Book Review | Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)

I was kindly approved by Penguin to read an E-ARC of this novel via NetGalley.

Following the success of Everything I Know About Love, Ghosts is Alderton’s first novel. The novel follows Nina during a particular year of her life, beginning with her 32nd birthday. Alderton takes us along with Nina as she tries online dating for the first time whilst grappling with everything else in her life and the changes and challenges that life throws at you.

We quickly learn that the relationships in Nina’s life are a central part of this novel, whether they be friendly, romantic or familial. As everyone in her life grows older, Nina’s relationships with them change, often causing difficulty and tension. Nina’s parents are growing older and her dad’s condition is causing a rift between Nina and her mother. Meanwhile, Nina’s friends are getting married, starting families and entering a phase of life that necessarily changes their relationships. Along with her friend Lola, Nina is ready to look for love again and turns to dating apps which opens up a new world, and one that isn’t straightforward.

The way in which Alderton writes about relationships is amazing. She has a real skill at social observation that made for believable relationships and an engaging and interesting narrative. I find relationships fascinating, and this novel really appealed to me in that sense.

Another element that I loved was Alderton’s portrayal of feminism. She creates characters who are relatable in that they want to be feminists and they are doing their best to be, but sometimes, they just want to find a man who will be chivalrous. Things like this throughout the novel were so relatable for modern life and dating and I loved that.

The characters themselves were so well-depicted that they became clear in my mind and I couldn’t help but be lost in their stories and the complications of their lives. I liked Nina as a character and some of her cynicism made me smile. Her flaws made her more rounded and it was because she seemed human that I felt attached to her and was keen to see how her story would progress.

The plot had me hooked and I found that I read the novel quite quickly. Alderton managed to capture my emotions in ways that I had not expected and I was quickly invested in the lives of her characters. I liked the ending of the novel and felt that the narrative arc was handled well and felt right in many ways.

One of the things that I enjoyed thinking about with this novel is the title, ‘Ghosts’, and how it is reflective of the narrative. Before I read the novel, I knew that the title referred to ‘ghosting’, but I didn’t realise how many other connotations it would have, such as memories and our past selves. These were aspects that I found interesting and were explored well throughout the novel.

Overall, there is a lot that I could talk about from this novel, but instead I will recommend that you read it for yourself.

Ghosts is released on the 15th of October and I recommend picking up a copy of this great novel, especially if, like me, you find relationships interesting.

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