by Elizabeth Lowell

June 2000
ISBN: 0-380-97405-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

I'll say right off the back that Elizabeth Lowell has been one of my favorite authors for quite some time. Starting with her Only series, I have read almost every book she's written as Elizabeth Lowell and I'm slowly but surely acquiring all the others she's written under various pen names, Ann Maxwell, A. E. Maxwell, etc. With the exception of my all time favorite book, Time Shadow Rider, it has always been her series that I've enjoyed the most. And her Donovan series is no exception.

Midnight In Ruby Bayou is the fourth book in this series - and in my opinion the best so far. Faith Donovan is a jewelry designer, which comes as no surprise to anyone who has read the other books in the series because, as it has been mentioned in the previous books, gems play a big part in the Donovan family. Faith, having failed at love once, is not about to enter into another

relationship with any man, much less one who wants to dominate her. It's an often-used plot in romance novels - once burned woman becomes leery of relationships and becomes super independent. Midnight In Ruby Bayou manages to portray Faith as a woman who understands the difference between independence and idiocy. She's able to laugh at herself and she doesn't shy away from her emotions - at least, not to the point of stupidity.

And that is what I love about this book. After reading so many others where the heroine tries so hard not to rely on a man that she ends up hurting herself and those around her, this book was a breath of fresh air. Faith is a heroine I could stand behind. Completely. Her occasional mistakes made the book real whereas a perfect heroine would have ruined a perfectly good story.

Our hero, Owen Walker is a woman's dream. Smart, sexy, protective and slightly imperfect. An employee and close friend of Archer, Faith's brother, Walker has feelings for Faith, but doesn't believe that it's wise to act on it. Fortunately, they're thrown into each otherís constant company when Faith becomes the target of an international hit man. He believes she has something he's looking for and he's willing to kill her, and others, to get it back.

After introducing us to the characters, the book picks up speed and things start to happen pretty quickly. What could have become a very confusing story line with mobsters and Russian henchmen, as well as a few quirky characters and tales of a ghost, was surprisingly easy to follow. And amidst all of that, we have the pleasure of watching two characters, so obviously meant for each other, fall in love. I closed this book thoroughly satisfied with the ending. And I eagerly await the next installment of the Donovan tales.

Reviewed in March 2002 by JaToya.

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