Mass Market Paperback, 338 pages
Published November 26th 2002 by Jove
The phenomenal #1 New York Times-bestselling author presents a novel set deep in the bayou of Louisiana-where the only witness to a long-ago tragedy is a once-grand house.
Declan Fitzgerald had always been the family maverick, but even he couldn't understand his impulse to buy a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans. All he knew was that ever since he first saw Manet Hall, he'd been enchanted-and obsessed-with it. So when the opportunity to buy the house comes up, Declan jumps at the chance to live out a dream.
Determined to restore Manet Hall to its former splendor, Declan begins the daunting renovation room by room, relying on his own labor and skills. But the days spent in total isolation in the empty house take a toll. He is seeing visions of days from a century past, and experiencing sensations of terror and nearly unbearable grief-sensations not his own, but those of a stranger. Local legend has it that the house is haunted, and with every passing day Declan's belief in the ghostly presence grows.
Only the companionship of alluring Angelina Simone can distract him from the mysterious happenings in the house, but Angelina too has her own surprising connection to Manet Hall-a connection that will help Declan uncover a secret that's been buried for a hundred years.
I have to be honest. The summary does not do this book justice. I probably would not have picked this up if it wasn’t by Nora Roberts. (I love her romantic suspense books.) I’m glad I didn’t read the back before buying it. This book was quite good and fell neatly in with Roberts’ books.
I had no real complaints. You do have to get used to the way this book is written though. It changes point of views, which I love, but it does it kind of without warning. Most of the books I have read have a page break or they even start a new chapter before switching views. This book does it within each chapter, even during the same “scene” it will change a few different times. It just starts a new paragraph. I liked it but it took a chapter or two to get used to it.
I really enjoyed the flashbacks/time jumping the book did. It sort of broke up the story, but in a good way. I usually don’t read sappy romance novels and this book was almost there, however the backstory and the way the “ghostly presence” was played through gave the story more of an edge.
I felt the ending was a little rushed. It seemed the final lets-piece-this-last-part-together was done too quickly. There was a scene toward the end that was a little awkward to read after you find out one piece of info about Declan and his visions, but that might just be me. I don’t want to give anything away so that’s all I’ll say about that. I do feel the ending could have been written a little differently.
As for the main characters, I felt that Declan was a little on the cheesy side when it came to how he flirted with Angelina, other than that he was fine. I loved how he acted with her Grandmother and his best friend’s wife.
Angelina was a strong character so I really liked her.
Overall I really liked the story and I will probably read it again.
*Just a little FYI, I hate mass market paperbacks… :-P