Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.
It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.
They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.
You can’t kill what’s already dead.Paperback, 312 pages
Four Stars: An intriguing ghost story with excellent characters and exceptional world building.
Rose Marshall is known throughout the country by many different names. She is the famous hitchhiking girl in a beautiful prom dress, who needs a jacket to stay warm and only wants to go home. The thing about Rose is she has been dead since 1952. Since then, she has wandered the highways of America looking for her next ride. Rose sometimes leads others home, and at other times she is trying to evade the man who killed her. Will Rose ever find peace?
What I Liked:
- What an interesting little read. I must admit, I was expecting a creepy ghost story, and instead I got an eclectic mix of stories blending together to form Rose's journey. This isn't your typical read, but I found it to be intriguing. Not to mention the world building is exceptional. If you are looking for creepy ghosts, this is not the book for you, but if you want something unique, take a chance and try this one.
- Where this book excels is with the world building. I was most impressed with the layers and layers of worlds and the ghostly characters who haunt them. Ms. McGuire has created a whole other ghost world, layered beneath the every day world. I loved the world building and I enjoyed learning about all the different types of ghosts in the Twilight layers and beyond. There are hitchers, cross road ghosts, route witches, banshees, psychopomps and more. If you are like me and you enjoy books with outstanding and layered world building and unique characters, definitely pick this one up. I especially appreciated that there was a glossary at the back to help clarify all the different ghosts and such.
- Rose is the heroine of this tale. I grew quite fond of Rose. She started her journey as a naive, sixteen year old ghost who only wanted to escape her hometown and to be with her boyfriend. As Rose wanders the ghost roads year after year, she encounters all kinds of people dead and alive. Rose isn't your average ghost. She is a hitcher, a ghost destined to wander the highways looking for a warm jacket to heat her cold, weary bones, and make her corporeal as long as she is wearing the jacket. I loved that Rose was so much more than a shade, and that she could become human and eat and interact with the living. I also appreciated that she grows so much and learns a great deal. I loved my journey with Rose. I adored her.
- Even though it took a bit of time to adjust to the delivery of the story, I liked that it all ended up piecing together. This is not a simple, straightforward, chronological story. Instead it is a bunch of anecdotes that cover Rose's journey on the ghost road. The story moves forward and backward in time, and it does require patience, but in the end, everything snaps into place and makes sense.
- I listened to the audiobook narrated by Amy Landon, and I must say, she does an outstanding job. Amy gives Rose her heart and soul, and I don't think I would have enjoyed this book as much if I had read it. Ms. Landon's narration is top notch. I highly recommend the audio version.
And The Not So Much:
- This book won't be for everyone because of its non linear story line. It isn't always easy to follow, so if you are the type that doesn't like books that wander around and don't follow a straight forward, cohesive story line, this one will likely frustrate you.
- I have to admit, I was a tiny bit disappointed that this wasn't a bit more creepy. I was expecting it to be spooky since it deals with ghosts, but it isn't. I was also hoping that it would incorporate more ghost legends and folklore from the U.S., but it doesn't.
- Since this is a bunch of short stories strung together, you have some repetition. I don't know if this was intended as a serial or what, but it reads a bit like one. The author repeats certain things over and over such as Rose's need for jackets, and her desire to get home.
- I did struggle with the fact that I found myself not as engaged with certain portions of the story. The story line bounces around so much, and it changes so often that I would often be engrossed in a certain aspect of the story only to have it shift to something completely different in the next chapter. There were definitely parts that were much stronger than others, and often I was struggling to understand how certain chapters fit into the big picture. It does all make sense in the end, but it required patience.
Sparrow Hill Road was an incredibly unique and creative book, unlike anything I have read before. I loved the world building and the numerous ghostly entities presented in the story, not to mention that Rose is based on a famous U.S. ghost story. This is a book that requires some patience as it doesn't follow a straight forward, linear story line. If you are wanting something original, I highly recommend trying this, just be patient. The audiobook is outstanding, not to be missed.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.