Review: THE AFTER HOUSE by Michael Phillip Cash


I pulled this ghost story from Net Galley as I thought it looked intriguing. The main character is a young mother who is trying to rebuild her life after a terrible divorce from an abusive husband. She gets a place on Long Island not far from her parents, but the historic cottage comes with the ghost of a sea-captain. Remy is trying to start a new life, make new friends, work, be a mom, and she also starts up a romance with a local historian who has all sorts of information about the house and its past occupants. Then in the middle of all this, someone is trying to kill her.

This one is a bit tough for me to review as I really liked some parts of it and was confused by others. I liked the main premise: starting over, new life, “you can do it!” theme. I liked the chapters covering the past with the sea captain’s life. I had known of Nantucket and New Bedford as centers for whaling, but I didn’t realize that whalers went from Long Island, too. I would have enjoyed even more of the past with historical facts, etc.

Here’s what I struggled with: Remy’s parents, especially her father, were incredibly over-protective. They treated her like she was 15 not in her thirties. Perhaps there are parents like that out there, but it seemed odd to me that they were treating their adult daughter who has a daughter of her own like she was a teenager. They also kept saying terrible things about her ex-husband (e.g. “I never liked that guy” etc)  which seemed juvenile and a little unrealistic to me. Then the ghost was a bit confusing — on one hand he was kind of scary, but then that didn’t work well so he turned nice. It almost seemed like the poor ghost was having an identity crisis. Added onto this were two additional ghosts or spirits or angels or something. To be honest, when they weren’t in the story (as observers) I’d forget they were even there, then a chapter would pop up with them discussing what they were looking at in terms of humans and sea-captain ghost. I’m not sure what their role was as it seemed like one was earning her wings, so to speak — maybe help get the sea captain to eternal rest after all these years? I don’t know.

Anyhow, I think this is one of those books that most will either like or not finish. I finished it but am mixed in how much I liked it.

Thanks, Net Galley, for my copy!

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