“Sparks are flying between Jecca Layton and Dr. Tristan Aldredge. At the urging of her dear friend Kim, Jecca put the ruthless New York City art world on hold to spend the summer pursuing her passion for painting while enjoying Edilean’s tightly knit artistic community. For years, Kim’s cousin Tris–the town’s handsome and dedicated doctor–felt a deep connection to Kim’s college “sister” Jecca, though they had met only once before; now, Jecca is sswept off her feet by this strong, sensitive man in a summer of sensual delights. But when long shadows announce Jecca’s return to “real life” and the big city, the lovers must decide: Can they survive the distance? And who will sacrifice the life they’ve created for themselves to be together?”
This being chic lit, I think it’s safe to say that we already know the answer to that question. What I would like to know now is, how was this synopsis able to pass the standards of Jude Deveraux’s editor? I mean, seriously.
Bad synopsis-writing aside, I liked Moonlight in the Morning enough. Not because there was anything new in how the story was told, nor was it because of particularly strong characterizations–it was just sweet. Predictable. A reading for lazy days. Which explains why it took me a few days to read this book through. I mean, I know I’ve been busy, but even during the odd hours I found to rest, I never felt the urge to continue reading the book.
Now, I’ve become sort of a fan for Jude Deveraux books, because they tend to lean toward the fantastical. But reading Moonlight in the Morning, I noticed that the author isn’t really good at giving her characters distinct voices. Or maybe it’s just with her later works. I had to do a number of double-reads just to make sure if I was reading lines from Jecca or from Tristan.
When your male lead starts to sound like your female lead, there’s a problem.
Moonlight in the Morning presents an unusual set-up for a chic lit romance novel: it’s the guy who’s acting like a girl, and the girl is acting like a… Okay, maybe not so unusual. The thing is, it’s not very common for romance novels to have a male lead who is so feminine. And Tristan, with his pretty face, and his love of orchids, and his love for caring for other people? He’s not exactly the type of man girls would swoon for. Right? He’s not a bad boy. He’s not a fixer-upper.
And so we go back to the question posed by the synopsis: who will sacrifice the life they’ve created for themselves to be together? Do you even need to guess?
As a romance novel, Moonlight in the Morning is definitely not one of Jude Deveraux’s best work. But even though it isn’t a good book, I must say, Jude Deveraux hasn’t lost her touch when it comes to grand gestures. They still bring that loving feeling.
If only she’d been able to sustain that feeling for the whole book.