Gour Ghost Passage is a story of boy meets girl, boy is swallowed by sinkhole, girl tries to rescue boy only to realize that boy was alive all along, boy goes after girl, and the two wind up together in purgatory.

There’s a lot more to Margot Suzanne Weyandt’s debut novel than that, but these are the story beats that get the reader to the titular “gour ghost passage.” When Sam and Finn arrive in purgatory, they quickly discover that through entering a cave they can briefly spend time, as spirits, in the material world.

This allows them to communicate with their loved ones, but it has its downsides as well: a love triangle quickly emerges between Sam, Finn, and Sam’s identical twin sister, Em. Finn is attracted to Em, but is only able to be intimate with her as a spirit moving between purgatory and Earth.

Things get even more complicated when a train bomb sends Em and her husband to purgatory as well, where things quickly get awkward. The group tries to figure out where exactly they are – “It could be a region between life and death,” Em’s husband theorizes – but there’s no easy explanation for why one of the twins Em gives birth to bears Finn’s features.

Em’s husband has his own affair in the gour ghost passage, sharing a moment as a spirit with his brother’s girlfriend, and ultimately, the only member of the foursome who holds true to her marital vows is Sam.

Perhaps that is why, at the very end, something, or someone, comes to take Sam away from purgatory. Where is it taking her? To learn that, you’ll have to read the sequel, My Shield and Portion Be. Weyandt is currently working on the third book in the trilogy, titled And Grace Will Lead Me Home.

It’s hard to tell what’s next for Sam, Finn, and Em, since Weyandt skillfully keeps the reader guessing at every turn, never afraid to subvert expectations or even flip the novel’s genre on its head.

Unlike in some Christian novels, the faith aspect is thematically important to the story, but never feels preachy or condescending. Christian and secular readers alike will be able to relate to the trials that Sam and Finn face in order to survive as a couple and as people who are regularly accosted by wild animals – at one point the two fight a panther.

The most significant theme in the novel is definitely family, and although parallels can be drawn between the gour ghost passage and the Garden of Eden, the community that Sam and Finn create in purgatory more closely recalls a home shared by a family.

Readers looking for a complex examination of mortality, fidelity, and what it means to be given a second chance – and to take it – will enjoy this novel. It’s a novel about doing the right thing, and how hard it can sometimes be to know just what the right thing is.

Gour Ghost Passage is now available for purchase.

About Margot Suzanne Weyandt

Margot Suzanne Weyandt holds a bachelor’s degree in education and language arts from SWMN State University. She taught elementary students who had special learning and behavior problems on Leech Lake Indian Reservation, MN. Margot received an MSSW degree from the U of TX, Arlington, and became a LMSW, specializing in biofeedback, marriage and family counseling, and counseling abused women and children. As a health psychology therapist for Harris Ft. Worth Methodist Hospital, Margot created an addiction education program and designed pre-surgery relaxation patient protocol. Using biofeedback and classic therapy, she treated chronic pain patients.

Playing guitar and singing at Spooner area open mic, fishing, boating, water coloring, rock collecting, hiking in the woods, baking, writing poetry, and watching nature perform on the Namekagon River are favorite pastimes. Margot has three younger brothers. If counting her husband of 45 years, she has three sons.