Cover of The Dead Romantics, with two illustrated figures lying on words from the title reading books

About the Book

Title: The Dead Romantics
Published: 2022
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

First Impressions: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board
What’s Your Type? Missed Connections, Dislike at First Sight, Grief and Comfort, Ghosts
Meet Cute: Gonna Need an Extension
The Lean: Looking For Love in All The Dead Places
Dirty Talk: Blink and You’ll Miss It?
We Need to Talk: A Good Time, Not a Good Time
Was it Good For You? Bring Out the Pottery Wheel

Content Warning: The Dead Romantics features the death of a parent and an offhand mention of a character getting hit by a car.

First Impressions: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

Although this cover, too, is illustrated, it’s a sight better than the numerous (numerous) instances of the cutesy illustrated couple on a bright background. These people don’t look cutesy at all. Or comfortable. There is absolutely no give to those title mattresses.

What’s Your Type?

  • Missed Connections
  • Dislike at First Sight
  • Grief and Comfort
  • Ghosts

Dating Profile

Florence Day is a bestselling author … but no one knows the bestsellers were written by her. As the ghostwriter for famed romance author Ann Nichols, she’s been a part of a process she used to dream about as a young woman. But Florence no longer believes in love, and she’s struggling to finish the fourth (and last) book in her contract. In fact, the book’s already late, and her new editor doesn’t see a reason to give her any more time to finish.

Said new editor, Benji Andor*, is a mountain of a man—and just as immovable, both literally and figuratively. Florence immediately dislikes him, and not just because he’s unwilling to see that love is dead. 

*I can’t find anything that talks about this being Star Wars fanfic-related, but his name is certainly inspired-by. And his description is definitely Adam Driver-like. Not that I mind either, one bit.

Meet Cute: Gonna Need an Extension

Even though she has no idea how to finish Ann Nichols’ new novel, Florence is ready to throw herself at the feet of her new editor for an extension Until Ben dismisses her request so casually, which makes Florence both anxious and even more frustrated. But then she gets a call from home: Her father’s died, and she needs to return to the small town she grew up in for his funeral. A small town she’s been avoiding for a decade because of small-minded individuals and their disbelief in Florence’s ability to see ghosts.

Florence puts the book out of her mind for a moment, but she can’t escape Ben—especially when he shows up, confused and see-through, at the front door of her family’s funeral parlor. What is Ben’s unfinished business? And how can Florence deal with helping him to the other side when her feelings keep getting more real?

The Lean: Looking For Love in All The Dead Places 

You’d think that the fact that Ben is a specter would dissuade Florence from falling for him, but the course of true love ne’er did run smooth. The heart wants what the heart wants. And in Florence and Ben’s cases, it’s someone who can help them move past old traumas and heal from previous hurts. Ben might have acted like he wasn’t interested in Florence at first, and she was too annoyed with him to notice more than his very attractive exterior, but as they get to know each other throughout the story, it’s clear that they would have been perfect(ly flawed) together had they been given the chance.

(Semi-spoiler alert: Although Florence believes that love is dead—and Ben is, well, dead—neither have completely written off a happily ever after.)

Dirty Talk: Blink and You’ll Miss It?

Although the chemistry between Florence and Ben is off-the-charts swoony, the actual sex is skipped over like Poston wasn’t comfortable actually describing the act. If it even happened at all. I’ve re-read the passage I think is the sex scene more than once trying to figure out exactly what happened. And we’re not talking about me not knowing some terms, it really reads like they barely got past third base, if third base is a little bit of foreplay. (Honestly, I’m equally at a loss for what the various bases indicate.) It does include a great book-loving analogy, though, which is perfect for a romance between an author and editor:

As an English major, I had studied rising actions, I had charted climaxes. Making love and making stories were close to the same thing. You were intimate and vulnerable and wandering, traveling across the landscape of each other, learning. You told a story with each gesture, each sound—every kiss a period, every gasp a comma.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

As I mentioned above, although the sex was lacking, the swoon was not. Mind you, reader, Ben’s a ghost and not able to actually touch Florence …

He came up behind me, outstretching his arms, hovering over my skin as he traced the contour of my hips to my middle. “I heaven inkling that you would like me to reach my hand beneath your pretty lace underwear,” he whispered, his lips pressed close to my ear, “and stroke you slow. And while I did, I would kiss your neck and nibble at your ear.”

I felt myself flush, my heart beating in my throat as quick as a rabbit. I held my breath as he bent closer still, closer than he’d ever been, never touching, his fingers painted over me like a sculptor’s, relishing in my design.

We Need to Talk: A Good Time, Not a Good Time

I’m new to the Romance genre, and I know that romance can exist without sex. But I guess I was expecting more from The Dead Romantics, especially with how steamy some of the scenes were before the actual act (or near-act, depending on how you read it). On the whole, the book was very sweet, specifically the way the grief storyline mixes with the romance. (And Florence’s family, including the memories of her dead father, are fantastic and fantastically flawed.) But I was ultimately left wanting.

Was it Good For You? Bring Out the Pottery Wheel

We might not have had an earth-shaking time together, but my time spent with this book wasn’t a waste at all. (Unlike the, uh, whatever they were trying to make in that GIF.) Sometimes you need fluff for fluff’s sake.

FTC Full Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of this book from a friend and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Dead Romantics is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.