Ghosts are not real.
I know it in my head and I’m totally sure about that.
But sometime when I’m home alone and I hear a little noise I get unnerved and the laundry room in our basement can feel a bit creepy. One time I was exploring a semi-abandoned building owned by a friend. Just as I approached a doorway, the door swung shut blocking my way. That scared me for real.
In Ben Dolnick’s new book, The Ghost Notebooks, we never know if the ghosts are real or not. Nick and Hannah are in a troubled relationship. Nick thinks Hannah wants him to propose but he has concerns. Their fights have become more volatile and happen more often, and Hannah is unwilling to share the details of her past mental breakdowns. But after seeing his potential future in an aging divorcee drinking alone in a neighborhood bar, Nick decides to put his worries aside and attempt a new beginning. Hannah’s new job as the director of a historical home museum, once owned by obscure writer Edmund Wright, seems like the perfect opportunity to restart.
At first things are great. They love the small town life, exploring the outdoors, cooking together, and digging into the history of the museum. Then Hannah starts hearing voices and isn’t able to sleep. She spends the nights researching the home’s prior residents, their disturbing notebooks, and the unexplained disappearances that tarnish the house’s reputation. Then Hannah disappears and Nick starts to realize that she was more emotionally troubled than he thought. Now he is determined to discover whether the house is inhabited by evil spirits, if Hannah’s mind turned against her, or if his own actions drove her to a tragic end.
The Ghost Notebooks explores of how relationships can crumble under pressure, and how grief can affect memories and lead to extreme behavior. I think Ben Dolnick wants us to believe the Wright House hauntings are real but I have my doubts. Sometime a door is just stuck open and the weight of a footstep on the floor allows it to close.