Wednesday, September 4, 2013

TRUE LOVE by Jude Deveraux

Publisher: Ballantine
Date published:
July 9, 2013 ISBN: 978-0345541796
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal
Book format: Hardback
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina (3 hearts)

With architecture school behind her, Alix Madsen has the chance of a lifetime when her mother’s longtime friend, Adelaide (Addy) Kingsley, wills her home to Alix for a year. During that time Alix plans to complete her portfolio and prepare to look for the perfect job as an architect. Accompanying her to Nantucket is her friend Izzy. In addition to pulling her portfolio together Alix is to is the main of honor and has taken on the planning of Izzy’s wedding. When the two women arrive on Nantucket a bit earlier than planned they spot their long time architectural hero, Jared Montgomery.

Tall, good looking and so not into adoring students Jared planned to hie himself off Nantucket and be back in New York before the two students arrived. His plan goes awry, however, when they arrive early. But still, he manages to take off for a few days on his boat. On Nantucket no one locks up their home and Alix and Izzy, not ones to miss an opportunity, they wander into his home and check things out. There Alix sees the essence of what’s makes Jared the best of all architects. And it gives Alix an idea of just how she can gain employment with her idol.

But there are other forces at work in Nantucket. Forces that go beyond the secrets, plots and plans of Alexi’s mother Victoria and father Ken. Forces with more power than the Montgomery cousins who populate the town.

Jared’s grandfather seven times back, Caleb has looked out for his family since his death some two hundred years before. When Jared and Alix meet, not for the first time, but again, as adults, there is a spark between them they cannot ignore. Bit by bit Alix remembers a visit to Nantucket when she was four and a fourteen year old Jared gave her his Legos to build her own little houses.

But Alix’s memories are so much more than that long ago visit. How can she remember a favorite tea pot or where a special dish is hidden? What draws her to places on the island like she has lived her life there? Are the forces at play and parents plans to keep the two apart, or will they lead to their one true love?

There are myriad layers to Jude Deveraux’s TRUE LOVE that a simple synopsis cannot cover. It is one of those books that has, for the most part, something for everyone. If you are looking for romance there are several in process and potentially evolving. There are elements of historical romance with a love that transcends time as well as the contemporary romances. There are paranormal elements that reminded me in parts of one of my all-time favorite movies, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Not that it was a retelling of Mrs. Muir’s great love story—just portions that reminded me of what a great tale that is. The searching, the longing, the love that will never die make for such good stories.

There are sections that deal with architecture and construction that can be enjoyed by men and wonderful family dynamics that are definitely cross-generational. While merging these elements could be confusing, in Ms. Deveraux TRUE LOVE, they come together in a very nice package.

The writing does have some issues which is why this book is a 3 heart rather than a 4 or a 5. There were times when I wished I could suggest to Ms. Deveraux to re-read her own Knight in Shining Armor and Remembrance to see why so many of her long-time fans fell in love with her books. The early books were such wonderful, magical stories and the past few, especially the Moonlight books something is missing.

Or rather, there is almost too much. At times I had the sense that perhaps she has so many more stories to tell and for some reason doesn't think she will have the chance to tell them so they are being lumped into one story. The Moonlight series books featured the main couple and in the last third of each another couple was introduced and there was a seeming rush to the altar. The same thing happened in TRUE LOVE. Some of the side romances, like Lexie and Toby’s were well done and I can see their stories coming to life in future books. Izzy’s, while her wedding was part of the story, seemed contrived at times. At the risk of a spoiler, why two trips out of town when one at the end would have been much more dramatic. There were a couple of times I wondered where the editor was—particularly when Wes asks Alix out in front of Jared and then 50 or so pages later Jared is surprised to hear Alix is going out with Wes. A few other times a subject was told one way and then in another chapter it went the other way.

I did enjoy the ghostly Caleb and the surprise element that is part of his story at the end. I have to admit I saw it coming but totally enjoyed it when it happened. I hope the paranormal elements that featured in TRUE LOVE are continued in the rest of the Nantucket Bride books. It was refreshing to read a ghost story with a deep and abiding romance that, as I said before, transcended time.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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