Genre

General Fiction, Family Drama

Audience

Adult

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2016

Themes

Marriage, Love, Multi-generational family dynamics, Secrets, Ghosts, Death, Purgatory

 

Reviewed by

Tiffany Buck

Secrets have a way of haunting us. In the town of Faithful the O’Murphy family is suffering under the weight of secrets. Things are complicated enough without two ghosts adding to the mix. Collier can’t seem to wrap her mind around what happened to her as a teenager. She hasn’t told her husband, about this little secret. He too, is keeping something from her. Izzy sister and mother have marriages that seem to be crumbling.  Even the seemingly solid grandparents, Carroll and his wife Rose, are holding onto a piece of the past that no one knows anything about. With all the problems and secrets going on, the two that seem to be suffering the most are Izzy and Rose. Izzy wants to tell her husband her secret, but she doesn’t know how. Rose wants to forgive her husband, but the pain ways heavy on her.  

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Deception is destructive. It gnaws at us. Humans go through elaborate hoops to keep their “secrets” in check. The O’Murphy family needs help to deal with all their secrets. The help comes in the form of two unrelated ghosts.  Not everyone in the family can see them. In fact the family members suspect Rose has dementia when “she” announces she sees a dearly departed person from her past. Izzy questions her own sanity she when encounters the ghosts. As the novel progresses, these apparitions help Izzy and Rose navigate their course of life.

Kaye Park Hinckley writes on the complexities of family relations, destructive secrets, forgiveness, and brutality with ease. She doesn’t flinch when it comes to tackling tough issues. such as rape, murder, drugs, and vengeance. Instead of leaving the reader grappling with the pain, Hinckley offers hope and a chance to heal and best of all, forgiveness.

Just because they’re dead doesn’t mean they’re gone. The two ghosts in the novel are recently departed, yet their work on earth is not over. Hinckley provides readers with a story of how purgatory lovingly heals the living and the dead. Catholics are taught death is not the end. Indeed we are encouraged to reach out to the dead in prayer.

The Ghosts of Faithful was a joy to read. It is fast paced and character driven. The characters exemplify the good and the bad of humanity. Best of all the characters are relatable. I see a little bit of myself in each character while reading this southern gothic novel. Isn’t that what it’s like when you sit down for a family meal? In each chair you see a bit of yourself. I highly recommend this book to Christian women, especially Catholics, due of the topic of purgatory.

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