Rachel lives in a remote village in Newfoundland, by her good friend the 90+ Ms. Saunders. She moved here to get away from other things, though she has come back from a vacation to get away from thoughts of an unavailable man. Yet she isn’t back for even a day when the dead are summoned accidentally by the teenaged son of the religious leader who has been secretly threatening her to leave town. It is then time for Rachel to figure out how to help put the dead back, while finding where her own prejudices are also getting in her way.
After reading several books which have missed the mark for me, Spirits Rising was a welcome change. It’s a novella, not very long. It takes place over a couple days and there is a lot of character which someone certainly would like to learn more about. But in this particular case, that is fine, because the story itself is short and contained enough. It leaves things open, such as curiosity about the characters which will obviously be delved into in the next books. It does not hide the fact it is a series, after all, and this is the first book.
We got a good introduction of five characters, with the mention of other neighbours who may or may not get their own place in the spotlight later. And I would be fine with that either way, because throwing in their names didn’t feel like the author trying to jam other characters into this short story. They had a purpose in being there for the story and the character development which took place within these 75 pages. I can’t say I was absolutely in love with reading any of the characters, but I do empathise with the lead character Rachel (knowing someone who in fact was also harassed by one of the bad apple Christians and spent time struggling with others) and when Ms. Saunders comes on the page I know I will enjoy the scene more than if she wasn’t there.
I give this book a four out of five. When I can, I will pick up the next book, and because of the writing I would love to grab a more recent book by Ball, even if in a different series, to see how things have changed from 2012 more quickly than if I went through this series one by one.