Book Review: Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton
By Amber KellerAugust 3, 2019
Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton is the first book in the new Salem B&B Mystery series, where Charlene Morris decides to open a B&B in Salem, Massachusetts, but soon encounters the resident ghost who needs help solving his murder.
Charlene Morris has uprooted her life from busy Chicago, leaving behind painful memories of her past along with her family and friends, to move to the beautifully haunting town of Salem, Massachusetts. Intending to start over, she becomes the newest owner of a gorgeous historic mansion that she aims to turn into a B&B. With plans for a grand opening on Halloween, Salem’s busiest time of the year, Charlene has her work cut out for her.
She soon finds out she’s not alone in her new home when a handsome stranger wakes her in her bedroom one night. Jack Strathmore used to own the house—when he was still living—and wants her help to solve what he believes was his murder. Now, Charlene has to help solve the mystery as she rushes to finish the work on the house in time for the grand opening. It doesn’t help that she’s starting to have real feelings for Jack—even though he’s just a ghost—as well as an oh-so-good-looking detective who is interested in more than a working relationship.
Author Traci Wilton is a pseudonym of Traci Hall and Patrice Wilton. They are both bestselling authors who have teamed up for this new series. Mrs. Morris and the Ghost is their debut book in the series, and it keeps readers wanting to know what’s going to happen next. They both bring their expertise to this tale, which shows in the carefully constructed plot and the well-fleshed out characters (pardon the pun).
Charlene is a likable protagonist with a tragic backstory. She gets along with others easily, and her classic beauty quickly gets her noticed around town. But her husband, the love of her life, died unexpectedly in a hit-and-run 18 months earlier, so she’s looking for a fresh start with the massive 8,000-square-foot estate, complete with a widow’s walk that has a view all the way to the ocean.
One of my favorite things in this story is going shopping with Charlene to get the B&B ready. It felt like I was with her looking for the perfect mirror, the best linens, and the fabulous telescope for the widow’s walk.
Her relationship with Jack starts off with much fear, then evolves into an irritation. She wants to help him find out who killed him so he can move on and leave her alone to run her business without ghosts included. But over time, she develops feelings for him, as does he for her, and they soon settle into a routine like a regular cohabiting couple—except for the little inconvenience of Jack not having a real body that Charlene can feel.
A chill kissed her, and she whipped around. He stood between the foot of her bed and the closet. Charlene scrambled for the bedroom door and unlocked it, desperate to get away.
“Wait,” the voice said, again just a little off the dial. “Don’t be scared. I don’t want you to be afraid. I promise I mean you no harm.”
Charlene held on to the door for support. She couldn’t believe it, ghosts weren’t real, and yet here one was. Not flesh and blood, but not quite transparent either. Her legs slipped out from underneath her and her back hit the wall. Tears welled, and she blinked them back, at a loss for words. This was her worst nightmare. No—hearing that her husband had died in a car crash, a hit-and-run, had been worse. But how much more could a woman take? Charlene bowed her head, too overwrought to cry.
With a snap of energy, he was back, leaning against her closet with an encouraging smile. He was tall, well over six feet, thin, with a full head of dark wavy hair, a longish nose, and the bluest eyes she’d ever seen.
I would have liked more of Jack’s perspective and story, but I enjoyed what few bits the authors gave us, such as this:
Exhausted by the energy expended to hold a masculine form, to dress, to speak, to be seen by the beautiful Charlene, Jack’s essence soared above the widow’s walk. He’d loved this place alive, and he loved it dead. He could see far out to the wharf from his house on the hilltop, see the lawn that Will cared for so meticulously. But he couldn’t leave. Trapped. He dove into the wind, flying faster and faster around the property, just to feel something in this place of shadow.
My personal favorite for Charlene was the dreamy Detective Sam Holden. With looks reminiscent of a younger Sam Elliott, he stands 6 feet 6 inches tall, thin but with broad shoulders, with a long, brown mustache and dark brown eyes. His voice is velvety and stirs feelings in Charlene she hadn’t felt since her husband died.
Charlene contacts Sam to help her find out what really happened to Jack, but it doesn’t go smoothly. Sam is interested in Charlene right away, but she keeps telling herself she’s not ready for this. Sam is patient but persistent.
All the while, Jack is getting very jealous, and his big emotions cause disturbances like light bulbs bursting and items moving. Charlene quickly falls down the rabbit hole of Jack’s inner circle to try and suss out whodunnit, but she also becomes a target when she gets too close. She must maneuver carefully as she persists with her questions, treads lightly on Jack’s jealous feelings while trying to understand her own for Sam, and fills her rooms to ensure her big grand opening goes down without a hitch.
This is the perfect book for a cozy reader who likes a paranormal twist along with a little romance. Add in the gorgeous setting of Salem during Halloween, and it’s the perfect package. I can’t wait to read the next installment in this series and see what else Charlene gets herself into.