In Sylvia McDaniel’s second installment of The Cuvier Widows, The Price of Moonlight, Nicole Rousseau travels to New Orleans from her plantation to surprise her husband with the news of her pregnancy. However, instead of finding an overjoyed husband she discovers that he is not only dead, but also that he leaves behind not just one but three widows.
As his second wife she is left only with carrying his child and the deed to their plantation. No money and no name for her and her unborn child. An illegitimate child herself, she refuses to leave her child to the same fate and sets out to find a man to marry her and to give them his name.
Maxim Viel enters the picture. He wants to buy her plantation, a plantation that once was owned by his family. It’s his obligation and he’d do anything to carry it out. So when Nicole refuses his lawyers’ offers, and she proposes marriage – believing him to be a drifter – he accepts.
Not only is The Price of Moonlight riddled with clichés, it’s predictable and it was a writing voice I struggled with. A few times the author’s choice of words (“pebbled kernel of her nipple”?) had me in fits of laughter, sadly not intentional. It’s not really a bad story but for the way it’s put together - its half-formed characters, the clichés piling up and the irritating style, it’s not an experience I’d want to repeat.
Just look at the heroine - most of the time she is sick, fainting or in tears. And the hero is lying, lying, lying. Their attraction I get told about but there isn’t a moment I can feel or see it. Not one surprising turn in the story and all the complications die a swift death. The author is not taking any risks and for that she loses the rest of my interest.
Still, it is easy and quick to read – and no, I didn’t skip any passages – and there are books out there that I liked even less.