Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
From the Publisher...
When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers--with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.
The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including--perhaps--their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.
After reading and loving A Time Traveler's Wife, I picked up this book without even reading the synopsis. This is how I prefer to pick up books so that I am completely surprised by the plot. In this case, however, my habit came back to bite me.
The book started out well enough. The death of Elsbeth, the grieving boyfriend, and the estranged sister dealing with their issues. Throw in a cooky neighbor and bizarre twins, and the chracters of this book were quite compelling. And that's when everything went to hell.
I was able to work through parts of the story being told from the ghosts perspective, even though there is no way the author could know or describe what a ghost might go through. I was even able to deal with the twins' annoying traits. My big problem came when Elsbeth, the ghost, pulled the soul of the twins' cat out of its body. She was able to put it back, but later tried again and killed the cat.
Then she lets one of the twins convince her to pull her own soul out of her body in order to fake her death. Why would she want to fake her death, you ask? Because she wanted a life separate from her twin's life. Obviously faking your own death, and using your aunt's ghost to do it, is the only way to achieve this!!!
So Elsbeth takes her soul out of her body, they put the body on ice, do a funeral without embalming the body, and later Elsbeth is supposed to put the body back in. Oh but wait, she can't because her niece's soul isn't solid enough. So what is a ghost to do? Jump in her niece's body and shack up with her old boyfriend, who happened to be dating her niece when this all happened. That's not creepy at all.
If you can believe it, even more happens after all of this, but I won't ruin everything, just in case someone actually wants to read this book. I go this one as a bargain book, or I would be fuming!!! Read this at your own risk.