August 22, 2005
First-time author Whitcomb infuses Gothic romance with modern-day drama to create a highly sensual, supernatural story of two spirits caught in purgatory. The body of Helen perished 130 years ago, but her soul still roams the Earth, cleaving to humans who share her love of literature. In all those years, Helen has never seen anyone else who is "Light," until she meets James, who has possessed the body of an 11th grade student. Knowing at once that they are meant to be together, Helen allows James to teach her how to enter the body of an "empty" teenager, not knowing what complications lie ahead. Posing as Jennifer Ann, the daughter of fundamentalist Christians, Helen finds herself trapped in a sterile household void of art and literature with little chance to visit James, who lives in a run-down house with a violent older brother. Meticulously wrought descriptions of the ghosts' feelings and actions allow readers to experience the physical sensations of Helen and James as they rediscover the pleasures of taste and touch and re-experience the suffering that is part of every human experience. Sexually explicit scenes and not-so-gentle jabs at hypocritical Christians may raise some eyebrows, but the author's poetic prose, capturing the spirit and sorrow of the two unearthly protagonists, will likely have a mesmerizing effect on readers. Ages 14-up.