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My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Health issues have been numerous the last two weeks and my reading schedule has gone for a toss.
Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella was a wrong choice to read during an already painful week. So fair warning, dear readers, the review would surely reflect my lousy mood.
Yes, this has ghosts which is exactly the reason why it went into my TBR but Ghosts of Harvard is primarily a book about being haunted by grief. There is, in fact, a variety of genres vying for attention in this tale. It is a story of heart breaking anguish in losing a loved one, voices of ghosts that is often mistaken as auditory hallucinations, the historical parts that somehow complements the current story, the painful subject of openness and honesty in a family, the peer pressure of doing your absolute best in a top tier college, the overwhelming guilt of having wronged a loved one, each and every subject plays a part in moving the story forward to a climax that adds a layer of mystery and espionage to the end.
Cadence Archer is following the footsteps of her much-loved brother who committed suicide in Harvard. Securing an admission and forging friendship with her brother’s friend, Caddy finds it hard to believe that everything that her brother, a genius who suffered from schizophrenia, noted down in his notebook is gibberish. Caddy’s attempts to uncover the truth leads her to path unknown doubting her own sanity as resident ghosts of Harvard makes themselves known to her.
The author has brilliantly used the architecture of Harvard in creating a sense of history and old-world charm. The depiction of misery is stark and raw and definitely makes one’s heart bleed. Showing the mother, father and Cady dealing with the process of grief in their own ways was absolutely relatable and left me in tears.
Part thriller, part haunting drama about the effects of mental illness and suicide, Ghosts of Harvard should have been a thumping roller coaster ride but the ghosts and their history creates breaks in the story that somehow fails to yield a seamless narration.
A Harvard freshman becomes obsessed with her schizophrenic brother’s suicide. Then she starts hearing voices.
Cadence Archer arrives on Harvard’s campus desperate to understand why her brother, Eric, a genius who developed paranoid schizophrenia took his own life there the year before. Losing Eric has left a black hole in Cady’s life, and while her decision to follow in her brother’s footsteps threatens to break her family apart, she is haunted by questions of what she might have missed. And there’s only one place to find answers.
As Cady struggles under the enormous pressure at Harvard, she investigates her brother’s final year, armed only with a blue notebook of Eric’s cryptic scribblings. She knew he had been struggling with paranoia, delusions, and illusory enemies—but what tipped him over the edge? With her suspicions mounting, Cady herself begins to hear voices, seemingly belonging to three ghosts who walked the university’s hallowed halls—or huddled in its slave quarters. Among them is a person whose name has been buried for centuries, and another whose name mankind will never forget.
Does she share Eric’s illness, or is she tapping into something else? Cady doesn’t know how or why these ghosts are contacting her, but as she is drawn deeper into their worlds, she believes they’re moving her closer to the truth about Eric, even as keeping them secret isolates her further. Will listening to these voices lead her to the one voice she craves—her brother’s—or will she follow them down a path to her own destruction?
AMAZON INDIA : https://amzn.to/3fDUDmF
This review is published in my blog https://rainnbooks.com/, Goodreads, Amazon India and twitter.