"Intriguing with unique twists in the mystery of the house"
After breaking off his engagement to a woman he realizes he
doesn't love, Boston lawyer, Declan Fitzgerald, buys an old
home just outside New Orleans, gives up his law career, and
moves to Louisiana. He'd grown tired of the corporate
world, and after finding that he had a talent for
remodeling and an affinity for demanding manual labor,
Declan decides to fix up this house which called to him
when he first saw it while spending Mardi Gras with his law
school pal, Remi. The house is rumored to be haunted, and
from the moment he arrives, Declan hears noises and sees
visions of the house as it used to be one hundred years
ago. Without knowing how, he knows things about the
original owners. He discovers that a young woman was
murdered there and that her death was not avenged, and he
realizes that there are spirits in the house who want his
help and forces that want to drive him away.
While catching up with Remi one night, he meets Lena
Simone, the granddaughter of his nearest neighbor and a
distant relative of a woman who lived in his house years
ago. He is drawn to Lena immediately and quickly
determines that she is the woman he will marry. Lena on
the other hand is not so sure she agrees with this
arrangement. She has made a way for herself, working as a
waitress until she could purchase her own bar in the French
Quarter, and she does not want to give up her heart or her
Nora Roberts interweaves Declan and Lena's story with
flashes of what happened in the house all those years ago.
The eldest son of the house, Lucien, married a Cajun girl
from the bayou, and his mother and twin brother, Julian,
were willing to do whatever was necessary to see that this
former servant didn't inherit part of the family fortune.
I couldn't put this book down. The story line was
intriguing and just when I thought I had the mystery of the
house all figured out, Ms. Roberts threw in a unique
twist. The tension between Lena and Declan sizzles hotter
and hotter as their relationship deepens, and some of the
scenes between them will have readers fanning themselves.
Typically, I would not have picked up a book about a
haunted house, but as a fan of Nora Roberts, I wanted to
give this one a try, and I am glad I did. I think that it
would appeal to those who wouldn't normally read a
paranormal as well as fans of ghost stories.
Sarah Neal © Copyright January 2002
For PNR Romance
Reviewed by Sarah Neal
Posted January 24, 2002
2001 RITA Finalist
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.