Book Review: The Ghost Whisperer’s Assistant by Sandie Baldry
Sandie Baldry has a gift for creating quirky and appealing characters. Their interactions form the plot’s foundation, but even without the rest of the story, they could be a distinctive book. Baldry recognizes the nuances of people’s struggles with being different and finding their own happy niche in the world. She provides such humorous, kind, and peaceful solutions to common social problems that I think she may be missing out on a lucrative side gig as an advice columnist.
I enjoyed Goth girl Hannah’s backbone and sass. She knows that she doesn’t fit in the “influencer” scene that her mother finds so validating and successful. Hannah doesn’t want to change who she is for acceptance, even though it’s hurtful that her mother rejects her. When she reconnects with her father’s mother, rediscovering the relationship she had with her that had been cut off when her dad died, it made my heart glad, at least until trouble came.
Karl/Lily, her grandmother’s neighbor, is a hoot. The plot moves forward as he (or she, depending on their mood) tries to remain in harmony with their small community near Stowmarket, Suffolk. The neighbor adds a lot to the story, providing a car and amusement, but also advice and support that’s reassuring to both women. Even though they’re both strong and capable, there’s a killer out there.
In addition to a cold homicide case that seems to have inspired the fresh murder, the townspeople once executed a woman for witchcraft in the distant past. They’ve endeavored to polish off the sharp edges by staging an annual festival around the event.
That terrible history makes another revelation more concerning to Hannah. When she hears neighborhood kids referring to her grandmother as a witch, she has no idea that Rose makes a living by communicating with ghosts. That’s all I can say without spoiling things!
Like Baldry’s earlier novel, The Brown Sisters, The Ghost Whisperer’s Assistant melds several genres to come up with something new and original that’s satisfyingly eclectic. Hannah’s coming-of-age story is sure to appeal to young adults, but it’s a serious murder mystery with mature characters for all ages. It’s scarier than a paranormal cozy, though it still has a fun and life-affirming aspect to it. I loved it.
Thank you to Sandie Baldry and BookSprout for the gift of an advance reader’s copy. My review is unencumbered by any obligation for the gift. I thoroughly enjoyed The Ghost Whisperer’s Assistant and can’t wait for the next volume in what I hope will be a lengthy series!