Black Rose by Nora Roberts
This is not Hamlet, nor was meant to be.
Instead, it is a fun romp through the land of the good and the haunted with a satisfying measure of revenge thrown in.
The prologue introduces Amelia, a jilted Victorian mistress (circa 1892), who wields revenge for her suffering from beyond the grave. To read my post on prologues, click here.
Enter modern day Roz—tough but fair, hard-driven but forgiving—with ex-beau complications of her own. As the business owner of a small horticultural empire, she embodies a sort of tough-love earth mother, which echoes her own protective maternal role. Above all, Roz possesses a righteous sense of, well, righteousness. This is what leads her (she’s a fixer) to repair the mess of Amelia the ghost’s past. Meanwhile, Roz meets a captivating man, and you know how that part of the story inevitably goes. (Hint: Roz resists; Mitch persists.)
You’ll find a delicious sort of bad boy motif throughout—the ghost and Roz both battle an evil ex-lover. And both are fiercely protective of their progeny, which the aforementioned bad boys threaten. The fun escalates when Roz and the ghost join forces.
There is one resemblance Black Rose bears to Hamlet*—a sense of filial duty that outlives death. Like Hamlet, Roz is a descendant of her ghost. But happily for our protagonist, for her extended family and for her new love interest (and for the reader), the similarity ends there.
*If you enjoy ghost stories that pay homage to Hamlet, I recommend The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. To read more, click here.