Ghosted by Jenn Ashworth

Today is publication day for Jenn Ashworth with her latest novel, Ghosted. Having loved Ashworth’s previous books I was very excited to have the opportunity to read this one ahead of publication and as soon as I saw its premise (not to mention the gorgeous cover art!) it became one of my most anticipated reads for this year. 

Ghosted is billed as a love story, and it is certainly a complex one. There is a sense of unease from the start as we are introduced to our narrator Laurie whose husband Mark disappears one day, leaving his life – and his phone and wallet – behind. This already had me hooked wondering what could have prompted Mark to walk away from his home and his marriage, my intrigue further exacerbated by the delay in Laurie reporting her husband’s disappearance to the police. This naturally raises suspicion, and questions surrounding Laurie and Mark’s marriage, why one of them left, and how this traumatic event was subsequently processed by the woman left behind, a woman whose days are filled by her cleaning job along with her visits to her dementia suffering father.  

Over the course of this novel, the layers of Mark and Laurie’s relationship are gradually peeled away, as Ashworth provides an intimate glimpse into their marriage, insight into their home, their sex life, their families and the events that shaped Laurie and her marriage. And the further we delve into their history, the memories that are unearthed, the picture becomes clearer, and we start to see the complexity of the characters situation, and what the driving force behind their actions was. 

I was drawn to this book due to its intriguing premise, the fact that there is a dark, unsettling thriller element to it concerning Mark’s disappearance and the depth of emotion at its core, as it explores many aspects of love. I was gripped by this story, and thought that it was beautifully written, with its perfect portrayal of a marriage and the challenges within it, big and small, and how they have an impact. Whilst the focus of this novel is on Laurie’s marriage, it also explores love and relationships in other forms. The bonds between lovers, parents and children, friends and neighbours, and the way in which a tragedy can ripple through a family and the wider community. Once I had started I couldn’t stop reading, and became fully immersed in Laurie’s story, with her authentic, complex voice. There is a dark humour running through the novel, but it is also a heartbreaking read with many poignant moments, as it deals with matters of love and loss, grief and sadness as well as joy and hope, and it was one that I was sad to have finished so quickly! 

Ghosted: A Love Story by Jenn Ashworth was published on 10th June 2021 by Sceptre Books, with thanks to the publisher for providing a proof copy for review. 

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