A Caryn Release Day Review: Waiting for Patrick by Brynn Stein

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
waiting-for-patrickElliot is a rolling stone.  He’s spent his entire life moving from place to place, never stays anywhere more than a few months, doesn’t believe in relationships, has no family, and very few friends.  He’s a loner, and as the story progresses, you see why — Elliot can be a self-centered asshole.  He lives for his work, enjoys casual hookups, and overall is perfectly satisfied with his life.  He’s built a business of flipping houses into a thriving architectural design corporation and is now able to spend time doing the type of renovations he enjoys as well as those that are profitable.
All of this changed when he acquired a civil war era plantation home in South Carolina.  From the beginning, Elliot was drawn to this property in a way he’d never experienced before, and felt a sense of peace there that was also alien to him.  He decided to live in the house and do some of the work himself as the renovation proceeded, rather than contracting everything out like he usually did.  And he surprised himself by sticking around long enough to become attached to the house as well as a few local people that became friends.  Over the following weeks, he found out that not only was the house haunted, but the ghost, Ben, was able to communicate with Elliot in increasingly more specific ways, until Elliot knew not only Ben’s history of enlisting in the Union army with his lover Patrick, but also of Ben’s death in the house, and of his promise to wait for Patrick to return for him.  Ben and Patrick were true soul mates, so that was more of an eternal vow than a simple promise, and Ben is faithful to it.  Elliot’s friends were amused that he was becoming close to a ghost — certainly closer than he’d ever gotten to a living person — but they were surprisingly supportive of him.  After all, how do you carry on a romance with a ghost?  Especially a romance doomed to end because Ben insists that Patrick will come back?
The rest of the book was not exactly predictable (at least not from the beginning), but before each new event or revelation occurred, there was so much foreshadowing that I knew exactly what was coming and wanted the author to hurry it up.  Elliot’s not dumb, so his inability to get a clue about so many things was not only irritating, but didn’t really match his personality.  That disconnect kept taking me out of the story.  The pace of the book is slow, because of all the build up.  There were occasional meanderings into side plots that went nowhere and seemed pointless.  The secondary characters were not as well fleshed out as I feel they should have been given the length of the book, as a lot of the conversations and interactions were repetitive.  Elliot was the only character who grew and changed.  The others were pretty static, which made them increasingly irrelevant.  I think that may have been intentional, a way for the author to emphasize the growing connection between Elliot and Ben and Elliot’s gradual withdrawal from the real world, but if so, it was not entirely successful.  And finally, the paranormal aspects — communicating with a ghost, retrieving memories, finding a lost soul mate, and even the entire concept of a soul mate — were over-explained.  I think an author should let magical realism happen, or not, but trying to explain the magic by mundane physical rules just ruins it.  
Cover art by Bree Archer is wonderful and speaks to the story.
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Book Details:
ebook, 280 pages
Expected publication: September 16th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773985 (ISBN13: 9781634773980)
Edition LanguageEnglish