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The Phantom Lover by Ruby M. Ayres

Published 1921

After his dinner plans are canceled, Mickey Mellowes a rich man about town, is spending his New Year’s feeling sorry for himself and sick of everything, when he hears a woman crying outside. He ends up taking the woman, Esther, to dinner, where he is struck by her beautiful and her heartbreak. He asks impulsively asks if they can be friends. When he goes back to his apartments, he finds his friend Raymond Ashton, who asks him to deliver a break up letter to the woman he had been seeing, since his mother threatened to cut him off if they married. Mickey reads the cruel, flippant letter, shocked to see that the name on the envelope is the name Esther! He writes Esther another, kinder, loving letter, assuring her he’ll be with her again someday, and sends it under Raymond’s name…

Meanwhile, Esther moves into a new boarding house where she meets the fabulous, impulsively friendly June Mason, who was thrown over by her family over her scheme to make and sell her own line of face creams. Mickey, who happens to be an ex-flame and current friend of June, continues to court Esther’s friendship, and write her letters ‘from’ Raymond, all the while falling in love with her himself. Esther devours his letters, ignoring June’s teasing about her ‘phantom lover’. Raymond Ashton proves himself a bigger asshole than anyone guessed, Mickey admits he wrote the letters, Esther realizes she loves him, and June falls head over heels for an American Investor.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even the parts of the heroine that annoyed me also annoyed the other characters too, which made up for them a bit. I adored the character of June as well. This was a very quick read and pretty compulsively readable.


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