Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross - a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn't ask Rose what she thought of the idea.
It's been more than sixty years since that night, and she's still sixteen, and she's still running.
They have names for her all over the country: The Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by "Rose", a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what's his. She's the angel of the overpass, she's the darling of the truck stops, and she's going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it's not like it can kill her.
You can't kill what's already dead.
©2014 Seanan McGuire (P)2014 Tantor
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
The central character of this book is Rose Marshall. She's also known as the phantom prom date. She was killed in an accident in 1952 and since then has wandered the roads of this world and the spaces between. Sometimes she is helpful, sometimes she is not. But her world and the characters who inhabit her world paint and interesting picture of ghosts in America. While she does at time mention older creatures such as the Black Dog or Hellhound, most of the stories center around the American love of motor driven vehicles and the lore of the road.
Interesting book that should appeal to those who love urban fantasy. Probably wouldn't particularly appeal to hard core paranormal romance fans though. If you have to have a HEA tread carefully, although there isn't a cliff hanger at the end of this book. It appears to be the first in a series.
Narrator by Amy Landon. This is the first book by her I have listened to. She doesn't have the verve of Mary Robinette Kowal who reads the October Daye books, but she did keep me interested and entertained with no annoying mispronunciations or verbal tics.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
The Ghostly Hitchhiker is one of the most classic ghost stories of all time. It's certainly one of the first I heard as a kid. There's a lonely romance to the concept. Even though the story has seemingly endless variations, ultimately it stays the same, fixed as though trapped in amber. I'm never quite sure what brings me back to this kind of story, but whatever that unknown ingredient is, Seanan McGuire has tapped into it in a way that seems effortless. Following our Ghostly Hitchhiker, Rose, and her experiences on the ghost roads, this story is deceptively simple, beautifully written, and creeps into your heart and mind in a way that won't let go. There's an evanescence about it that haunts you, if you'll excuse the unintentional pun. At least, that's the effect it had on me. It's written as a series of encounters, like short stories, but similar to the interconnected webs of ghostly highway she walks, Rose's story becomes something far larger and more compelling than the sum of the parts.
This book is not a horror story. It's neither gory nor gratuitous. If you're looking for that, shoot for Clive Barker. This is the other end of the ghostly spectrum that addresses the human side of things. In the hands of a lesser writer, this would be sappy and probably turned into some cheesy teen movie. Some still might think it so, but I found it endearing and satisfying.
This is my first book from McGuire, and if it's anything to judge by, it won't be my last. Her writing style is lyrical without being excessive, the kind of thing that either comes naturally or not at all.
This ranks among the top tier books I have listened to with audiobooks. I don't mentally rate things as "Top place" because each book has different top points, but this is darn near the top of most lists.
Rose is my favorite character because she is wonderfully portrayed as a petulant teenager that has had a couple hard knocks, but still is swinging. Just don't get her started on food.
I can't pick a single character. Amy worked really hard to vocalize all of the characters to the point where you could 'feel' them.
Rose...If nothing else to talk about food, and maybe about her traveling a bit. She might be caught at sixteen, but she's got a lot more wisdom that she's accumulated.
The only thing I can recommend is not to read this while hungry. This book will make it worse as Rose delves into how amazing cheeseburgers are.
I could *not* get into this book in print, but the audio version transformed it into easily one of my favorite audiobooks of all time (out of about 160 I've listened to).
There's a beautiful romanticized nostalgia for an America never really existed, but we like to pretend that it did, underpinning the whole book. Seanan's writing and Amy Landon's narration transports the listener to a different world. A shadow world that rests just beneath the one we live in, and that stays with you long after you're done listening.
Easily Rose. The book is written in the first person, and Ms. Landon brings Rose to life in a way that made me feel like Rose was talking to ME personally, not just the faceless audience.
Not necessarily, no. The book is really a collection of connected shot stories, and I loved that I could listen to as many or as few as I like, and pick things up again with ease.
That said, I pretty much did. Listening to it over the course of one day.
Rose's life was cut short when a menacing driver forces her car to go plummeting off Sparrow Hill Road on the night of her prom, in 1952. But she didn't die, at least not all the way: Rose belongs now to the Shadow Roads, where she can hitch rides with the living and become corporeal if a stranger lends her a coat. Boy, does she like to eat when she has a body to appreciate the deliciousness of cheeseburgers. The Last Dance Diner, run by a friend, is her haven in the Twilight.
One of Rose's skills as a hitcher is the ability to sense when the living are marked for imminent death. Many of the stories, especially in the first part of the book, concern Rose's attempts to avert disaster and save lives. The stories also recount how she confronts entities that are not as benign as she is to stop them from claiming more victims on the roads. Death isn't without danger for her, either: the man who caused her death is still wants to steal her soul.
The episodic structure of Sparrow Hill Road means that you can enjoy it in small portions over time, that works well for you. A handy packet of tissues would a good idea, too. The premise of the book begins with a not so happily ever after, and in many of the stories, you have to embrace the fact that it will all end in sniffles.
There's also plenty of suspense, action, mysteries to solve, and a high-stakes ongoing battle between good and evil. The novel is fantastically creative as one would expect from McGuire, who creates a world with routewitches and ambulomancers and crossroads ghosts.
I enjoyed Amy Landon's narration, which is just right for the story. Great experience!
At this point I've found something enjoyable about every single book she has put out.
This one is no exception, I love Rose Marshall and she's up against a genuinely terrifying villain.
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