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 the 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.
©2004 Nora Roberts; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio
"Narrator James Daniels depicts this romantic, suspenseful ghost story with finesse, switching Cajun accents as he navigates between Declan Fitzgerald and the restoration of Manet Hall in 2002, to betrayal, rape, and murder in the early 1900s." (AudioFile)
"To add to the pleasure, tastefully choreographed, highly erotic lovemaking scenes are seamlessly woven into a novel that exemplifies storytelling at its finest." (Booklist)
In many ways, this is a classic Roberts romance with the attractive hero overcoming all the feisty heroine's reservations about falling in love. However, the ghost story which underpins this book turns it into something a bit special.
The novel centres around Declan Fitzgerald, a Boston lawyer who has changed his life to move to outside new Orleans to rebuild Manet Hall. But the Hall holds some dark secrets and the past and the present become strongly entwined.
Both narrators are excellent and particularly good at bringing a Cajun flavour to the story. However, I found the switches between narrators a bit jarring. I know it highlighted the switches in the narrative past and present but I personally prefer one voice in a book( unless it's a full cast drama), especially as either of the narrators were more than competent to have delivered the whole package on their own.
Really enjoyed this 'bedtime read' though at times bedtime ended up being later as I had to listen just a little more! Recomended.
"A Nora Roberts Review By A Guy"
This novel came up in one of Audible’ s special sales. It sounded interesting to me, a Boston attorney comes to bayou area outside New Orleans buying a huge Southern mansion and doing the restoration/renovation mostly himself, rebounding from a broken engagement and finding love. Embodied in this was a parallel story at the turn of the century involving a murder in this home and various spirits (ghosts) that were active in this long-abandoned plantation home, and the obligatory love story, both past and present and very connected. So far, so good.
As a male reader of mostly history/nonfiction and detective/thriller novels, this had some excellent elements to get me engaged. First, the story is somewhat complex as the characters from the past are highly correlated to the characters in the present. There is a lot of ghost activity, flashbacks and paranormal events. Nora Roberts demonstrates authority on the process of restoration which was interesting.
Suffice it to say, this story leaves the concrete world and heads somewhere else. The characters are well-developed and interesting. The couple is compelling, complex and interesting whole people. My only quibble comes at the end, when too many things happen and there is parallel story running simultaneously; that got me into disbelief quickly. Would you say yes to marry someone that had lost his mind/gender periodically?
Things happen with much purpose and everything means something, so there is a bit of rush as everything has to be neatly resolved. I recommend this book as excellent entertainment. Nora Roberts writes a novel with strong characters, a great plot and wonderful information and dialog.
So, from a man's perspective, this is worth the time and money. It was escapism at its best.
"Not the Norm"
I read it twice now. The two things I enjoyed most are:
1 - The characters get together early. It's not the typical cat and mouse game.
2 - The evil is revealed in the very first chapter of the book but the twists in the plot kept me keenly interested. The second time I read it I picked up a lot that I missed the first time. I'm sure I'll read it a third time.
Truly delightful. I typically love the characters in Nora Roberts books and this is no different.I consider this story a very pleasant escape from reality.
"Nice, gripping story without all the violence"
This is one of my favorites so far, and I've listened to dozens of her books. It was nice to simply be trying to figure out what happened in the past vs. constantly looking over your shoulder, wondering when the ubiquitous killer was going to attack one of the main characters. Sandra Burr is always a great narrator, and I enjoyed James Daniels. There was never any question which character was speaking. I also enjoyed the little twist at the end that I didn't see coming. This one goes on my "listen again" list.
The story was pretty good. A little too "romantic" for me but it was okay. The only problem, to me, was when the narrator attempted to speak with a Cajun accent it sounded more like an Irish accent :)
"What's done in the dark will come to the light."
This story switches back n forth between the past (dead) owners of the house and the new Yankee owner. I was hooked from the beginning with the back story, it is so interesting how the snooty elite got away with murder, and the lies they told were never questioned, simply because of who they were. Enter the Bostonian, who has given up his lucrative law practice to buy a decrepit plantation and begins to restore it to its former glory. The evil presents its immediately, however our Yankee isn't too easily scared off, besides he has the lovely Angelina Simone to keep him centered.
This story is classic Nora, and kept me interested. Will it win a Pulitzer? NAW!! But for pure entertainment it was great.
It was worth a credit for me.
Now for the Narrators, they were fantastic. I enjoyed their performance and will listen to them again. Well done.
"A story of mystery and history - addicting"
Absolutely addictive. You can't get enough. You want to know where the ghosts are and who they are and what happened and why amid the story of the "today" characters who are trying to find out the same. It's not scary. It's just perfectly mixed with today and yesterday.
Decklon (spelling?). He is the main character aside from the female side kick. He exhibits great characteristics - stubborness, softness, understanding, patience, curiosity and perseverance.
He rebuts his family's drive to be an attorney and makes a life for himself in the middle of the Bayou although he has no idea what made him just dump everything...something is pulling him and I like that he is perfectly unfolded like a creative puzzle.
I love the scene where you finally discover what the historical brothers did to one another and why. It unveils a terrible history of the home and helps you understand why Decklon was drawn to it.
Yes - in fact I think I did it in four sittings.
This story is so beautiful it saddened me it was not part of a trilogy...truly addictive.
"Cringe-Worthy Sex Scenes"
Maybe for a laugh at the sex scenes - book itself is just ok
Yes, since I got it for a cheaper price - but I think I would have been disappointed if I had wasted a credit on it.
If you are bothered by bad accents and extremely repetitive words, stay away. Specifically, the main character who describes herself as Cajun is voiced with a slight Irish brogue and the author uses "cher" constantly as a form of affection. When I mean constant, it seems it's in just about every other sentence.
I absolutely loved this book!!! It was filled with intrigue, mystery, love, passion and just the right amount of humor to warm your heart. I loved they way Sandra Burr did the before version and James Daniels the present day version. Both have wonderful voices. I've always loved Nora Roberts and this is definitely one of her better works, though I thought the end was a tad bit rushed.
"Roberts Has Done It Again."
Books by Nora Roberts usually have a good storyline, with a thread of romance running through. But the story takes precedence, unlike some so-called 'womens' fiction, which has one romantic (?) scene after another, held together by a thin thread of a storyline.
Roberts has a tremendous sense of 'place', which is one of the best, and most outstanding, features of her books. She makes her settings come alive, as the story develops. I admire the amount of research she does prior to developing a story. It brings the listener/reader to the location, building a word picture of where we are. I wonder if she writes 'on location'? That certainly would allow for the detailed sense of 'place'.
Midnight Bayou is a trip to the deep south, the remnants of the 'old-school' life, with a parallel story ... a flash-back theme ... which helps 'flesh out' the details of what is taking place in the present. This is Cajun/Acadian country, and they become a large part of the story.
James Daniels and Sandra Burr continue a smooth narration, which allows the listener to become immersed in the story ... and in the deep south.
"A fun book that ends a little too abruptly"
Unlike some of the other reviewers, I really enjoyed James Daniels's narration. He has a rich voice and a sense of fun that comes through his performance. It was a nice change to have a man narrating one of Nora Roberts books.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story, but the resolution and the freeing of the Manor from its ghosts seemed to happen very suddenly. As my iPod approached the last 15 minutes of the story I kept wondering if there was another part of the book I had forgotten to download. The ghosts really were less of a plot point than the "memory" part of the storyline and I wish she had done more with them, but all in all this was a fun listen that I will probably replay many times.
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