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Adult General Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Available to pre-order, date for release 15th October 2020
Firstly, I want to start this post by saying a huge thank you to NetGalley and Penguin General UK, Fig Tree for allowing me an advanced reading copy of this debut fiction novel, Ghosts by Dolly Alderton.
Previously, Dolly Alderton’s novel, Everything I Know About Love blew me away, so I was excited to get my hands on an early advanced copy of Ghosts.
Ghosts is a story about 32-year-old Nina Dean, a successful food writer with a loyal online following, but no dating life. When she takes a chance on dating apps, she becomes a victim of ghosting. On top of this, her beloved Dad is vanishing slowly into dementia, and her Mum is wandering into a mid-life makeover.
Dolly Alderton debut is emotional, relatable and hilarious just as her debut non-fiction novel, Everything I Know About Love. In Ghosts, she writes with such tenderness that you fall in love with her characters even if you don’t agree with them. More importantly, you’re able to forgive them with ease, finding them so multi-layered they practically jump off the page.
There were many things I adored about this book. The characterisations of both Nina and her group of friends. The elegant but honest way Dolly showcased what being in your thirties entails, and how it’s possible to have so much of your life together, but still feel so incomplete. The slow, brutal pain of losing someone to dementia but having to hide it behind a smile, not wanting them to know something is wrong.
At no point did I ever feel Nina was a character, but rather a living breathing person Dolly Alderton is informing and sharing with me. Which is not an easy thing to achieve.
I loved the way the books looks and handles female friendship. How removed you can feel from someone’s life you’ve known forever, just because one of you begins a family. It’s a thing I’ve noticed more recently as my own friendship group ages. We are all hanging up heels for nights in on the sofa, and the odd FaceTime so we stay in the know. This is discussed in the book, but Nina chooses to want heels and messy nights in the pub. It’s nice to see the portrayal, knowing very few authors who choose this.
Nina finds herself becoming bitter at how her life has changed; how her inner circle seems to disband their old ways. There’s a scene at the beginning at her birthday, Nina already knowing what time each one of her friends will go home. It’s funny, but it also hits you in the feels, knowing everything Nina is saying can be applied to your own friendship group.
Dolly Alderton’s writing perfectly articulates the frustration of being successful and yet not successfully enough for society.
Something which stood out for me is how Nina chooses to stay friends with her ex-boyfriend. Not just civil, but friendly. They go on dinners together, and he even introduces her to his new girlfriend. When you dive into the book you’ll see how beautiful their friendship is, and how deep it in fact goes.
It’s so rare to see a female and male friendship, post dating, be so healthy. Yet it actually happens all the time. I found it refreshing, and truthful, personally grateful for its inclusion, having tried to remain friends with my own ex’s. Having Dolly chose for Nina to have one of her closest confidants be the person she formerly lived with was a brave choice I think paid of. Actually becoming one of my many favourites in terms of the plot.
I think, like my previous discussions on Everything I Know About Love, I could go on forever about the beautiful writing; the down-to-earth manner in which Nina is and how you will want to meet her for a drink. Instead, I’ll say that Dolly Alderton has become one of my favourite authors. Every journey I go on with her, whether it’s reading Ghosts, her articles for The Times or listening to her Podcast (The High Low) is remarkable and honest. She is exactly who she is, strong and unafraid, something that bleeds into each one of the characters in Ghosts.
I couldn’t put this book down, and I don’t think you will either.
Actually, I’ll go as far to say I’m not sure a single person will struggle to understand Nina or the rest of the characters in this book. This book is for anyone, well, over sixteen at least.
I rated this book five stars out of five, and it was the easiest five I’ve given this year.
You can pre-order Ghosts by Dolly Alderton, out October 15th 2020, here at:
You can also purchase Dolly Alderton’s other book, Everything I Know About Love, here: