Title: Shadows and Ghosts
Author: Barbara Froman
Publisher: Serving House
Publication Date: December 14, 2011
Number of Pages: 250
How I Got It: from author
Ida Mae Glick, a critically acclaimed filmmaker, has lived and taught in the small town of Willow Bend, New York for five years without drawing attention to her troubled past. But when she suffers a near fatal heart attack, the result of trying to live on the same meager rations as a group of homeless people she is filming, she winds up in intensive care under the scrutiny of a neurotic psychiatrist who believes she's unstable. To make matters worse, her mother's ghost has appeared at her bedside with old gripes, and her angry, estranged identical twin, Lisa, is heading toward town intent on having her committed. Ida Mae is desperate to escape with her freedom intact, but knows she'll have to get past her psychiatrist first. The only question is, can she? Shadows and Ghosts is Ida Mae's tale of artistic passion, fierce sibling rivalry, failed love affairs, substance abuse, and the magical redemptive power of cinema.
Let me say first off that this book is the perfect example of why you should not judge a book by its cover! The cover would lead a reader to believe the story is a paranormal thriller or horror story when it is a story of an artist literally starving for her art. I also think this is a perfect example of why the genre of women's fiction is so broad. While most generally think chick lit is synonymous with women's fiction, it is refreshing to read a perfect example of non-chick lit women's fiction. Barbara Froman created characters that are relatable and real. These women are psychiatrists and artists dealing with familial guilt and personal addictions. While producing a documentary on homelessness, Ida chooses to embrace the lifestyle of her subjects, including minimal eating, which leads to her passing out in a grocery store. Waking up in a hospital under the care of a psychiatrist, Ida begins to share her past demons as well as her encounters with her deceased mother. Believing her mother's ghost is a resulting hallucination of her personal deprivation, Ida is in no hurry to return to her prior state but knows she must be cleared by Fern in order to be released. But Ida's twin sister Lisa contacts Fern and requests that her sister be committed due to her previous alcoholism. While Ida did indeed have problems with alcohol, Lisa's true concern lies in her husband Max's fascination with his sister-in-law. Beyond this intense triangle, Froman provides the most perfectly written mothers (Ida and Lisa's Jewish mother and Fern's overly dependent mother.) The power of these women on their daughters is the most realistic depiction of generational guilt I have ever read. Fern works through her strained relationship with her mother and ex-boyfriend by learning from Ida. This novel is a wonderful example of a women's fiction piece that digs a little deeper than other novels within its genre.
** I received this book in exchange for an honest review **