The best romantic ghost stories

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a fan of all things spooky! I especially love ghost stories, which is probably abundantly clear from my own novels. I’ve been known to frequent old graveyards, seek out haunted places, and sneak into abandoned buildings for inspiration—and the adrenaline rush! This fascination started when I was a young girl and my dad brought me a YA ghost mystery home from the library—every week, he would have the librarian help him pick out books for me, and I would devour the stack immediately, then re-read until the next library day! My favorite ghost stories have a mix similar to what I write—a tension-filled romance combined with a spooky, suspenseful haunting. 

I wrote...

Ghost Moon

By Kathryn Knight,

Book cover of Ghost Moon

What is my book about?

When Lark inherits an old home, she finds new love...but her arrival awakens a decades-old mystery. Will she survive the haunting of Holloway House? 

“The perfect blend of the paranormal, the mysterious, and romance…an incredible read.” - Tome Tender Book Reviews

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Madeleine's Ghost

Kathryn Knight Why did I love this book?

I read this book almost 30 years ago, but it’s still one of my all-time favorites—an enthralling blend of romance, history, and paranormal suspense.

For me, this book checks all the boxes: a mysterious haunting, intriguing history, fascinating settings, and star-crossed former lovers who come back into each other’s lives. Madeleine’s Ghost shifts between the past and the present, revealing secrets and layers to the story along the way.

The characters came to life for me, and I relished traveling with them between New York City’s colorful East Village and the sultry bayous and boisterous streets of New Orleans. 

By Robert Girardi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Madeleine's Ghost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brooklyn needs a saint. Ned Conti needs a stipend. So the struggling young historian agrees to trace the mysterious past of a Brooklyn nun for evidence of miracles. Trapped in a neighborhood of cheap rents and failed promise, in a rent-controlled apartment suddenly, inexplicably seized by a beautiful and angry ghost, Ned's only refuge is the F train to Manhattan's East Village bars, where he and his friends drown their sorrows in drink....

But Ned is about to heed another call, the siren song of New Orleans, where the history of countless lost souls seems to rise from the steaming…

Book cover of Midnight Bayou

Kathryn Knight Why did I love this book?

As the name implies, Midnight Bayou is another romantic ghost story set in New Orleans—a place I’ve now been fortunate enough to visit!

Sometimes called the “City of the Dead”, NOLA makes a perfect location for this haunting mystery. I literally could not put this book down, despite having young children when I read it! Once again, the past and present intertwine as a sassy Cajun heroine and a hunky carpenter unravel the dark secrets of Manet Hall in a passionate journey.  

By Nora Roberts,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Midnight Bayou as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever since Declan Fitzgerald saw dilapidated Manet Hall, on the outskirts of New Orleans, he's been enchanted - and obsessed - by it. Determined to restore the rooms to their former splendour, Declan begins the daunting renovation. But spending his days in total isolation in the empty house is taking its toll. Local legend has it that the house is haunted, and Declan starts seeing visions of terrible grief and horror from long ago. With every day that passes, the house tightens its hold.

So when he meets the alluring Angelina Simone, he's glad of the distraction. But Angelina has…

Book cover of Jane-Emily: And Witches' Children

Kathryn Knight Why did I love this book?

Jane-Emily is a YA classic, both a sweet romance and a spooky ghost mystery, set in the early 1900s. 

It’s also the book I described in my introduction as the one that made me fall in love with this genre! I first read it when I was about ten, and I immediately recommended it to my best friend, who was also an avid reader. To this day, we are both still scared of those mirrored gazing balls people display in gardens.

When my own children were young, I bought an old paperback on eBay and read it to them, savoring the story that I’ve re-read so many times once again. Even after all these years, Emily’s ghost still delivers chills as she unleashes her wrath on the innocent nine-year-old Jane, and the romance developing between Jane’s young aunt and an old friend of the family plays a part.

One exciting new discovery for me was this novel’s setting: Lynn, Massachusetts. I grew up in Maryland, but now I live in MA, and my two sisters-in-law both live in historic homes in Lynn!

By Patricia Clapp,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jane-Emily as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Emily was a selfish, willful, hateful child who died before her thirteenth birthday. But that was a long time ago.

Jane is nine years old and an orphan when she and her young Aunt Louisa come to spend the summer at Jane's grandmother's house, a large, mysterious mansion in Massachusetts. Then one day . . . Jane stares into a reflecting ball in the garden—and the face that looks back at her is not her own.

Many years earlier, a child of rage and malevolence lived in this place. And she never left. Now Emily has dark plans for little…

Book cover of Bag of Bones

Kathryn Knight Why did I love this book?

As with most King novels, this book is more horror than romance. But the haunting at the main character’s house on Dark Score Lake sent shivers up my spine in a way not many novels have. 

The premise of the ghost mystery has a thrilling twist, and without giving away spoilers, it inspired me to create barriers to communication between the living and the dead in my own novels. After all, it doesn’t make much sense for a spirit to just simply drop hints until the mystery is solved.

If there were that easy, any fictional (or real!) ghost could simply convey what it needs or wants with no struggle. A loophole like this that I noticed in a scary movie actually sparked the idea for my first novel. In the movie, the haunting presence could write out cryptic clues…which led me to wonder why it didn’t just write out what it wanted to say—where its body was hidden.

A forbidden romance and secrets from the past are woven into this epic tale that made me want to sleep with the lights on!

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Bag of Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Mike Noonan's wife dies unexpectedly, the bestselling author suffers from writer's block. Until he is drawn to his summer home, the beautiful lakeside retreat called Sara Laughs.

Here Mike finds the once familiar town in the tyrannical grip of millionaire Max Devore. Devore is hell-bent on getting custody of his deceased son's daughter and is twisting the fabric of the community to this purpose.

Three year old Kyra and her young mother turn to Mike for help. And Mike finds them increasingly irresistible.

But there are other more sinister forces at Sara Laughs - and Kyra can feel them…

Book cover of Revolution

Kathryn Knight Why did I love this book?

I fell in love with Jennifer Donelly’s writing when I discovered her historical romance trilogy The Tea Rose, and then devoured her YA novel A Northern Light. So when I found out she had published a YA book with history, young love, and a ghost mystery, I was all in!

In this story, the past and the present are once again woven together, adding fascinating and horrific details of the French Revolution as the main character navigates her new and strange life in Paris. The Catacombs beneath the city play a role in the plot, and it was this setting that made me determined to visit this creepy location myself one day—which I did!

The labyrinth of man-made tunnels wind their way into an underground maze that is filled with the relocated human bones of over 6 million bodies, which line the walls in macabre designs. Exploring the “Land of the Dead” is eerie and intriguing, much like this novel. And for the history and photos of the Catacombs of Paris, search my blog for the post I wrote about my visit there! 

By Jennifer Donnelly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14.

What is this book about?

Readers of If I Stay and Elizabeth George will love Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light. Revolution artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love; it spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’…

You might also like...

Transforming Pandora

By Carolyn Mathews,

Book cover of Transforming Pandora

Carolyn Mathews Author Of Transforming Pandora

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Creator Meditator Messenger Shopaholic

Carolyn's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Transforming Pandora, women's fiction with a metaphysical undercurrent, is written with humour and a light touch. As the plot slips between two time frames, separated by more than thirty years, the reader explores her life and loves: her ups and downs.

In the opening chapter, Pandora is attempting to come to terms with her husband's death. At a friend's suggestion, she reluctantly attends an evening of clairvoyance, after which her life is transformed by a mysterious spirit who sets her on a new path.

Her romantic life is reignited when she encounters a new man, but complicated by the appearance of a significant figure from her past. At the same time her spiritual life is presented with a challenge when she's offered the chance of enlightenment via a heavenly correspondence course. Her quest in life to find her true purpose is within her reach. Will she grasp this opportunity? Or will she choose love over light?

Transforming Pandora

By Carolyn Mathews,

What is this book about?

Pandora, 51, childless, and still beautiful, is attempting to come to terms with her husband's death. Having a history of being drawn to the esoteric, yet remaining a healthy sceptic, she reluctantly attends an evening of clairvoyance and raises a spirit who sets her on a new path...

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in ghost story, New Orleans, and screenplays?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about ghost story, New Orleans, and screenplays.

Ghost Story Explore 157 books about ghost story
New Orleans Explore 130 books about New Orleans
Screenplays Explore 24 books about screenplays