerome is grateful to the girls for their help and thrilled to have their company, but is simply amazed at how much women have changed since 1811. Everything about them is different - their dress, their language, and their will!

Romance abounds in this fantasy. Charlotte already has a boyfriend, Paul, who is a research biologist at the University of London. Natalie soon hooks up with a Russian filmmaker named Vladimir. But Diedre's romance is more central to the story. When Didi first meets Robin Herald on the set before the show in which she is to interview him, she is bowled over by the realization that he looks exactly like...Sir Jerome Kennington. This adds another element to the story...could Robin be Jerome's descendant? While at first totally at odds with each other over ideas and ideals, things heat up quickly between the wealthy Dierdre and the hot, sexy Robin. And strangely enough, the lads can see and talk with Jerome also.

A GHOST AMONG US has a lot to offer the reader. Aside from the charming and delightful Jerome and his personal quest, there is a subplot about the cruel treatment of animals in the University's labs. While the dialogue is somewhat stilted in the modern day, everything rings true for the parts of the story relating to 1811, showing that Debora Hill did her homework on the time period. The pace of the story is quick due to moving back and forth between the past and the present, and accepting that this IS a ghost story, I found it to be very believable. One element that I did have trouble believing was how easily Robin accepted the fact that he was related to Sir Jerome; he didn't really ask for any kind of supporting documentation which most people would do. All in all, A GHOST AMONG US is a fun read with a sequel, JEROME'S QUEST, already in the works.