The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston tells the story of Florence Day, a romance writer who no longer believes in love. In any other circumstance, this belief would be fine. Except that Florence is on a deadline to turn in the last romance novel she is writing for famous author Ann Nichols, and is already late. She schedules a meeting with her new editor, in hopes of getting yet another extension.
What she didn’t expect was that her editor was the tall and handsome Benji Andor. After getting flustered during her meeting, she is unsuccessful in getting an extension and is now forced to figure out how to write the happy ending to the novel. Florence ends up getting unexpected news from her family that requires a trip back to her hometown of Mairmont.
Florence did not want to have to go back home but given that her father unfortunately passed away, she had to go and say her final goodbye. She was also forced to face the reason why she left Mairmont in the first place – the fact that she can see and talk to ghosts. As a teen, Florence helped the police solve the murder of one of her classmates after his ghost asked for her help. This hit the news and soon there was nonstop chatter about Florence – none of which was positive. Tired of the relentless commentary from her town, she moved to New York to pursue her dream of being an author, which is where she met her ex, Lee.
Lee was the reason Florence no longer believed in love. After what felt like a whirlwind romance for her, she found out that Lee was writing a novel full of little stories and details she shared with him throughout their relationship. After a heated discussion one rainy day in April, Florence ended up outside their brownstone, in the rain, now single and full of feelings of betrayal. Now, a year later, and she is struggling to write that happy ending because she’s still not over the fact that she didn’t get the one she thought she deserved with Lee. Back in Mairmont for her father’s funeral, Florence ends up with some ghostly company who makes her rethink her entire stance on love, and makes her question whether there truly is a happy ending her her too.
Common Themes + Opinions:
A lot of what Florence is dealing with is basically grief – not just for her father, but for her relationship with Lee. She’s still not content with how things ended and felt that she could have done more. She’s essentially beating herself up about it, despite her feelings of betrayal being valid. There’s also a sense of grief over her town and her family. Florence felt like she was run out of Mairmont because of her special gift, a town she loved full of her family. In her refusal to go back since leaving, she tried making a home for herself in New York but never managed to make it feel like home. Now that she went back, she struggles to accept that it doesn’t matter what people think about her and her gift – something her ghostly friend helps her figure out. It doesn’t matter if others don’t accept you for who you are, what matters is if you accept yourself as is.
The Dead Romantics is clearly centered around death, which can be triggering to some. For me, it’s a difficult topic to broach due to my fear of it and overall sadness around the topic. I cried a few times while reading this book as I sympathized with Florence and her grief. Outside of there being a death in the story, this book does a really great job in framing death in a positive light. Florence describes her family’s life in the funeral home and how her father, a generally cheerful man, saw death and goodbyes not as something permanent but something that surrounds us. Loved ones who die live on within us and around us, which is beautiful to think about.
Final Thoughts + Ratings:
Overall, The Dead Romantics is now one of my favorite reads. Despite crying a few times, I loved the story and how Florence came back around to herself. I rooted for her the whole time and was ecstatic as I read through the last several chapters. I give The Dead Romantics five stars for its captivating storyline and premise. As for the spice, there’s not much sexy times, given the story revolves around a death. The tiny bit of potentially sexy interaction doesn’t exactly get hot – but with good reason.
Have you read The Dead Romantics? Let me know in the comments!