Disclaimer: I’ve known Celestine Trinidad’s brand of magical writing in the many speculative fiction anthologies she’s part of. Her stories were the ones that have always stood out and became memorable to me that she’s become one of my auto-buy / auto-read authors in the genre. Her first foray into romance was sort of an exciting thing for me as a fan of her work. But let me tell you nothing…and I mean NOTHING braced me for what was to come when I started reading Ghost of a Feeling.
This book was as straightforward as it gets: Junior resident Cris Villareal deals with hopelessness and despair after losing a patient while enduring the humiliation from a senior at the hospital. When she decides to put an end to her misery by jumping off the rooftop of her apartment building, she encounters a ghost and they eventually form an unlikely bond. But what she didn’t know was that the “ghost” was Nathan Morales who had his own troubles in life.
While the story dealt with mental health issues, bullying, and suicide, there’s more to Ghost of a Feeling than just that. There was also authenticity and raw emotions that characterized the major players of the book. It was easy to get into the story to the point that you’d feel like you were in the pages right beside the characters. One of the things that endeared this book to me was how everything felt natural and so relatable right down to the very emotions the characters felt.
At some point in our lives we’ve traversed that same path of inadequacy, of letting people down, and of not feeling enough. There was so much raw emotion in this story that made me feel like I’m reliving every scene and feeling the characters were also going through. I’m not going to wax poetic about how evenly paced and captivating the story and characters were (because they were sooo on point), but rather I couldn’t help but have so much feelings that I’d lost count on how many times I’ve cried while reading. The author had such a unique way of weaving a tale and at the same time cleaving you open with emotions so course, you’d become a sordid mess of feels. That’s not a bad thing, really. I for one love it when a story makes me feel things versus going through the motions of flipping the pages until I finish and count it as another notch on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Ghost of a Feeling did not just make me cry—it also made me realize that, just like Cris, I was not alone in whatever struggles I had. It’s a rare thing for a book to make me feel that way and I’m grateful that it did. I was also glad the author didn’t force the romance into the narrative. Everything was well thought of that you kind of have this feeling that someone cares for you in a way that doesn’t force ideals or standards down your throat.
So, long story short, you HAVE to read this book. I think it’s something we all need to read regardless if it’s pegged as a romance novel or what. Ghost of a Feeling is definitely going down as one of my best reads this year.
Celestine Trinidad is a physician (particularly, a pathologist) by profession. In her spare time, she writes fiction of several genres, including romance, speculative fiction, crime fiction, and children’s stories. Her other stories have been published in other print and online venues, such as First Love, The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, Philippine Speculative Fiction, Philippines Free Press, Philippines Graphic, and Insignia. Her author website is http://celestinetrinidad.wordpress.com.