Title: Moonrise by Cassandra King
Published September 3, 2013; Maiden Lane Press
Genre: gothic romance, fiction
I noticed the connection to the classic mystery, Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, very soon in the novel. Moonrise is the name of the spooky but imposing mansion in this book, reminiscent of Manderley in Rebecca. Rosalyn is the name of the mysterious dead wife in Moonrise, similar to the name of Rebecca.
Another similarity to the novel Rebecca is the main character Helen, a trusting young woman who marries a man many years her senior, a widower whose close friends dislike his remarrying so soon after his first wife's death. Helen loves the stately old mansion, Moonrise, in spite of the odd occurrences that happen, and is determined to make her new husband's friends accept and welcome her. But the unsolved mystery of Rosalyn's death stands between them and complete happiness.
The mystery: There are still unanswered questions about Rosalyn's tragic accident and death and the circumstances surrounding it. Differences in the books: Moonrise is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee, Rebecca in England. There is no evil housekeeper in Moonrise, but there are intimations of trouble from neighbors and friends.
What I loved: The moon garden at Moonrise, full of plants and flowers that open at night, is intriguing, especially as it was Rosalyn's private garden. The story is told from three women's points of view: Helen, the new wife; Tansy, a neighbor; and Willa, the young housekeeper. Their stories mesh the events that occur at Moonrise and weave the novel into an intriguing and suspenseful read. I also enjoyed the men portrayed in Helen and her husband Emmet's circle - the helpful Noel and the semi-invalid Linc.
Recommendations: Lovers of Rebecca will enjoy this and also appreciate how different Moonrise's mystery is in the end.
From the Reader's Guide to Moonrise, included in the novel:
1. Moonrise was inspired by the author’s lifelong love of, Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier’s classic gothic novel, reminding us that the novels we admire in our youths resonate throughout our lives.
2. The Victorian house and gardens once cherished by Emmet’s deceased wife Rosalyn are very much their own characters in this novel. Have you ever lived in a haunted house yourself?
CASSANDRA KING, who has been called “the Queen of Southern storytelling,” is the author of four novels, Making Waves, The Sunday Wife, The Same Sweet Girls and Queen of Broken Hearts, as well as numerous short stories, essays and articles. Moonrise, her fifth novel, is set in Highlands, North Carolina. A native of Alabama, Cassandra resides in Beaufort, South Carolina, with her husband, writer Pat Conroy. Her website: http://www.cassandrakingconroy.com
GIVEAWAY: The publisher and Wiley Saichek at AuthorsontheWeb provided a galley of this book for the book tour and review, and are offering two finished copies of the book to readers in the U.S., no post office box addresses, please.
UPDATE: Congrats to Carl and Rhonda, winners of the giveaway.