Toots, a writer of sexy romance novels, and Max, both in their sixties, enjoy a weekend “cruise” on the Queen Mary, a ship docked for forty years in Long Beach, California and thought to be haunted. At dinner in Sir Winston's Restaurant, the couple experience a ghost sighting of their own. It's the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who offer them a guided tour of the ship. The following day, as Toots and Max drive home to San Diego they're unaware the Duke and Duchess are riding along in the back seat. Back home, Toots and Max turn their attention to immediate problems: how to make the many needed repairs to their seventy-year-old mansion when they’re broke; their nine-year-old grandson arriving with his parrot for an extended stay; their pregnant daughter coming back home, miserable because the baby's father won’t marry her; and Toots getting an email message from a past lover who wants to come back into her life.
Review by Jack Magnus, for Readers' Favorites
Ghosts of the Queen Mary is a humorous novel about Toots and her husband Max, who are having a romantic weekend aboard the historic, and supposedly haunted, Queen Mary, which was transformed into a floating hotel after its last voyage. The two of them enjoy dressing up in period clothes. The Queen Mary seemed the perfect venue for them. At dinner, they notice a couple dining in the corner of the room who strongly resemble the portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor hanging in the ship's hallway. Gathering up more than a little courage, Max and Toots introduce themselves and accept the royal couple's invitation to meet the next morning for a guided tour of the ship.
Karen Truesdell Riehl's novel is entertaining and witty. Toots and Max have what seems to be a perfect relationship, based on amazing compatibility and Toots' need to try out lovemaking positions for the steamy romances she writes. Their insular world is shattered, first by their spectral uninvited guests, then their sullen grandson, then their jilted pregnant daughter. It's more than amusing to see how they respond. Riehl's story is well-plotted, her writing style breezy and casual. Ghosts of the Queen Mary is a lot of fun to read; it's also hard to put down. I found myself enjoying a long afternoon reading the heartwarming book, reminded of the madcap movies of the '40s and the old television series Topper, which is not at all a bad thing. Ghosts of the Queen Mary comes highly recommended.