Pros: Great mix of romance and supernatural
Midnight Bayou is a cross between a romantic novel and a story revolving around the supernatural. Nora Roberts does well to keep things moving along without overloading us on the hauntings, thus creating an enjoyable story.
Roberts lays the groundwork for this novel beginning with a scene from 1899. Abigail is awaiting the arrival of her husband, Lucien, in their home, Manet Hall. Abigail was a lowly servant who fell madly in love with one of the sons of the owner. Lucien reciprocates her love much to his mothers chagrin. Instead of this being a fairy tale romance, his evil twin, Julian, intercedes. He brutally rapes and kills Abigail. Since his mother never liked Abigail, she assists Julian in cleaning up the murder scene and helps him dump her body into the bayou so as not to be found. They concoct a story of her running off with a lover, which breaks Luciens heart.
Switch back to current times and we find Declan Fitzgerald buying Manet Hall, which has fallen into disrepair. He begins restoring the old mansion and encounters the bizarre. Things like a room on the third floor that he cannot enter because fear overwhelms him. Or his watch which always stops at midnight, while the chimes of a non-existent grandfather clock sound. Or a crying baby who sounds like he's on the third floor, which is vacant.
Enter Angelina Simone (Lena), the granddaughter of Miss Odette who lives next door to Manet Hall. Lena has always been drawn to Manet Hall ever since she was a little girl. Of course this being a romance, Lena and Declan fall madly in love while they try to unravel the strange happenings surrounding them.
Character development is excellent and Roberts delves into Declan and Lena with her usual style, leaving little to the imagination. Also, we are given insight into Abigail and Lucien and were led to believe that they could be Declan and Lena in previous lives. Ok, so its a bit weird, but nothing is out of reach when Nora Roberts is at the helm. A support cast rounds is also well developed and intriguing in their own rights.
Roberts doesnt overdo the hauntings or supernatural stuff to the point that it deters from the story line or characters. If anything it enhances the readers enjoyment. She uses the right mix of romance and supernatural to attract a greater reading audience.
Midnight Bayou is very different than Roberts other works, but still achieves the excellent standards weve come to expect. Its a great book and should be added to your Must Read list.