by Jude Deveraux
Published by Ballantine Books
Genre: romance; chick lit
Thanks to edelweiss for the preview
4 / 5
This is the first Jude Deveraux book I've read. I know, right? She's über-popular, writes oodles of books, yet I hadn't read one prior to this. Am I sold on her? Welllllllll ....
Alix Madsen is fresh out of school for architecture when she is bequeathed a most unusual demand after a family friend passes away: go live in the woman's home for one year. That's about the total of what Alix is told. She is not informed that the house is haunted by a ghost who wants her to get to the bottom of a family mystery, nor is she told that the ghost only appears (supposedly) to women in the family or that her mother used to spend a month every summer in the home (she claimed to be in a Colorado cabin) or that her father mentored renowned hot architect Jared Montgomery Kingsley, a man Alix professionally idolizes.
On the surface, this is a mystery. Several, in fact. There is the task Alix unknowingly has: what happened to Valentina, the ghost's true love? Then there are other mysteries. What is Adelaide Kingsley's relationship with Alix's family? Why can Alix see this ghost? And what's going on with that ghost anyway?
The story lines will grab you. Alix is a likable character, a girl with a good amount of spunk but not so perfect that she turns you off. We can see why Jared, Mr. Commitment Phobe, is drawn to her. And we certainly can see why she likes him. He's enough to make you want to commission a design, just so you can meet him. They are drawn to each other, but wary. Does she like him because of Jared the Architect or because of Jared the Man?
This is the first in Deveraux's Nantucket Brides trilogy, and you do meet the other two future brides. The whole lot of people in this book are quirky in that New Englander way that is so typical in novels (see: Higgins, Kristan), but you will find yourself wanting to move there and be their friend. Deveraux packs this book with a LOT of characters - some predictable and way too familiar; others fresh and intriguing - and to her credit, you feel as if you get to know them. Yes, we have some questions, particularly about Alix's mother (what's up with that little activity that caused the demise of her marriage, for instance), and you get the feeling that the book could have ended about fifty pages sooner. But it's fun. And sometimes fun is exactly what you're in the mood to read.
Alix and Jared's romance is not explicit or overly detailed. We get a few somewhat tame peeks into the bedroom, and those scenes are nicely detailed and written. I know there are readers out there who do not prefer the hot headboard rocking of Tiffany Reisz or Sylvia Day (or you, Christian Grey), and for them, Jude Deveraux offers a solid alternative.
I look forward to getting to know the other Nantucket brides, and I hope that I get to see more of Jared along the way.