Miranda Jarrett has made 18th century America her own, first with her
popular Sparhawk family series and now with the saga of the Fairbournes
of Massachusettes. Moonlight is a most worthy successor to the
highly rated Wishing. If it doesn't have that magical quality
that led my colleague to rate the second book in the series as a keeper,
Moonlight is nonetheless an absolutely delightful romance.
This is the story of Joshua Fairbourne and Amelie Lacroix, two of the
nicest people ever to grace the pages of a romance. Joshua is in Boston
overseeing the building of his cousin's sloop, a fine ship which he will
captain once it is completed. Invited to the wedding of the daughter of
one of Boston's richest men, he bespies a lovely young woman watching
the festivities from a doorway. Intrigued, he seeks her hand in a
Amelie is not at the wedding as a guest. Rather she is the talented
dressmaker who has made the bride beautiful. Fearful of calling
attention to herself, she seeks to flee. Joshua assists her in her
escape, but before she disappears, he steals a kiss in the moonlight.
Imagine his surprise when the next day, as he runs an errand for his
cousin's wife, he once again discovers his maid of the moonlight.
Amelie is equally nonplused when Joshua walks into her shop. She had
enjoyed the stolen kiss much too much. At twenty-five, Amelie has
staunchly avoided all romantic entanglements. She and her sister
Juliette have become successful businesswomen and have no need to marry
for financial security. Moreover, Amelie had been schooled by her much
loved mother that true love is an illusion. As the daughters of French
emigres in staunchly anti-French Boston, they have had to behave with
the strictest discretion. Any hint of scandal would threaten their
There is an added problem. Someone is threatening the sisters,
insisting that they leave Boston or pay the consequences.
Moonlight has my most favorite kind of romance. There is no love
at first sight, but rather a mutual attraction that realistically
develops into true love as the hero and heroine come to know and
appreciate each other. Jarrett describes their growing love with a
Joshua is no dark hero; rather, he is an ambitious and able man, a most
attractive fellow. He has nothing against falling in love; he just
doesn't expect it to happen to him. His bemused confusion as he tries
to sort out his feelings for Amelie (and as his friends and relatives
try to point out to him what is obvious to everyone else) is charmingly
Amelie carries more baggage and is equally bemused by her feelings. She
prides herself on her independence and ability and is loathe to consider
giving them up. And it is very hard to quickly abandon the teachings of
a lifetime about the futility, and indeed danger, of love.
Jarrett sets up a conflict between the two that is realistic without
being overdone. She also integrates the mystery plot of who wishes the
Lacroix sisters ill and why very effectively into her story.
Finally, Jarrett paints a fine picture of Boston in 1725, its people,
its setting, its society, its fashions, its day to day activities. The
cast of secondary characters come nicely to life, with all their good
and bad points evocatively drawn. I thought her portrayal of the cat
was especially well done. I know cats just like Luna.
Miranda Jarrett has made 18th century New England her own. She succeeds
in making it both realistic and romantic. Moonlight has a lovely
romance; it has humor; it has drama; and it the ability to transport the
reader to another time and another place. I can't imagine what more any
romance reader would want.