Romance and Me: A Ghost Love Story or Romance Busters?

Filed in Romance and Me , The Latin Lover Posted on January 11, 2012 @ 3:00 pm 8 comments

Hey Everyone!

Today’s discussion topic was inspired by our special author guest Stacey Kennedy and her latest release Supernaturally Kissed, which is a paranormal romance story between a breathing living heroine and a deceased ghost hero (you can read our dual review here).  I was immediately intrigued by the concept of how could an author write a love story, romantic relationship between a living person and a ghost and have the readers believe in their love and happiness? We romance lovers need our hero and heroine to touch, kiss, make love, then how can an author make a romantic relationship sound satisfactory and fulfilling without any physical contact? Is it possible?

To get the answer to the above question I asked my fellow Book Lovers, curious to see whether they have read any ghost romances and if they believe that ghost romances can be just as good and satisfying with their HEAs as the “normal” ones. Here is what they said:


Amanda: My personal opinion about ghostly romance is that they can’t really exist. It’s not just the lack of physical contact, although that would be enough to drive anyone crazy. It’s the knowledge that you will never be together. Once you go, who knows if you will stick around.

For me though physical contact is a must whether it is even just a hug to make you feel better, you will never have that connection with a ghost.

Afterlife by Clauda Gray brushes this topic although she uses a wraith and that makes the point quite moot as a wraith can become solid and potentially have children.

Paramour by Margaret Ethridge also brushes the topic and her novel was once again a flop.

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready: The heroine spends all her time running after the ghost of her ex that she pushes away the perfectly alive perfectly Scottish guy that is really into her.

Ghosts could make a good friend, talking buddy maybe, but that lack of contact, of true companionship is the downfall in this instance for me.


Jackie: I haven’t read any ghost romances yet but Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade series is supposed to be fantastic (it’s YA though). I’ve heard enough about it that I want to read it when I have time.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think there would be any staying power in a ghostly relationship. The logistics of the whole situation are just not there, unless the other party were to become ghostly too. I think it’s a neat way to push a plot along, with a tie to a former love and all that, but ultimately, life must go on.


Lea: I’m not a fan of ghost H&H because I have real difficulty buying into intimacy with a non-corporeal spirit. The two I’ve read are:

– Stacey Kennedy’s Supernaturally Kissed (previously published as Stolen Dreams, you can read Lea’s review here):

The hero was a ghost and the heroine was able to see and communicate with spirits. I can handle spirits holding a secondary role in paranormal romance, but as lovers? No. To be honest it gives me the creeps. In Kennedy’s story, the heroine actually felt chilly when the hero touched her. Their lovemaking involved masturbation and without the warmth provided by physical touch I didn’t “feel” the connection between the H&H.

*WARNING SPOILERY* The other book I read is one of JR Ward’s famed Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, Lover Unbound, which is vampire Vishous’ Story. Ward matched him with Jane (who I liked), a brilliant female surgeon. Jane is murdered during the climax of the story and it was such a horrible let down because I liked the book until Ward killed the heroine. Anyway, the author then resurrects Jane as a spook who can take a sort of corporeal form with Vishous when he touches her. I found it weird, not to mention disappointing, one of the more bizarre HEA’s I’ve read, and again, to be honest? It gave me the creeps.


Anna: Besides Shade and Supernaturally Kissed, another ghost romance story I’ve read is Hereafter by Tara Hudson. (I also think that Anna Dressed in Blood falls into that same category, but since I haven’t read it, I don’t really know.)

The obvious challenge of having a ghost as the main love interest is the difficulty of touching, kissing and getting physical in any way, plus it is kinda creepy for me too. Besides that, it’s also difficult for me to see a future for a couple where one is a living,breathing person and the other is dead. Unless they are both dead or both living, I can’t see how the could get together. It’s not like vampire dead, a ghost is incorporeal. That might as well work in advantage to the story but for now, I still have to encounter a book that I like which features a ghost (as the main love interest that is.)

There are ways to go around the whole not touching thing as Stacey Kennedy proved, but well, let’s just say that dirty talking and masturbating isn’t my kind of thing. Sure it’s a creative way but still, it didn’t work for me.

And here I just have to say that an adult book on that subject is way more difficult than a YA one. In an adult book you expect sex or sexy situations, while in a YA they might as well not exist.

The only book that worked for me was Shade (but I have only read the first book in the series yet) and honestly it worked more because there was a romantic plot with a certain Scottish guy (plus the world and character building) and less because of the ghost. And if I remember correctly there was some touching there (it’s been some time since I read the book).

I’m not even going to touch the subject of Hereafter here. The book was a huge failure in most departments, so no, until now, no ghost romance book has worked for me.


Has: I have a read a couple of books which had a hero or a heroine who was a ghost, although I am not a huge fan of this trope. I prefer secondary characters as ghosts because I find that when the hero or heroine is one, the ending hasn’t really worked or there’s a strange twist at the end like a possession or reincarnation for the HEA to work.

Nonetheless there was one book which really worked for me which had the heroine and the hero who were both ghosts and inhabiting bodies (this sounds strange but its a very good book) in a Certain Slant of Light. It was very emotional and romantic book and for me was the best example of a ghosty themed romance.


Susi: I know of a couple of romances which feature a ghost as a main character: Incorporeal by Julia Rachel Barrett and Dark Needs at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole come to mind. I also have to mention the Alex Croft series by Kalayna Price, where  death is incorporeal and a love interest *swooon*

With ghost romances the physical boundaries make it harder for the author to create an emotional attachement and on the other hand the HEA that is, at least for me, essential in romance can easily become something the readers just won’t buy. Tricky topic!

Thanks to Incorporeal I believe that a ghost can be a believable romantic character, Julia did it great. I was so in love with her story.

I would like to read some more ghost love stories but nothing too crazy. 😉

If I could recommend you to read one ghost romance which will make you see the light, you should pick up Incorporeal by Julia Rachel Barrett.


Stella: As my fellow Book Lovers said, ghost romances are scarce. So far I think I’ve only read three:

–  Dark Needs at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole: from her Immortals After Dark series. Even though it’s been several years that I’ve read it, if I remember correctly Kresley Cole sidestepped the incorporeal problem by having her heroine become flesh and blood for a few hours every night before she dies and becomes a ghost daily. So there were definitely a lot of touching and smexy scenes between the hero/heroine. And Kresley Cole finds a solution to the ever-after problem as well, so somehow due to these “loopholes” I didn’t consider this one a true ghost romance.

Haunted by Kelley Armstrong in her Women of the Otherworld series: though Haunted features a ghost heroine, as the hero is also a ghost there is no problem caused by her being incorporeal or regarding they having a future together. So once again despite the heroine being a ghost, it was not really a ghost romance.

Supernaturally Kissed by Stacey Kennedy: and now we arrived at the last and only book I’ve read which features a ghost romance. As you can see in our dual review with Anna, in Supernaturally Kissed I didn’t get an answer as to how a living person and a ghost could live happily ever after as Stacey Kennedy ended the story before that but I hope that in the next books she will address this issue, as I find it even more intriguing than the whole lack of physicality.

So bottom line, besides Susi who is still under the charm of Incorporeal by Julia Rachel Barrett we haven’t yet read a ghost romance that had us convinced.

So please do tell us,

Do you know of any paranormal romances (or novels from other genre) which feature ghost/incorporeal heroes/heroines?

Do you believe a ghost can be a believable romantic characters? (= do you believe he/she can be a credible love interest if there is no touching, kissing, etc?)

Does a ghost hero/heroine have a romantic future?

Any good ghost romance stories you could recommend?

(Thanks to Susi here are a few links listing ghost romancesghostly romances.)


About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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  • blodeuedd January 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Wait…supernaturally kissed is stolen dreams? I have that book

    • Stella January 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Yep Blodeuedd, it has been reissued with a new title and cover. I don’t know how much of the story went through rewrites but the characters’ names are the same as well as the basic plot I could gather from the blurb.

  • Viki S. January 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I think all of Kelley Armstrong’s books in the Tales of the Otherworld that have Eve and Kristoph in them are believable. And they certainly have romance. I kind of wish they had more play time on paper :).

    • Stella January 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      I agree Viki, but as BOTH Eve and Kristoph are ghosts their relationship does not have the same problems (lack of physical intimacy, whether their relationship has a future, can their relationship be fulfilling and happy, etc.) since they share the same predicament. However, when the hero is alive and the heroine a ghost or vice versa they face more problems.

  • Amanda January 11, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Omg Lea, yes!I can’t believe I forgot the BDB, that has killed the series for me, I’ve had the sixth one for months and I am scared to read it

  • aurian January 12, 2012 at 2:21 am

    I have read the Christina Skye series of Draycott Abbey. It has a great ghost as secondary character, and in one of the books, he does find his own love. There are also a lot of unread books with ghosts on my TBR. Like Cindy Miles, and Sarah MacKenzie.
    And I agree about the BDB. I hated that ending, but I still read and love the rest of the series.

    • Stella January 12, 2012 at 5:14 am

      Thank you for the recommendations Aurian, will keep them in mind. 🙂

  • Tamsyn January 12, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I have read Kresley Cole’s Dark Needs at Night’s Edge where the ghost gained form in the end so I’m not sure if it is really a ghost story, more like a curse. Frankly, I prefer flesh and blood, something to hold on to. :o)

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