While I was introduced to Rose as one of the ghost aunts to the Price family in the InCryptid series, based on the introduction and afterword of this collection, Seanan McGuire has been writing about Rose Marshall, a hitchhiker ghost, for much longer, and only later decided to include her in as part of the extended family. Rose slipped into InCryptid so seamlessly that I didn’t even realize until reading this that she wasn’t added until later since her and Mary aren’t exactly friendly initially.
Per the explanation, McGuire had actually written a dozen stories for a monthly magazine, though this collection includes a few extra. This becomes especially clear since some of the stories tend to repeat themselves in explaining Rose’s background/limitations (in the same way Indexing, which was released as a serial, repeated character descriptions at the beginning of many of its chapters). While at first, it seems like it will simply be a collection of some of Rose’s adventures, the stories build on each other eventually, with characters making repeat appearances, and referring to past events. This collection explains much more about the ghostly world of McGuire’s universe but still leaves room for mystery because even after 50 years, Rose doesn’t know everything.
While Rose finds enjoyment and pleasure in her existence, she also has a bit more of a purpose. Rose died in a car accident but it wasn’t simply a matter of her losing control while speeding – she was run off the road by a man that made a deal at the Crossroads (read much more about those in This Ain’t Witchcraft). While he may not appear in every story, he is a looming, dark presence and though Rose can’t always stop accidents from happening and killing people, she can at least try to help make the victims’ transitions easier and prevent their ghosts from being taken by Bobby Cross.
While I enjoyed this, don’t read this if you are only hoping for more interaction with the Price family. While there is a foreword by the Price parents who have collected ghost stories, this is very much independent, even if characters from these stories appear in the novels (Mary and Bethany, for example). I did like the further elaboration on some of the other parts of this universe since the Prices are mostly focused on live beings with a few exceptions.