Ghost of Winters Past by Gail MacMillan

GHOST

Ghost of Winters Past by Gail MacMillan
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (260 Pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Jasmine

Big-city lawyer Michaela Dunn stepped in to give her aunt & uncle a break from their bed-and-breakfast lodge in the wilds of northern New Brunswick, but the neighborhood bully from her schooldays taunts and torments her and wants to put the lodge out of business. What is she to do? Rescue comes in a strange form when a ghostly apparition points a finger.

Travis MacDonald wants only to find peace away from city life, secluded in his cabin, checking trap lines, mushing his dogsled to and from town for supplies. Finding a damsel in distress on the trail isn’t on his list. Neither is being arrested for murder.

Undeniable attraction has Michaela and Travis working together to solve the mystery, hampered by lies, jealousy, and someone who would kill again to keep them quiet.

Set in the backwoods of New Brunswick, Canada, Ms. MacMillan gives us a taste of the more primitive side of the Canadian wilderness. With the preservation of the wilderness areas being a big focus of this book, we get to see the beauty of the wild through the author’s eyes and her love of her native land.

Michaela was a fantastic character. She is a woman that can go from country girl to city girl and be competent in both, but at the same time, is the epitome of the old saying “you can take the girl from the country, but you can’t take the country from the girl”. Even though she has moved to the city and worked to become the person that her parents want her to be, her heart is still back at Promise Lodge in the wilderness of New Brunswick. After taking over the running of the lodge for a few weeks, she realizes that she still belongs there and not in the city.

And then there is the tall, dark and mysterious Travis MacDonald. He is a (recently) local resident of the area and has developed a reputation as a hermit. Thrown together by circumstance, Michaela suddenly has the opportunity to get to know him. Sparks fly, much to chagrin of both of them, which makes for some great sexual tension.

Ralph Frame is perfect as the villain that you love to hate, along with his buddy, Andy. Andy had some mildly redeeming qualities, but as much as I wanted to feel sorry for him, I just never quite got there. Michaela’s best friend, Karen, is an interesting character, as a female Ranger. I would have liked to see more of her. In fact, her character had enough potential that she could probably carry her own story quite well. And the mystery keeps you guessing. I’m usually pretty good at guessing “whodunit” in books or movies, but this one surprised me.

While the parts with the ghost add a bit more mysticism to the story, it seems really unnecessary. Those parts could be completely taken out of the story and it wouldn’t change the plot at all. I wish there would have been a little bit more to that aspect of the story or that it had been left out entirely.

I loved that there was a sled dog team. I’ve owned and raised Siberian Huskies my entire life (the original sled dog) and have owned a couple of Malamutes along the way, so it was a lot of fun for me to read about the dogs. I was a little concerned that she showed a dog eating chocolate in the book and portrayed it as a treat, because chocolate can kill dogs. I wouldn’t want any new dog owners to get ideas dangerous to their pets but portraying the dog as a kleptomaniac was funny.

Entertaining and well written, this book kept me equally trying to figure the mystery out, loving the tension between Michaela and Travis, and laughing at the antics of the dogs, with a very satisfying ending. Ghost of Winters Past is definitely worth checking out if you are in the mood for a suspenseful read with some romance along the way.

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