Andrew Sharpai is a drifter without solid roots. He goes from town to town and relationship to relationship. While working as a cook in Las Vegas, Andrew becomes enraptured with a beautiful dancer named LaRae DuFont. During their first meeting Andrew tells LaRae of his many failed relationships. Thinking he lost LaRae with his morbid tales, she instead tells Andrew a story that will have a profound impact on the rest of his life. A bible story of how Mary Magdalene once mistook Jesus for a gardener. Andrew isn't sure what to make of it, but the overwhelming theme is that not everything is what it seems.
Andrew and LaRae fall in love and plan to marry, but a tragic twist of fate separates the happy couple. Andrew once again picks up what little roots he has, and settles in a small town in Idaho. He drowns himself in alcohol to numb the pain. Before long he is smitten with the mysterious Iris Winkle and her daughter, Lily. Iris is scarred both physically and emotionally. She is known around town as the local witch. It turns out that Iris is a Wiccan witch, but that doesn't deter Andrew. He tries not to be scared off by the spells, animals and freaky artwork. A raven named Elijah Corbeau watches over Iris and Lily from his perch on a tree outside their home. Elijah is also a scene-stealer. Many times Andrew, Lily and Iris are talking to Elijah as if he were a real person. While I don't believe a bird would ever talk back, it is funny to read the interactions between the bird and the characters. Elijah's squawks have the same impact as words.
As Andrew and Iris work to forge a life together, Iris' ex-husband Devon, also a witch, threatens to destroy their happiness. Andrew becomes sick, Lily starts to have bad dreams and spirits start appearing. Is it Devon casting a spell on their relationship or is Andrew still haunted by LaRae? All the while, Andrew continues to use alcohol to mask the pain and confusion of his life.
Iris goes through fits of madness trying to figure out what the right path is. She even resorts to wearing a variety of masks to hide herself from the world. Those passages do provide a bit of comic relief, but at the heart of the issue is where does she fit in the world. Is it in witchcraft? Or should she return to her childhood roots in the church? Throughout the novel, I began to root for this couple. Both of them are trying to rebuild their lives, but how can you do that if there are obstacles in the way? Everyone can identify with that regardless of your personal beliefs. Towards the end The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai got to be a little preachy to me. Throughout most of the book, Iris and Andrew are embracing a different way of life, but by the ending I felt the novel was suggesting being different isn't the way go. I'm not saying go embrace Wicca or any other belief system, but there's nothing wrong with being different.
Rating: Give it a try
Notes: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I am still hosting a giveaway for the Souls of the Fire Dragon (http://asiturnthepages.blogspot.com/2010/05/book-giveaway.html)