IncorporealBy Julia Rachel Barrett

Self Published
Publication Date: August 1, 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Author

Sara Wise is sick of ghosts. They’ve haunted her since she was a child, destroying her family, endangering her life. When an incorporeal being appears in her shower, she curses him soundly and orders him out, but this ghost is sticky. Not only does he invade her shower, he moves into her home, invading her dreams, sharing her bed. The reluctant Sara finds herself falling in love with a dead man.

Despite Sara’s objections, Natan de Manua isn’t permitted to leave. Protecting the woman is both his penance and his means to redemption. She’s not easy to protect, she fights him nearly every step of the way, except in her bed. Nathan may have come to regain his soul, but instead he risks losing his heart.

Goodreads Summary

Sara Wise has spent her life in the company of unseen ghosts. The voices usually want her to carry some last message – she’s learned the hard way to promise but not deliver – and then they go away. For two months now though, she’s had an incorporeal visitor that can’t or won’t leave. Instead of asking her to give some, “I’m in a better place,” or “the second will is under the doormat,” message to a surviving loved one, he’s been hanging around chatting during the day and at night stealing into her dreams and making passionate love to her.

Natan de Manua – Nathan – is seeking redemption for something he thinks he did more than five hundred years earlier. He’d been suffering in tormented limbo until he was offered the chance to watch over Sara although he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do or when. He always assumed he’d stay incorporeal but the more he’s with Sara, touching her in her dreams and being part of her life, the stronger he becomes until he’s able to assume a solid form again. The happiness that he and Sara find with each other feels fragile though because both know that if he’s been allowed to become corporeal, chances are it’s because the danger he’s been sent to protect her from is near and when his job is done, he’ll be gone.

While this is obviously a contemporary romance, it has a love-through-the-ages theme that reminded me of some of the romance novels that got me obsessed with the genre when I was a lot younger. There are almost two stories book-ending a tragedy – Sara and Nathan’s sweet, passionate and happy romance and the event that led him to her then the aftermath.  There’s a paranormal suspense story throughout majority of the book, enough to keep the lovers on edge and just enough to add some darkness to the story.

For a hero with no body for the first several chapters of the book, Nathan is a pretty sexy hero. It didn’t hurt that he sort of had a body in Sara’s dream or that he could sneak up on her and growl in her ear. He was sort of charmingly confused about why he couldn’t leave and wanting to stick around and see Sara naked. When he knew what he was sent to do, he definitely turned swoon-worthy. The tissues came out as soon as he made his decision about protecting her.

Just because Sara can hear ghosts didn’t make this a super paranormal story. She generally was a normal person (well, aside from the awesome ghost sex) and it kept the focus of the story really on the relationship. Sara struck me first and foremost as someone I’d love to have as a best friend. She was steady, thoughtful and cared deeply about those she let into her life. She seemed joyous in her relationship with Nathan, then later, fierce and determined to find him. She was absolutely best friend material.

There was an interesting little segment in the story away from Nathan and Sara’s romance that was a combination of a wink-wink and maybe a little side-eye at the business of romance publishing. As a reader, I have zero idea about what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to getting something published, but the thrust of the scene is that in some eyes, it’s best that authors find a genre, develop a brand and not vary from it or they won’t find an audience (or get published). There’s a lot more in the section, but I think there’s probably more than a little truth about the branding issue, since rather than using their own names when they switch genres to write, many authors use pen names. The entire passage is handled with some humor and exasperation and gave me an appreciation for what I’m assuming is some of the minutia authors go through.

My Summary: One of the things I love best about reading Julia’s books is that when I finish I always feel like she’s given me an honest piece of herself in the story somewhere, whether it’s an experience, an opinion or an emotion and it makes me feel more connected to the story. I was with Nathan and Sara from the beginning, hoping that they’d find a way to be together, despairing right along with them when it looked like hope was lost. I had a soggy handful of tissues by the last few chapters and even though I knew a happily ever after had to come for Sara, the one that was delivered was especially right, especially sweet and impossibly romantic.

My Rating: A-




  1. Thank you so much for the amazing review! I appreciate that you got Sara and Nathan's love. Neither of them understand their circumstances, but they fall in love anyway.

  2. Hi Julia! Thank you for the wonderful read. Obviously I loved it – I've read it twice so far and enjoyed it both times. Well, except for the drippy nose parts. 🙂

  3. There's something to be said about a couple that falls in love despite the situation. Although, this would be one of those books that I wouldn't be able to resist skipping to the end. I need my happily ever afters!

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