True Love: The Nantucket Brides Trilogy: Volume One by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.
But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse.
Unbeknown to Alix, Jared has been charged with looking after her while she lives on the island—an easy task for him, considering the undeniable chemistry between the two. But Jared harbors secrets of his own, which, if revealed, may drive a wedge between the pair.
With a glorious Nantucket wedding on the horizon, sparks fly, and the ghosts of the past begin to reveal themselves—some of them literally. Finding their lives inextricably entwined with the turbulent fortunes of their ancestors, Alix and Jared discover that only by righting the wrongs of the past can they hope to be together.
It's been so long since I've read a new Jude Deveraux book that I was really excited to dive into this one. Sadly, it was a tad bit disappointing. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. In fact it wasn't until 60% of the book that I finally appreciated the story until the rug suddenly got pulled under me.
Let's start with the things that worked for me...
Alix - She's the quintessential Deveraux heroine down to her red-gold hair, green eyes and engaging personality.
Jared Montgomery Kingsley - Jared reminded me of Mike Taggert, whom I loved, from Sweet Liar.
Caleb "the ghost" - Oh, he's a character all right.
Ken Masden - loved his character. Loved his relationship with Alix and Jared.
Nantucket - Deveraux painted a vivid picture of Nantucket. It feels like you were right there with these characters. The eccentricities of its people and the psyche of the whole town (Nantucket is a country of its own, totally separate from America), makes for a very satisfying read.
The Taggerts and the Montgomerys - Now if you're a fan of Deveraux, like me, you'll know these families and you also love them. It's great to see Kane and Cale, Mike and Sam, all the Taggert cousins, Chandler, Colorado mentioned, albeit in passing, in this story. Brings back great memories.
Now onto what didn't work for me...
The Story - Ugh! I felt like there's so much promise to this story and I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for that oomph, but sadly, it didn't happen. Alix was supposed to solve the mystery of the missing Valentina. This was the mystery element to the book, not to mention the fact that the house Alix was staying in is being "haunted" by a ghost, that ghost being Valentina's lover and Jared's seventh greats grandfather.
I was excited about that. Deveraux have incorporated ghosts in her stories before and I worked then but unfortunately, it didn't work here. The ending to the mystery of Valentina was anti-climactic to say the least. I won't spoil you anymore, only to say that, it was a disappointment.
Victoria - I hated her. I think she's selfish and her character adds nothing to the story. I don't care if she was supposed to be Valentina from her past life, this woman killed the book for me the moment she appeared and found out who she supposed to be. Suddenly, it was all about her and the story deteriorated from there.
The whole mystery thing - I didn't get it. It was supposed to be a mystery but apparently, Caleb already knew what happened to Valentina, so it wasn't really a mystery at all. Maybe I didn't get the whole point -- which I thought was finding out what happened to Valentina. Maybe the whole point was that Caleb and Valentina can be together again? This is where the story jumped the shark for me. It tried to be everything at once -- romantic, mysterious, not to mention the whole reincarnation business, the ghosts, the distant cousins -- it was all too much. I felt that the original intent of the story wasn't executed very well.
*ARC provided by NetGalley
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