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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
In Fred & Mary by Kipjo Ewers, love, loss, and grief are transformed into an enticing paranormal romance that is as moving as it is emotionally captivating. His wife was killed in front of him and since then, he has been plunged into a kind of pain and restlessness that nothing seems to assuage. Mary had been the closest thing to Fred, and now that she’s gone, the void left in his heart is unbearable. Which is why he orders a life-size, customized doll to keep him company at night. This seems to take away some of his grief, except he notices that strange things are actually happening whenever he wakes up. While Fred questions his sanity, he can’t help wondering if his wife has come back. It’s interesting to find out.
The narrative is gripping and grimly realistic, even though it is riddled with elements of the paranormal. Fred is a compelling character, but one eaten up by grief, longing to reconnect with a reality that has completely left him. From the beginning of the narrative, we encounter someone who is unnecessarily agitated, someone who used to take control, but now is uncertain. The plot is well done, but it is the exploration of the psyche of the protagonist that gives depth and strength to the narrative. Fred & Mary is a story that eloquently depicts how loss and grief can drive a man to the edge of insanity. But, curiously, Kipjo Ewers succeeds in making it real, using suspense and a strong storytelling style to hold the attention of the reader throughout the narrative. It’s an engaging read.