Genre: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, Mystery
Format: Chapters; Time Split between 1900 and 2002
First Line: “Death, with all its cruel beauty, lived in the bayou.”
Description from Book: “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.”
Topics Covered: romance, haunted pasts, family dynamics, family secrets, reincarnation, ghosts, murder
My Review: Midnight Bayou tells the stories of two time periods: 1900 and 2002. In 1900, the reader is introduced to the Manet’s, a wealthy family that resides in Manet Hall; a home that is filled with turmoil and hatred. Twin brothers, Lucian and Julian, grow up together in the Hall, but have an unending disgust towards one another. Specifically, Julian feels repulsed by his twin and his new wife, Abigail, who was a Cajun maid in Manet Hall.
Springing forward to 2002, the reader is introduced to Declan Fitzgerald, a Northern man who walked away from his law career all in hopes of restoring Manet Hall to its original beauty. Shortly into the story, the reader meets several supporting characters, such as Remy (Declan’s best friend), Lena (Declan’s love interest), and Miss Odette (Lena’s grandmother). The novel then follows the misadventures of Declan and his supporting cast as they attempt to restore the Hall while paranormal activity begins.
Before long, secrets from the past are revealed that carry heavy implications for Declan and Lena, as people and as potential romantic partners.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t a home-run hit in the park, but that’s mainly due to the amount of romance in the novel. I’m not a romance novel reader, and felt there would be more murder, mystery, and voodoo in Midnight Bayou than there was. Certain repetitive phrases in the book made some moments feel “cheesy” (such as the author frequently writing: ‘He crushed his lips against hers’). The ending sat a bit uncomfortably as well. Roberts throws a twist in the ending of the novel, but it just didn’t fit for me as a reader and seemed misplaced. A good, light read overall.
Overall Rating: 3/5
“Family’s the luck of the draw, Lena.
What you make of yourself,
because of or despite it,
that’s where the spine and heart come in.”