Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
Nothing has been quite been the same for Katie since her mother died: her father won’t sleep in his bedroom, she has barely spoken to her friends. Life just seems flatter, less colorful. To keep herself busy over the summer, Katie has taken a job working in the gardens of a large estate owned by a wealthy recluse, Ms. Martine. Her gardener, Old Olsen, has them digging through hard packed dirt, ostensibly for a gazebo. But when Katie arrives early for work and finds Old Olsen acting strangely around the hole, she gets curious and begins researching Ms. Martine and what exactly made her disappear.
Although “Nothing But Ghosts” started a bit slowly for me, it was lovely from the first page. Katie’s sorrow was palpable, but the book wasn’t depressing. I was intrigued by the mystery that Katie was attempting to solve and sympathetic to her motivation: after all both Ms. Martine and her mother had disappeared, although in different ways; perhaps if she could figure out what happened to one, she could gain something resembling closure for the other.
I first heard about this book from Amy and was talking with her about it after I finished. I told her something that I want to share, because I think it perfectly sums up my experience with the book. I told her that ‘by the end I just wanted to give that book a hug’. Not just Katie, although I’d have liked to give her a hug at many points, not Katie’s father, although I could feel his pain emanating from the pages, but the book itself. It felt like Kephart was being very vulnerable with this book and pouring bits of her soul onto the pages, and after reading it I felt that I had just spent time with a good friend.
As soon as I finished reading this I put another of Kephart’s books on hold at the library right away. Highly recommended.