Brought to you by OBS reviewer Dawn
*Beware of possible Spoilers*
Carrie Hansen spent her life caring for cardiac patients. Little did she know she would become a patient herself. After recovering from her own heart surgery, she realizes she has a special gift: the ability to see and talk with the dead.
Now, with her new heart failing, she leaves the bustle of Seattle behind and returns to Lexington, Missouri, the small town where she spent her childhood. Here, she sets out to restore an abandoned antebellum mansion and open it as a venue for celebrations.
Carrie’s work is cut out for her. The 150-year-old Greek revival house is in need of serious repair. Her sister, Melanie, bullies Carrie into returning to Seattle, predicting “her little project” is doomed to fail. Finally, Carrie’s health gives out on her, requiring emergency surgery.
But she will not give up. Carrie’s unique gift allows her to build relationships with the mansion’s original occupants, especially Major Tom Stewart, the handsome Civil War soldier who died a hundred years before Carrie was born. He encourages and comforts her, though not in the physical way they both desire.
Then there’s the builder of the house, Colonel Bartholomew Stratton. If there’s one thing this 19th century horse trader cannot abide, it’s the living trespassing on his estate. He delights in scaring these intruders away, even if they are paying guests.
Will Carrie finish restoring Celebration House or will it finish her? And how can she plan a future with a man who only has a past?
Carrie Hansen is able to see and speak with the dead. She is back in her hometown in Missouri to purchase a home.
She has big dreams for the Antebellum house built in 1845. Carrie wants to restore as opposed to renovating.
The residents ghosts at Stratton House are a bit peeved that someone has purchased their home. They set out to get rid of Carrie but she is not having it. She stands up to them; She explains her motives. Once they know she is not out to change their home, they are more willing to help her restore it.
Each one of the ghosts has a unique personality. They are actually quite funny. If they don’t like a visitor, they let them know. The ghosts are quite territorial but in a humorous way. Colonel Stratton and his wife are my two favorite characters/ghosts aside from Carrie.
It is a labor of love for Carrie. She is determined to finish the restoration despite her failing health. I was disappointed that Carrie’s family is not more supportive of her dream. That said, Carrie throws herself into restoring Stratton House. The house became a character within the story. I lost myself in the descriptions of the house. I do not know much about restoring historic homes, but I was fascinated. I took the journey with Carrie; I was proud when the house was complete.
Once completed, Carrie begins to hold weddings, class reunions there. She is thrilled that her dream has finally come to fruition.
Celebration House is a great short story. By the end of the book, I felt emotionally invested in Carrie as well as her dreams. I am so glad it ended with Carrie being able to dance with Tom.
I think Celebration House appeals across the board. Women, young adults and men will find a quick and fascinating read.