Ghosts by Olivia Lorenz
Torquere Press
M/M Single Shot/Historical
Reviewed by Cassie

   

 

Former soldier turned gangster, Hua Mu Yun, has come to Peking at the request of his uncle to send a message to a rival gang.  Heís a bitter, emotionally scarred, unhappy man who feels the need to wear gloves all the time to avoid contact with others.  When he and several associates come across the opera singer, Leng Ruo Fei, during an attack on an opium den, Mu Yun allows him to leave rather than killing him, although he isnít sure why.  Slowly their lives become entwined and they begin to fall for each other, but can there be any future for a gangster and an opera singer?

Iím going to preface all my comments here with a warning, which I hope isnít too much of a spoiler:  if you must have a happily-ever-after ending, then Ghosts isnít the book for you.  I myself love HEAs, so it came as a surprise to me that I enjoyed this story.  Olivia Lorenz has created a haunting tale with atmosphere and deep emotion.  The characters of Mu Yun and Ruo Fei are very well drawn.  Both men have painful pasts and deep flaws, yet they became sympathetic characters due to Ms. Lorenzís characterization.  She doesnít shy away from their flaws or try to sugarcoat Mu Yunís profession, or Ruo Feiís self-destructive behavior, which in this story is a definite plus.  Despite my normal insistence on HEA, Iím glad I read Ghosts.  Itís the sort of story that sticks with you after youíve finished it.

     

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