The After House: Michael Phillip Cash
A prologue that sets the stage for a gripping and haunting story that might must keep you awake at night looking to close the blinds and not let the light shine through. Eli Gasper was once the captain of whaling ship and commanded his men with spirit. But, promising his wife that he would be careful and cautious this adventurous man could not ignore the sight that he sees and it cost him his life. An angry whale shows up and he decides to challenge it. He and his crew never saw it coming. But, even death could not keep him silent and his final wishes was for his crew and a young man named Henry to find their way to the After House the weather deck of vessel behind the bridge house or midship section. Whaling was Eli’s whole life but so was Sarah. As
In the present years later we learn the story of Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia who inhabit the one place that Eli has made his ghostly home. Invaded by two women and wanting to find a way to rid himself of them what he does should have chased them far away but instead brings them even closer to destroy what he as created for himself. Remy rents the cottage for her and her daughter after realizing that her husband Scott was abusive, mean and cheated on her. But, children shy away from the truth and although she knows in her heart that she made a mistake marrying him for some reason she does not realize that she is not at fault for his failures. With her parent’s support and help they guide her into getting a divorce and she decides to open her own Yoga studio and begins to rebuild her life. Although her parents understand her need to strive to be on her own they feel she needs nurturing and guidance but Remy pushes that away.
Imagine living in a house where you think you are being watched and what about a little girl that knows it? What about a young child that actually sees the ghost and what is Eli going to do? Remy becomes frightened when alone, hears voices, noises and things get thrown around and the house appears to have been burglarized when in reality we have what we call and angry ghost that want his own living space and will do everything in his ghost means to rid himself of the monstrous child and her mother.
The author takes readers back in time from the present to the past to meet Eli as a married young husband and father with a passion so strong for whaling that it precluded his obligations to Sarah as a husband and changes the course of so many lives. As we are now in the present learn more about Remy and Olivia a young child whose powers of perception are quite astute and whose mother wants only for her happiness hoping that meeting a man named Hugh will open up new doors for her. Hugh Matthews is charismatic, the mayor of her town and perfect for her so it seems. Forming an instant bond is this what she really needs? But, something or someone wants her out and things turn sour for Remy as someone tries to burn down her new Yoga business, her house is overturned by burglars so it appears and she feels or senses a presence in the bushes near her home. Dealing with her ex-husband and new girlfriend add an extra strain on Remy but Olivia wants to her father even though is new love is not the nicest person in the world.
There are three ghosts within this novel one named Eli and two that seem to be hovering over Remy and her daughter trying to figure out where they should go and how they might get there. One explaining to the other that Remy needs to find her own way make her own mistakes and realize that it was Scott’s fault that their marriage failed and not hers. Mistakes are made and learning from them and not repeating them is important but not always apparent. These two other ghosts have their own programs in mind and add a special ethereal touch to the novel almost like George and Marian Kerby from Topper.
Whaling was in Eli’s blood and the author shares his final moments and that of a young man in his crew named Henry and the heartfelt scene that was supposed to save them both. Crossing over to the other side is not in the forecast for Eli as yet and remembering his life with Sarah forces him to come to terms with how he is dealing with Remy. As Olivia sees Eli and tries to out scare him as he does her the scenes are priceless but Remy is aware that something is wrong when so many things including pushing her off the road and putting her in the hospital happen. Who wants her gone? Eli or someone else? An almost deadly car accident, a fire and more will she survive and why has Hugh taken such an interest in her?
Within the story there was a young man who lived in the house that painted for years and you can hear his spirit too. Meeting Hugh brings this to light as he tells Remy about this man and his work. The painter would alert Eli of his presence in an odd way and the artwork focused on whaling, whale boats and more are painted in the house and bring the story even more to life and the realities of how and why Eli is so frustrated and wants these memories to himself. The town’s museum if where much of the history is stored and Hugh takes Remy there adding to the romance and special warmth of this small town.
When Remy comes face to face with Eli their encounter is quite compelling and learning more about why he is there changes the dynamics of the story. When someone attacks both Hugh and Remy when the truth behind who wants her out of the way comes to light the main theme of the story comes to the forefront and is Choice! Making the choices in life that we do are the ones we are responsible for and we have to live with the consequences. The scene is powerful; the realization about the ghosts quite unique and the bonding among the characters brings the story and the climax to a new heightened point. Olivia seems to understand Eli and when the author carefully and methodically relates to readers just what really did happen to him and Henry and how they were saved, their final fates it is up to Eli to hear the voices necessary and find his own way back home. His wife, daughter and son were lost and the ending will bring you some heartfelt tears and hope. Will Eli realize his final fate? Will he ever see Sarah and what will she tell him that he never heard before? Is life about material things, adventure and money or is it about love, hope and family? You the reader decide!
The ending is quite profound and compelling as the pieces fit together and the final outcome will surprise readers when Eli, Remy and two special ghosts learn the true meaning of Love, Understanding, Hope and Choices. The after house saved two people and much more. Let’s give this book Five Golden Whales
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine