- Author: Michael Phillip Cash
- Published: October 2014 by Red Feather Publishing
- Category: Historical, Paranormal, Contemporary
Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia are rebuilding their life after a failed marriage, in a 300 year old cottage in historic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Little do they know, another occupant is lurking in the haven of their own home. Will the After House be their shelter or their tomb?
The story begins in 1840 with Captain Eli Gaspar and his crew aboard a whaling ship. While I’m not an advocate of whale hunting at all, the descriptions and historical details of the old time whalers was vividly portrayed. They got more than they bargained for while trying to harpoon a huge bull, as the whale destroyed the whaleboats, catapulting the sailors into the roiling sea, before attacking the ship itself, wrecking it and drowning all aboard….except for two. Quite sad really, as it seemed like the whale wanted revenge for the whalers killing its family.
Fast forward to present day and the historic port of Cold Springs Harbor on Long Island, where Remy Galway and her daughter, Olivia, rent a three hundred year old cottage after her marriage failed. The detailed descriptions of the cottage and the area were vivid and made it easy to picture. Remy’s parents had misgivings about her ex husband, Scott, from the first. They were proved right when Remy and Scott’s marriage ended after selfish, irresponsible and unfaithful Scott became physically abusive. The previous occupant of the tiny cottage was an artist who had painted a mural along one of the walls in the small parlor.
An interesting mural covered an entire wall – a seascape with a whaler who was known to have shipped out of the local harbor. Not exactly to her taste, but it was a condition of her rental that she not remove it. She wouldn’t dream of it, especially because of Olivia’s fascination with the bearded sea captain bleakly watching his ragtag crew manning a whaleboat.
I was made aware of this book through participating in a blog tour later this month. (Look out for a guest post and giveaway from the author.) I love the atmospheric cover and the promise of supernatural and suspense drew me in. It’s an easy read, not at all scary despite the subject matter, and written with flashes of humour.
The present day chapters are interspersed with flashbacks from the whaling ship, which help to develop the story and Captain Eli’s character. Eli and Remy are both empathetic characters. She feels less than and lost since her divorce and is uneasy in the cottage, not realising why. Her daughter, on the other hand, knows and can see the confused ghost who can’t seem to leave the house that was once his. Guilt, anger and confusion are keeping Eli tethered to the place he called home. Both Eli and Remy are having to deal with consequences of choices made and need to heal enough to be able to move on.
The past and present are woven together well with engaging writing, a well crafted plot and interesting characters, some of whom could have had a little more depth. The two angel guides were favourites. The only real negative for me was the relationship between Remy and Hugh Matthews. The almost insta-love thing and their interactions weren’t entirely convincing. But it was a light, enjoyable read which could possibly be classed as a cozy ghost story (if there is such a genre.) I love the title being applicable to the past and present, as a place of refuge.
Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. His novels are best-sellers on Amazon under their genres – Young Adult, Thriller, Suspense, Ghost, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. Michael writes full-time and lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wonderful wife and screaming children.