MOONLIGHT IN THE MORNING – Jude Deveraux
A Perfect 10
Present Day Edilean, Virginia
MOONLIGHT IN THE MORNING begins a new trilogy set in the small town in Virginia that is the location of Ms. Deveraux's connected Heartwishes series. The three heroines of this trilogy met in college and became fast friends as well as roommates. All three, Kim, Jecca, and Sophie are artists. They promised to stay in touch after graduation. Kim returned to her home town in Virginia where she designs, makes, and sells her own jewelry. Jecca moved to New York City where she works in an art gallery; her paintings are not selling. Sophie, the budding sculptor, disappeared, and Jecca and Kim have been unable to locate her.
Jecca Layton has choices about what to do this summer while the art gallery where she works is closed. She can stay in New York City on a reduced income, return home to New Jersey where her father will put her to work in the family hardware store, or sublet her apartment and visit her best friend Kim in Edilean, a town with character and surrounded by a land preserve area, and paint all summer. Jecca spent two weeks in Edilean (pronounced Édileen) seven years ago and knows the area will give her plenty of inspiration. Besides, she remembers the crush she had then on Kim's handsome brother Reede. Jecca also met several others of Kim's extended family, including her cousin, Dr. Tristan Aldridge. With all her thoughts at the time on Reede, Tris didn't make a deep impression on her; she doesn't remember him, but he remembers her very well and looks forward to seeing her again.
Dr. Tris may be even better looking than Reede, but Jecca only saw him as another of Kim's cousins rather than a handsome, potentially rich doctor. But because she seemed to see him as a person and not just the prime catch that every other woman sees in him, Tris casually kept up with news of Jecca's life through Kim.
Once in Edilean, Jecca rents a small apartment in a large house in the country near Tristan's. He's on leave from his practice until his broken arm mends. On a moonless night, as Jecca relaxes outside on a chaise, Tris takes a walk and—literally—stumbles onto her in the dark. After a few awkward moments, the two begin to talk. Though they can't see each other, Tris knows very well who she is, and Jecca soon figures out he's Tris, Kim's cousin with the broken arm. They enjoy each other's company and before parting, Tris asks her to meet him again the next night . . .
MOONLIGHT IN THE MORNING is very much a character driven novel, and what wonderful characters they are! Tris is everything one could want in a man. On top of being gorgeous, he's thoughtful and tender, with a big heart that has not yet been wholly given to any woman. He cares deeply about his town and his patients, and his relationship with his young niece is a delight.
Jecca's is a truly creative soul, and she wants very much to make a living with her art. The last thing she wants is to get involved with people, especially a man whose life is in a small town. In spite of the growing feelings between them, she's open with Tris about returning to New York in the fall.
While this is the main plotline in MOONLIGHT IN THE MORNING, family dynamics, Jecca's and those of Tris's many relatives (including cousins Kim and her brother Reede), offer additional pleasure. Important to the story are the two lovely women living in the same house as Jecca, and other citizens of Edilean. All of these people come alive under Ms. Deveraux's masterful pen. Any reader is bound to get caught up in this fun and highly romantic tale. The scenes between Jecca and Tris in the dark and when they first meet face to face in the light are among the most romantic I've ever read. That's romantic in a charming way that does not hit one over the head with sex. One hopes and expects that to come eventually, but it's all the more affecting that they are getting to know one another so well.
I've spent days thinking how to give a clear idea of why MOONLIGHT IN THE MORNING deserves a Perfect 10, but it's difficult to explain. It's just one of those books that wrap themselves around your heart and mind. I loved it!
PS – Surely the next book will be Kim's, but a few other people met in MOONLIGHT IN THE MORNING have stories yet to be told.