Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Talking to ghosts

Have you ever known anyone who claimed to have seen or spoken with spirits of those who've passed on?  My family sometimes likes to watch those 'ghost hunter' shows (which I think is a lot of nonsense) but a couple of times I've heard unusual stories from people who I think are pretty level-headed.  They're not the kind who are given to spouting wild stories, and whenever they've shared these stories with me it's always been with a shrug and a sheepishness that I can relate to.  After all, there have been a few... um, unusual happenings... I can't easily explain.  I don't doubt that spirits are around us, but I'm not sure why someone might actually be able to see or talk with them.

In Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur (which I received from Amazon Vine), Sienna's parents have moved the family from Brooklyn to Maine with the hope it'll help their children; Lucca abruptly stopped speaking about a year earlier, and Sienna has an unusual obsession with abandoned things. Her parents don't know it, but she also has visions of the past. Such "weirdness" makes things uncomfortable for her and even cost her some friends in Brooklyn.  But the story takes a twist at the new house (a house which Sienna saw repeatedly in her dreams before they moved there) when she finds an old pen and it starts writing its own story - the story of Sarah and Joshua - and Sienna wonders if her story and theirs might be connected.

Despite the 'historical visions' Sienna has, this isn't historical fiction, and the drama plays out more around the human relationships. She's a sympathetic character with her unusual "gift," and she's reluctant making new friends in the new town.  I thought the relationship with her parents was depicted in an interesting way.  Most interesting, perhaps, is her relationship with her little brother.  No one knows why he stopped speaking, but Sarah secretly blames herself.  But there's also the 'ghost whisperer' aspect of the story.  Her ability to see visions and people, places, and events from the past creates an interesting plot thread that runs through the story.  Some online reviewers were a little troubled with the "possession" element in the story - and I was a little bothered that the book actually uses that word at one point - and felt it was treating a serious and potentially dangerous thing too lightly.  Personally, I wasn't so alarmed with it and suspect most won't be either, but I guess it's something some parents and readers might want to know.  Nonetheless, I thought it was an interesting story, and quite well-written, too.


  1. This sounds great! I love ghost stories.

    1. Me, too. Maybe that's why my own novel is a ghost story. (I hope to have it so well-polished before the Storymakers conference in April that agents will be BEGGING to represent me!)