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Red Lily    by Nora Roberts order for
Red Lily
by Nora Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
Jove, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

In this conclusion to her In the Garden trilogy, Roberts pulls together all the loose threads left dangling in Blue Dahlia and Black Rose. In the former, readers were introduced to Hayley Phillips, a distant cousin of the wealthy Harper clan.

Pregnant, broke, and determined to make a new life for herself and her coming child, she finds that and much more working for Roz Harper in her thriving nursery business. She's also taken with Roz's eldest son Harper, as eventually is her baby daughter Lily. But Hayley is afraid to show her growing feelings for Harper; surely he and his mother will misinterpret and label her a gold digger. When she discovers that Harper has also been holding back his true feelings she's overjoyed. But as the visitations of the Harper ghost escalate, Hayley and Harper soon realize that the feelings she displays toward him when they're together are not always her own.

As the ghostly Amelia takes possession of Hayley with alarming and sometimes violent frequency, and her tale unfolds, the Harpers begin to understand the plight of the woman who has, for over a century, haunted Harper House. They also begin to see that Amelia was not altogether innocent in her machinations to get the wealth and notoriety she always craved and thought she would receive as Reginald Harper's mistress. Harper arranges for Haley to leave Harper House, at least until he and Mitch (Roz's new husband) figure out how to exorcise Amelia's vengeful ghost. But Hayley, as well as Amelia, will have none of it. The action and the suspense build as Amelia finally reveals the chilling circumstances leading to her untimely demise, along with her true intentions toward the surviving Harpers.

This is by far the best in this sometimes meandering and overwrought trilogy. Roberts can always be counted on to create rich and compelling characters. However, the women of this series are a bit too reminiscent of characters in her other recent paranormal trilogies. The inclusion of Amelia's backstory and her often unsettling personality adds that needed zest and action as the tale rockets to a satisfactory conclusion. Roberts's fans will not be disappointed in Red Lily.

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