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Moonrise by Cassandra King


by Cassandra King

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Helen is the new wife of Emmet Justice. They met in the year after his wife died, in Florida where he had fled, trying to get his late wife Roslyn out of his mind in a new place. The change of scenery seemed to work, as Emmet met and fell in love with Helen Honeycutt, a dietitian with a cooking show. Helen convinced Emmet to take her to his vacation home, Moonrise, in North Carolina.

Helen is introduced to Emmett and his late wife Roslyn's friends. They all loved Roslyn and do not act kindly to the new bride. Willa, the housekeeper, is the only woman that is willing to befriend Helen.

The book is narrated by multiple characters - Helen, Tansy, and Willa. All three women have a different idea of what is going on around them, and it is interesting to read what each knows that the other doesn't.

Roslyn herself is a major player in the book, although she is dead. She is everywhere, a ghostly presence, in the memories of the people of Highlands, in the essence of Moonrise, and in the decaying and dessicated night garden behind the house. To Helen, Roslyn is an ideal that Helen feels she can't live up to. She is perfect in Helen's mind, to the manor born, full of grace and poise, the ultimate hostess and wife, beloved by those who have met her.

But what Helen didn't know is that the Roslyn's perfect life had some cracks, and the more that she tries to emulate her, the wider they get. The suspense keeps building, and it gets to the point that the reader wants to shake Helen, or Emmet, or Tansy, or Kit, or whoever. As Helen gets slowly driven crazy, so does the reader. Just when you think you can't take it anymore, the secrets break and the walls come crumbling down.

I found parts of the story a little slow, but they were worth reading through to get to the good stuff. Moonrise however was also complex, suspenseful, and full of doubts. I really did enjoy it, and think it would be even better if read somewhere you could overlook mountains, and read by moonlight. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
I was really enjoying this book until the end, which was unsatisfying. It felt like the author got tired of writing and simply tied up a few of the subplots and left the rest dangling. Loved the setting and dialogue, but overall it was disappointing. ( )
  Gingermama | Jan 24, 2016 |
Helen Honeycutt marries the recently widowed Emmet Justice, a charismatic television journelist, whose previous wife, Rosalyn, in an automobile accident. The much-loved Rosalyn died when her car drove off a mountainous road near Moonrise, the family's home near Highland, N.C., in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A number of Emmet and Rosalyn's childhood friends are gathering in their mountain homes. Although Helen has met the group, her reception was ill-received since many believe that Emmet married Helen out of giref. The newlyweds decide to travel to Moonrise and join the group hoping that the group will learn to love and accept Helen into their midst. Upon arriving at Moonrise, she falls in love with the mountain setting, the Victorian mansion and its nocturnal gardens. As she begins to reach out to the members of the group she begins to discover there was more to Rosalyn's death than was reported.

This example of contemporary Gothic literature is told from the point of view of three individuals in alternating chapters: Helen; Tansy, the friend who finds it difficult to accept Helen; and Willa, the current housekeeper for the friends' homes surrounding Looking Glass Lake. Although the conclusion was less than I anticipated, I enjoyed this Southern author's rendition of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. ( )
  John_Warner | Jan 19, 2016 |
A shy, insecure Helen Honeycutt meets rich, handsome Emmet Justice when he arrives as the new anchorman and news director at the television station where she hosts a noon-time 15-minute cooking demonstration. He’s a brooding widower, and is won over by her unassuming nature and great cooking. After they marry she discovers an old photo album that includes pictures of his late wife at their mountain estate, Moonrise, and Helen begs and pleads until Emmet agrees to take her there for the summer. But the late Rosalyn Harmon Justice seems to still haunt the place, and none of their long-term friends can forgive Emmet for replacing their beloved friend with this new “Bride.”

Within a few pages I recognized the plotlines and characters of Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca. But this modern retelling of that classic falls far short of the mark. King may have intended it as an homage to DuMaurier’s novel, but the result is a travesty, a mediocre soap opera with hardly one likeable or sympathetic character – including the “heroine.” The characters are thinly drawn and behave like they are in junior high rather than late middle age. We’re told how this character loves that character but never shown any evidence of this love; instead we get scowls, angry looks, sullen silences, awkward missteps, and so much jumping to conclusions that I got an aerobic workout just reading about them.

The one character that captured my attention was Willa, the Mountain-woman housekeeper/estate manager. I would have loved to have more information about her backstory and to follow her future. Maybe some other author will read this and take up the challenge. From what I’ve read of King’s writing, I wouldn’t trust her with Willa’s story.

So why give it even 1 star? Well, as irritated as I was with the trite, maudlin writing I have to admit that I was somewhat captivated by the story. Maybe it was the similarities to Rebecca … I kept thinking to myself “Oh, this must be Mrs Danvers!” or “I bet she’ll wear the same dress Rosalyn wore.” Playing that little game kept me moderately entertained, so I grant it 1 star.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Perhaps my affection for REBECCA by du Maurier has clouded my judgement, but I was very underwhelmed by this book. The characters were flat, the dialogue was choppy, and the alternating narrator didn't add anything to the plot - in fact, it barely moved the plot along. Definitely skip this one if you're a big fan of the work that inspired it. ( )
  cyrenitis | Dec 2, 2015 |
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Helen Honeycutt has a difficult time fitting in with her new husband's friends. When she stumbles upon the secret of her predecessor's death, she must decide if she can ever love again.

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