by Nora Roberts

December 2002
ISBN: 0-515-13397-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

Declan Fitzgerald felt an irresistible pull towards the old New Orleans mansion when he first saw it over ten years ago. When a friend told him it was on the market, Dec had to buy it against everyone's advice, leaving Boston and his law practice to do so. The rundown mansion was a money pit, but he didn't care; when he walked in the front door of Manet Hall, he felt like he was coming home.

But when Dec starts hearing a baby crying in the middle of the night, wakes up in strange places and has an unexplainable fear of certain rooms in the house, he isn't so sure he's welcome in Manet Hall. Regardless, Declan isn't about to give up his dream of refurbishing the beautiful mansion and instead resolves to learn more about its history.

Besides the house, also keeping Dec in New Orleans is the beautiful Angelina Simone, who he isn't about to let get away. Lena has her own ties to Manet Hall and the two of them are soon embroiled in its tale of murder, love and passion.

If you love both historical and contemporary romances, Midnight Bayou will be a treat since it contains the best of both. The story of Manet Hall’s past is perfectly blended with the present love story between Dec and Lena. And I thoroughly enjoyed the surprising twist Ms. Robert's put on the characters (you'll have to read the book to learn more – I'm not giving anything away!).

When she was first introduced, I wasn't sure if I cared for Lena's character. She is very forward and has the tendency to speak about herself the third-person, which I find extremely annoying. However, because she is practically the antithesis of most romance heroines, being sexually experienced and more inclined to want a lover than a husband, I had to like her, if just for her uniqueness.

It was also very refreshing to have the hero as the main character in the novel, to follow his activities and to hear a man's viewpoint for the majority of the novel. Declan is a man any woman would love to call hers and is a interesting mix of contradictions – he loves antiques, shopping and beer, is an attorney but would rather do carpentry work and decorate his home. Furthermore, he isn't afraid to laugh at himself or admit when he's afraid. Add to that a buff bod and gorgeous face and wouldn't we all love to be in Lena's shoes?

Ms. Roberts' depiction of New Orleans was so enticing that it almost read like a travel brochure and served the purpose of persuading this reader to visit as soon as possible. The combination of throbbing music, spicy food and southern charm are so well described that I almost wouldn't mind a ghost or two coming along for the ride!

When one novel can make you shiver with fear, chuckle with genuine humor, shed a tear and be moved with passion, you know you've got a keeper. Midnight Bayou is just that!

Reviewed in December 2002 by Nicole.

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