My Rating: 3.5/5
Author: Sheila Connolly
Title: Relatively Dead
Abby Kimball has just moved to New England with her boyfriend and is trying to settle in, but the experience is proving to be quite unsettling, to say the least. While on a tour of local historic homes, Abby witnesses a family scene that leaves her gasping for breath—because the family has been dead for nearly a century. Another haunting episode follows, and another, until it seems to Abby that everything she touches is drawing her in, calling to her from the past.
Abby would doubt her sanity if it weren’t for Ned Newhall, the kind and knowledgeable guide on that disturbing house tour. Rather than telling her she’s hallucinating, Ned takes an interest in Abby’s strange encounters and encourages her to figure out what’s going on, starting with investigating the story of the family she saw . . . and exploring her own past.
But as Abby begins to piece together a history that’s as moving as it is shocking and unravels a long-ago mystery that nearly tore her family apart, she also begins to suspect that Ned’s got secrets of his own, and that his interest may be driven as much by a taste for romance as a love for history.
Relatively Dead is a story that follows Abby as she moves to Massachusetts with her boyfriend/fiancé. She begins to have paranormal experiences where she can see visions from the past. During her first episode, Ned (a local historian fan/scientist) makes sure she is alright. They become friends, and soon they are trying to solve what these visions of the past mean and how they are connected. This story contains historical references and slight paranormal activity.
The story is written in third person that follows Abby. Abby has been with Brad, her boyfriend, for two years. She is a quiet type of person and doesn’t always think too highly of herself. She believes she lacks the energy and success that other people have. Moving up north to Waltham, she stumbles upon a gift of seeing things that happened in the past. Brad is an energetic, ambitious, self-absorbed person, so Abby is not forthcoming with her experiences with him. Instead, she finds help and friendship with Ned who was around when the first incident happened. It’s fairly obvious at the beginning that Abby and Brad’s relationship is not the best, and the reader patiently waits to see when (rather than if) they break up. Ned is a scientist as well as a history lover. He provides some interesting historical information throughout the book.
The plot moves fairly well with Abby’s interactions in the paranormal and trying to find herself in this new town. There are some repetitions in the book with slightly difference reactions. The mystery of the book revolves around trying to understand who these visions are about and why Abby can see them. The beginning of the book delved right into a house tour where Abby had her first experience. The ending, for me, seemed a little abrupt – like there was supposed to be a few more paragraphs to summarize and end the book. These two things disrupted the flow of the book for me. I liked some of the historical facts presented in the book. I haven’t been to Massachusetts, but I believe the author did a lot of research on locations and historical information.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, I liked the book. If you like New England’s history and mystery with a paranormal twist, then you might like this book.