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A Traditional Book Review: Three Ghosts by Katie Sullivan #MondayBlogs #bookreview

As I often complain to anyone who will spare me a few minutes (and that usually reduces to a few seconds once they see I’m about to complain):  I have a  tower of to-be-read  and to-be-reviewed books that may as well be called Eiffel for it’s height.  It’s my own fault, I know.  I buy books at the urging of friends, or because of a fascinating interview with the author, or because I participated in a promotion, or, as in this case, because I am already familiar with the author’s writing and just had to read more. 

Many of you I hope already know Katie Sullivan from The D/A Dialogues, an often hilarious blog where Katie spars with a Druid who’s been living in her head for roughly the last 20 years.  She is currently working on a series, a young adult historical fantasy novel replete with Druids and Fae, magic and mystery.  I’ve read the first novel since published, Changelings:  Into the Mist, and wrote a review which you may read here.

When I heard that Katie was publishing a novella, I couldn’t wait until it was available.  And while I prefer to write my reviews in the form of stories, well, sometimes there just isn’t time for that.  But I did write a traditional review, as would be acceptable on Goodreads and Amazon.  So, here it is.  I hope you enjoy it and that it makes you want to pick up your own copy of Three Ghosts.  



Three Ghosts is a fast read not just because it’s only 69 pages. The author pulls you right in with a conflict between two men, Pearse Finnegan and Pat McGuire, and the woman between them, Pearse’s wife Deirdre. Pearse supposedly dies in a conflagration of an abandoned wharf, and Deirdre is gone from Ireland. Fast forward 15 years and Deirdre is back in Ireland on a mysterious assignment. There is much that is mysterious in this well-told tale, and to say too much more would give it all away.

Let’s just say, Deirdre has to come face-to-face with the ghosts of her past, not knowing which of them, if any, she can trust. In many ways, the twists and turns of this story reminded me of some of the Alfred Hitchcock movies of intrigue and betrayal. While I am by no means an expert on Irish history (recent or long past), the author Katie Sullivan appears to be quite astute with historical details as well as creating a sense of place so strong I once felt I was sitting in the table next to Deirdre and Pat as they worried over events yet to unfold.

I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed in the ending, in part because it came too soon. I would have liked to have kept reading, to have had that tell-all scene drawn out some more, to have continued to feel the rising tension as everyone slowly realizes who has been betraying who. As it was, the ending reminded me of the old Perry Mason TV episodes where Mason brings together all the suspects and then neatly points out the murderer.

Perhaps the author thought she needed to wrap things up, but she didn’t. I would have liked to have stayed in the company of Deirdre O’Brien a good while longer. While I’m not sure I would trust Deirdre as far I could throw her, she was still someone I could admire for her wit and her will. I recommend this novella in large part for the pure entertainment value of Deirdre. Perhaps, as subtle hint to the author should she read this review, we haven’t heard the last of Deirdre O’Brien.


Now, Dear Reader, get thee to Amazon and purchase your own copy of Three Ghosts!

Categories: Book Review Reading

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Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

21 replies

    1. Thanks, Jill. That’s a good point about the novella. I like novellas because they are shorter, but they are not always the right form. Then again, it could work if there are sequels 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting point, Jill. Well, we pay the same for a movie whether it’s 90 minutes or 150 minutes, so one could argue that we should pay the same for a book regardless of it’s length. But Katie’s Three Ghosts is 99 cents and most “full-length” novels are more than that, unless they are discounted for a promotion. So … I do like your idea of having all the sequels (in the case of novellas anyway) packed into one book. Who knows? Maybe Katie could do both: sell the novellas individually or as a package 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I always remember the review you did of my book and how you created a circle of readers who at around discussing it, which was almost a story in itself, and a quite brilliant technique if I may say, Also you were really helpful in pointing out the editing errors to my publisher in a form which forced them to sit up and take notice, and I’ve heard they’ve done a much better job on my newest book, so thank you for that as well 🙂


    1. Hi, Peter. Thank you for your kind words. I do like writing those “different kind of book reviews.” Right now though I’m pressed for time and I thought it more important to get my review of Katie’s book out there, rather than dawdle for weeks 🙂 I’m so glad your publisher heeded my concerns. Having been an editor, I guess I’m a bit hypersensitive 😉


  2. I know what you mean about the tower of books. Thats why I rarely do book reviews on my blog (or anywhere else!)Ive been please to hear that there’s a move towards more novellas being published as some great work as strictly speaking been in that genre – Catcher in the Rye comes to mind. This novel sounds like a good one. I always enjoy an Irish tale. But it is disappointing when writers feel they have to wrap this up in a bow at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, A.K., indeed, I’ve let my tower get out of hand 😉 And I appreciate the move toward novellas as well. Right now, I’m reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (among other books), and that is certainly not a novella! But I love it 🙂


  3. Love your even-handed review and can also relate to the never-ending TBR list. I seriously need to lay off buying any new ones for a long while. I enjoy novellas immensely, not to help they allow me to get to my 52 books a year GoodReads goal. You might enjoy Candy Korman’s novella’s. She a talented writer I’ve known since the early days of my blog and joiningTwitter.

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