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Midnight Bayou    by Nora Roberts order for
Midnight Bayou
by Nora Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2001 (2001)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

A foul murder was committed at Manet Hall in December of 1899, one that has never been solved, and is now surrounded by legend and ghosts. Such stories abound in rural Louisiana and it's this legend and its restless ghosts that Declan Fitzgerald inherits when he buys the dillapidated mansion.

He's left his thriving Boston law practice, a fiancée, and his family far behind after deciding he's had enough of the fast track. For the next few months he wants nothing more than to lose himself in the back breaking task of reconstructing Manet Hall and bringing the mansion back to its former glory. But from the moment he arrives he's bombarded by nightmares and visions of murder, sorrow and betrayal - and is haunted by the very ghosts that are part of the legend and in some way that he has yet to understand, part of him.

Local beauty and bar owner, Angelina Simone, also has an unknowing connection to Manet Hall, and to its intriguing new owner. The last thing she wants at this point in her life is a relationship, but she can't seem to stay away from Declan and from the Hall. Her grandmother is no help either - she's certain the 'northerner' is the perfect man for her beloved granddaughter. Lina and Declan find unexpected love, yet both of them know they can never be free, or happy together, unless they solve the mystery that haunts Manet Hall and finally grant its unhappy ghosts peace.

Nora Roberts has done it again. She's penned another imaginative story about love and about reincarnation, that explores the theory that we are drawn to souls we knew in a past life. Using flashbacks she shows how events from 1899 tie in to what's happening to Lina and to Declan in the present, leading to a satisfying climax that also offers a nifty twist in the form of a complete role reversal. No doubt about it, Midnight Bayou is another winner.

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