August 17, 2022

REVIEW The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Release Date: June 28, 2022
Format: Audiobook (Personal Library)
Publisher: Berkley 

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I’m a big fan of Ashley Poston’s young adult fantasy standalone, Among the Beasts and Briars, so it was exciting to hear that she was releasing a new adult contemporary romance novel. The Dead Romantics is a unique romantic comedy with some speculative/paranormal elements (ghosts!) that has definitely livened up my 2022 TBR.  

Florence Day has a whole list of problems; a) she is the ghostwriter for one of the most famous romance writers of the generation, b) she no longer believes in happily ever afters after enduring a very painful breakup, and c) she’s been able to communicate with ghosts for as long as she can remember. Stuck on a deadline for a book she doesn’t feel like she can finish, she has no clue what to do. Florence’s life gets sideswiped by the news of the tragedy at home, and she must rush home to be with her family. Her editor is still determined to get Florence to turn in the book on time, but there’s an unexpected twist Florence herself couldn’t have dreamed up - he’s now dead, a ghost haunting Florence until his unfinished business is completed. What’s a girl to do with that kind of stress in her life?

Florence’s romance is an impossible love story. After enduring so much pain, she finds a light at the end of the tunnel in her interactions with Ben. He’s just out of reach though, given that he’s a ghost. I connected with her on so many levels (especially with her inclination to buy books as a form of therapy haha). My one complaint about the book is that the romance seemed to suffer at times in the name of the larger plot; Florence and Ben have such great chemistry that I was often left wanting more. Fear not though - there is a happily ever after ending for those who were worried about that. 

Ashley Poston does not shy away from tough subjects in this book; the intricacies of the publishing world are one of them. On the surface, most readers only see the work that the author puts into bringing a story or a book to life but there are so many more people involved. I’ve enjoyed learning about the different stages that a book goes through after the author finishes writing it, and Ms. Poston does go into some of that (first draft, second draft, copy edits, and pass pages just to name a few). She also described the struggles that authors go through to make it in the industry because it is a field that is subject to so many whims (those of your agent, the editors, the readers, etc.). In shining a light on some of the more problematic areas, she’s inspired discussion which will hopefully make a difference in the future. 

In addition to the world of publishing, death is also a big part of the book. Saying goodbye is hard; the thought that you’ll never get to see them again is even harder. Florence has a slightly different perspective than most, given that she can see ghosts but in some ways, it can make the goodbye even harder. She has to say goodbye to people twice, and I can't imagine how painful it would be to see someone you care about but not be able to touch them. Every member of Florence’s family deals with the passing in their own way, and sometimes that led to clashes as they worked through their grief. To borrow words from Karen A. Anderson (in the interest of limiting spoilers from The Dead Romantics), “Grief is not meant to be the soul’s final destination.” I thought they had a very meaningful way of dealing with death in their work running the funeral home; it says something about their impact that everyone would pick their family to do the final rights when the time comes. I do want to emphasize that parental death is a central theme of this story. If this sounds potentially triggering, please do what’s best for you. It’s ok if you need to put the book down for the time being; it will still be here when you are ready

The Dead Romantics was a very innovative and entertaining story. Narrator Eileen Stevens did a great job with the performance in the audiobook - she had a very pleasing voice that’s easy to listen to, and that helped transport you into Florence’s story. It’s currently listed as a standalone, but I hope Ashley Poston releases more books in the same vein in the future! I would recommend it to those looking for a creative romantic comedy full of humor and wit; if you enjoy contemporary tales that take you through a whirlwind of emotions, this one’s for you. 

About the Book
A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem--after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It's as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won't give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she's run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can't bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor's front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he's just as confused about why he's there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she's ever known about love stories.

About the Author

Ashley Poston graduated from the University of South Carolina and has spent the last ten years in the publishing industry as a social media coordinator, a marketing designer, and finally an author. Her novels have been featured on the Indie Next List, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, EW, CNN, Hypable, and Buzzfeed, among others.

When not writing, she likes to build miniature rooms and takes long walks as an excuse to listen to Dungeons and Dragons podcasts. She lives in South Carolina with her bossy cat, Paprika, and they are firm believers that we’re all a bunch of weirdos looking for other weirdos, asking for their AO3 username.

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