I'll tell you more in my 5 star review - But first, here's a bit about the book:
I am thrilled to invite you to a Blog Tour with my dear friend and talented author Michael R. French!
National best selling author Michael French is a graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern University. He is a businessman and author who divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is an avid mountain trekker, likes to visit developing countries, and with his wife, Patricia, started a 501(c) 3, Dollars4Schools, to support public school teachers in Santa Fe.
He has published twenty four books, including fiction, young adult fiction, biographies, and art criticism. His novel, Abingdon's, was a bestseller and a Literary Guild Alternate Selection. His young adult novel, Pursuit, was awarded the California Young Reader Medal.
The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder was released January 2013.
Mountains beyond Mountains was released April 2013.
Once Upon A Lie was published on March 15, 2016.
The Beginner's Guide to Winning an Election, a YA/crossover novel, published in 2019
"Ghost with Two Hearts"
Summary of Ghost With Two Hearts
Approaching 30, Adrian, a talented software engineer, takes stock of his wealth and accolades—and also how unhappy he is. He doesn’t make friends easily, boycotts social media, and was recently bloodied in a divorce he didn’t want. He finds no common purpose in a country marred by political vitriol, distrust, and inequality. Taking a leave of absence from his company, he travels to Japan with a samurai katana that his grandfather lifted from a Japanese captain killed in World War Two. Adrian is determined to find the sword’s rightful heir. Doing the morally correct thing make him feel better about himself.
He discovers Japanese society to be the antithesis of almost everything in the States. People honor authority, esteem education, follow laws and customs, and have a reverence for nature. Virtually crime-free, Japan has less than a dozen murders a year. In Shintoism, the galaxy of gods and demons are taken seriously. There are clean lines, sometimes absolute ones, between right and wrong, reward and punishment.
When Adrian visits his first Shinto temple in Kyoto, someone pickpockets his cell phone. By luck, he thinks, he finds it on an empty table in a café. He later realizes that his photos and messages have been tampered with. He rents a house on the Philosopher’s Path, which parallels a tranquil canal lined with gorgeous cherry trees. The landlord, a former Shinto priest, reveals that a special ghost called a “kami” lives in the attic. Her name is Emiko and she showed up five years ago, he says. All kami are invisible but reputed to have human capabilities and emotions. Adrian has already read about these highly-esteemed spirits of the dead, millions of them, but a few are actually evil and being punished for eternity. Emiko’s erratic, prank-playing behavior is a sign that she is one of the damned, the priest says with sorrow. He doesn’t know why she ended up in his house. Happy renters write reviews about a frustrated, angry, yet
essentially harmless ghost. They are entertained. The priest never lacks for future business. One night, Adrian hears footsteps outside his bedroom. On several occasions, the shower turns on and off. It’s like he has a housemate, he thinks, convinced he is imagining everything. When his grandfather’s sword vanishes from his bedroom, however, he panics. He’s already located its rightful owner—the Japanese captain’s 80-yer-old daughter. He has promised to deliver it to her promptly. He has to keep his word or lose face.
He scours the house for the katana, but stops short of going into the attic. On a whim he writes the ghost a note, politely asking if she knows where his sword is. He’s stunned to get a note back. Emiko admits to taking the katana, but it’s only to protect Adrian. She insists the captain’s daughter will pray to the gods to punish Adrian. His grandfather’s theft on the battlefield was a moral crime and someone has to do penance.
Who, and what kind of penance? he wonders. Adrian pleads and nags until Emiko reluctantly returns the sword.
In the attic, she writes in her diary that Adrian is a naïve Westerner, hopelessly ignorant about the spiritual world, and needs to find a “teacher.” Otherwise, he’ll be a lost soul forever. Unlike tenants she’s put up with in the past, she finds Adrian sincere and likable.
The captain’s daughter, once she has the sword, asks a powerful Shinto goddess, Inari, to destroy Adrian. The dark side of Japanese culture seems like a complicated game to Adrian, but when Emiko hints at her own sad story, he takes her seriously. On her behalf, Adrian begins praying to Inari, the same goddess who has been solicited to take revenge on him. In a large shrine, he prostrates himself in front of a stern-looking effigy, praying for Inari to reverse Emiko’s fate. Worshippers give him strange looks but he doesn’t care. He never fits in anywhere.
Emiko is filled with gratitude for Adrian’s support, as she, too, prays constantly to Inari. When he admits he has feelings for her, even if she’s a ghost, she hints he’s wasting his time. They can never be together, as she has her own destiny, though she won’t explain what it is. She urges Adrian to leave Japan immediately, in case Inari turns against him. Instead, he hangs around the house, wanting Emiko to teach him how to be a better person. Despite her bleak, tormented existence, the ghost’s strength and purpose inspire him.
Adrian hears ambiguous rumors about the priest’s past. At the same time, a new kami enters his life. The ghost of the Army captain lures him into a dark alley. Wielding the katana that Adrian had returned to his daughter, he attacks viciously, and would have killed Adrian but for a last-second intervention from Inari. Adrian becomes a true believer in Shinto gods because they ultimately do the right thing, both sparing an outsider like him and taking Emiko’s side. They finally see she is not an evil kami. The vengeful captain meets a bitter end.
Emiko disappears in the middle of the night, after leaving Adrian a good-bye letter. They should never see each other again because it’s too painful, she writes. Piecing together clues, he finds her at Japan’s most hallowed cemetery, under a full-moon, sitting by a small Jizo statue, the Buddhist god that protects children, including the unborn. Emiko finally reveals the priest invited her to live in his house when she was having trouble with her parents. He got her pregnant and forced her to have an abortion. In Japan, shame is a powerful motivator, as are right and wrong. Having brought dishonor on her parents, Emiko hanged herself.
Redeemed by Inari, she can now join the spirit of her unborn child.
Their good-bye in the cemetery is awkward, and overwhelming to Adrian. The rare and tender relationship he cultivated is about to turn into a teasing memory. I love you, always, he whisper to the ghost, after she vanishes into a star-glazed sky. He becomes furious with the priest as he returns to the house. It’s surrounded by police. The priest has hanged himself in the attic.
Adrian returns to the States, quits his job, and takes an apartment in a new city. He aimlessly plies the streets, searching for a new future. While reading on a park bench, an attractive young woman sits beside him. The stranger hints she knows Adrian well. Nervous, hopeful, he asks if she is Emiko in some incarnated form. The woman denies it, but admits she was sent here by Emiko. She challenges Adrian to figure out who she is. If he does, she promises to make room for him in her busy schedule. He knows what’s at stake, but before he can say anything, she disappears on him.
The next day, he finds her crossing the street. He’s overjoyed with this stroke of fate. “Teacher,” he shouts out. “I’m here.”
Also by Michael R. French….
Club Caribe (1977)
Texas Bred (1986)
Family Money (1990)
The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder (2013)
Once Upon a Lie (2016)
Ghost With Two Hearts (2022)
Young adult fiction:
The Throwing Season (1980)
Lifeguards Only Beyond This Point (1984)
Soldier Boy (1985)
Us Against Them (1987)
Circle of Revenge (1988)
Split Image (1990)
Young adult adaptations:
Basher Fifty-Two, with Scott O’Grady (1997)
Born To Fly, with Shane Osborn (2000)
Flags of Our Fathers, with James Brady (2001)
Lang Lang: Playing with Flying Keys (2008)
Mountains Beyond Mountains, with Tracy Kidder (2013)
Children’s book adaptations:
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Speaking for Ourselves Too (1990)
The Art of Frank Howell (1997)
Why Men Fall Out of Love (2007)
The House on Linden Way.
While passing through her hometown a decade after she left, Amber Blake impulsively revisits her old house on Linden Way. She only means to stay a moment, to show her three-year-old daughter Bee the place where she grew up. But when the kindly new owners invite them inside, Amber cannot resist.
Soon Bee is missing, the owners have disappeared, and Amber finds herself in a houseful of ghosts. Time takes on new meaning as she loses herself in living memories and a past that does not wish to be forgotten.
As Amber fights the powerful lure of a childhood she’d long left behind, her tenuous hold on the real world slips further from her grasp. Is it merely nostalgia she’s battling, or something far more menacing? Who haunts the house on Linden Way, and where are they hiding her child?
Categories: horror, gothic suspense, haunted house, ghost story, magical realism, thriller
Elizabeth Maria Naranjo is the award-winning author of The Fourth Wall (WiDo Publishing, 2014). Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have been published in Brevity Magazine, Superstition Review, Fractured Lit, The Portland Review, Hunger Mountain, Hospital Drive, Reservoir Road, Literary Mama, Motherwell, and a few other places. Her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best American Essay, and Best of the Net. All links to Elizabeth's work can be found on her website at elizabethmarianaranjo.com.
TO SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING BOOK BLOG TOUR, PLEASE COMPLETE THE GOOGLE FORM BELOW AND YOU WILL BE CONTACTED SOON WITH THE TOUR DETAILS AND WILL BE PROVIDED YOUR COPY OF THE BOOK.