Ghosts of the Queen Mary

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
178 Pages
Reviewed on 10/20/2014
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Ghosts of the Queen Mary is a humorous novel written by Karen Truesdell Riehl. Toots and her husband Max are having a romantic weekend aboard the historic, and supposedly haunted, Queen Mary, which was turned into a floating hotel after its last voyage. The two of them enjoy dressing up in period clothes, and the Queen Mary seemed the perfect venue for them. At dinner, they notice a couple dining in the corner of the room who strongly resemble the portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor hanging in the ship's hallway. Gathering up more than a little courage, Max and Toots introduce themselves and accept the royal couple's invitation to meet the next morning for a guided tour of the ship.

Karen Truesdell Riehl's novel, Ghosts of the Queen Mary, is entertaining and witty. Toots and Max have what seems to be a perfect relationship based on amazing compatibility, and Toots' need to try out positions for the steamy romances she writes. Their insular little world is shattered, first by their spectral uninvited guests, then their grandson and then their pregnant daughter, and it's amusing to see how they respond. Riehl's story is well-plotted, and her writing style is breezy and casual. Ghosts of the Queen Mary is a lot of fun to read; it's also quite hard to put down, and I found myself enjoying a long afternoon reading this heartwarming novel. It reminded me at times of the madcap movies of the '40s and the old television series Topper, which is not at all a bad thing. Ghosts of the Queen Mary is highly recommended.

Stefan Vucak

Maxwell and Antoinette ‘Toots’ Rawlings take a cabin on the moored Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, now a luxurious hotel…and that’s when their unusual adventures begin. At dinner, they see the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, which is impossible; they are long dead. Once home, the two ghosts appear to them – they hitched a ride in the trunk. In the middle of writing her latest romance novel, Toots has to cope with interfering spirits, and the sudden appearance of her grandson, Andrew. The boy is sullen and unresponsive, and Max takes it on himself to draw him out. Toots explains to Andrew about the two ghosts in their house, which he finds cool. If coping with him wasn’t enough trouble, Toots’ daughter comes visiting, announcing that her boyfriend refuses to marry her, and she is pregnant. They all huddle together to form the ‘plan’ which will save the daughter’s relationship – with the two ghosts providing helpful suggestions.

With Ghosts of the Queen Mary, Karen Truesdell Riehl leads the reader into a quirky world of a romance writer – while hounded by two friendly ghosts. The writing is crisp and the dialogue real. The interaction between Max and Toots is lively, and Andrew adds an interesting dimension to this short novel. Parents will relate to his sullen, withdrawn attitude, and smile as he changes. I would have preferred more interaction with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and how they ‘feel’ being ghosts. If you are interested in something unusual, Ghosts of the Queen Mary will entertain.

Maria Beltran

Ghosts of the Queen Mary by Karen Truesdell Riehl is an amusing tale involving an elderly couple embarking on a weekend cruise on the Queen Mary. Formerly sailing as a troopship across the Atlantic during World War II, the Queen Mary is known to be a haunted ship. Since 1967, it is permanently docked in California as a hotel and historic attraction and is listed by Time Magazine as one of the top ten most haunted places in America. Toots and Max board the ship with the prospects of having an enjoyable and perhaps haunted weekend. They are not disappointed when the ghosts of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor keep them company. What they do not expect is that the ghosts follow them back to their home and get entangled with their domestic problems.

Ghosts of the Queen Mary is an amusing story from Karen Truesdell Riehl. Toots, a sexy romance novel writer, and her gentleman husband Max are both in their sixties but this does not stop them from having fun with each other. They are definitely amiable characters with their sense of humor and zest for life. The plot becomes hilarious when the ghosts of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor come home with them uninvited while they have to deal with financial problems, a grandson and his noisy parrot, and an unhappy daughter who is jilted by her groom-to-be. And when Toots’ old flame comes into the picture, the plot takes a different path. If you want to have a hilarious read, this book is definitely for you!