When Helen Honeycutt falls in love with Emmet Justice, a charismatic television journalist who has recently lost his wife in a tragic accident, their sudden marriage creates a rift between her new husband and his oldest friends, who resent Helen's intrusion into their tightly knit circle. Hoping to mend fences, the newlyweds join the group for a summer at his late wife's family home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Helen soon falls under the spell not only of the little mountain town and its inhabitants, but also of Moonrise, her predecessor's Victorian mansion, named for its unique but now sadly neglected nocturnal gardens. But the harder Helen tries to fit in, the more obvious it is that she will never measure up to the woman she replaced.
Someone is clearly determined to drive her away, but who wants her gone, and why? As Emmet grows more remote, Helen reaches out to the others in the group, only to find that she can't trust anyone. When she stumbles on the secret behind her predecessor's untimely death, Helen must decide if she can ever trust - or love - again.
©2013 Cassandra King (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
King’s latest novel takes inspiration from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, keeping the best of the latter’s atmospheric tension without falling into melodramatic cliché...A suspenseful Gothic that gives a nod to its predecessors while still being fresh." (Publishers Weekly)
“Moonrise touches all the night notes to make it a suspenseful story and also a romantic one. Kudos to Ms King for getting it right…this is a story that impacts the reader, and its mixture of emotions will linger long after you have closed the book." (Huffington Post Books)
“Though darker than King’s other novels, Moonrise succeeds at what she does best: masterfully weaving a story with threads that bind some characters together while pulling other strands loose. Moonrise dives into the waters of women’s friendships with the same level of honesty readers admire in Margaret Atwood’s “Cat’s Eye” and “The Robber Bride.” Moonrise further cements King’s high standing as a writer of contemporary women’s fiction.” (Charlotte Observer)
I'd reread Moonrise, but I don't think I'd listen to it again. This is the first time I haven't been bowled over by the talent of the narrators. (I usually gush. See my review of Colin Firth's reading of The End of the Affair and how I raved about the Amelia Peabody mysteries.) I have tremendous admiration for artists who can pull off multiple regional accents and characters of both genders--without sounding like a parody.
This book tips its hat to the Gothic classic, Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. While not in the same league as Rebecca, Moonrise didn't disappoint. Setting is all important in a Gothic novel, and the eponymous historic Victorian house nestled in Highlands, North Carolina provided the perfect spooky backdrop for a mystery. The nocturnal gardens in particular added a bit of eeriness to the story.
I enjoyed listening to Letters from Skye, narrated by Elle Newlands, the actor who performed Willa McPhee in Moonrise. She has a very pleasant accent (Scottish, I assume) and a lot of talent. I had a hard time understanding what she was doing in a southern story, though. If the locals of Highlands have a brogue, why didn't Duff, Willa's beau?
I enjoyed the descriptions of the place. Of course all the people and their tangled webs of deceit and intrigue were interesting, but I hold that setting is what makes Gothic gothic.
The other trait of the Gothic genre is a fiery ending. This finale was spectacular, but it wasn't quite in keeping with my idea of the genre.
The story, as mentioned elsewhere, is not all that interesting. The voice of Tanzy is awful to listen to for the most part. But, overall, the mean, petty behavior of these so-called adults just drove me up the wall. Not sure I can finish it as it feels like a waste of my time.
This is the first time I've written a review, but after reading the other posts, I have a very different reaction. Foremost, it's about the story and not the narrators. It's engaging and enjoyable which is what I want from a novel I listen to while I'm driving. I'm not expecting something terribly complex or abstruse and this fits the bill. Secondly, the three narrators created distinct characters which is what the author intended. I can't imagine one reader playing all parts. Even though I have lived most of my life in the South, I'm not sure I can distinguish between Tennessee and Mississippi accents, but it doesn't matter. The story could be in Michigan and Maine accents. What does matter is that the characters come alive in the readers mind. I liked Tansy's bitchiness; she's real and yes, a bit annoying, but I don't think Cassandra King meant for her to be sweet and loveable. That's her character and I think Willow portrayed her well and was consistent in her role throughout the novel. And similar kudos to Jennifer and Elle. Thank you. And yes, I would (and have) recommended this book to my friends.
The story was just OK but the narrator for the character "Tanzy" was horrible! I had to double the audio speed to get through those chapters. I would definitely NOT recommend this book.
The narrator did a poor job with the voices of the men and women More than once I wondered why I was wasting my time.
She brings in many characters but only finished the story (?) for the newly wed . At the end I felt I hit a stone wall! She had spent time developing her story lines but at the end she just left them hanging in the air.
If they had stuck to one narrator, perhaps the narrator who portrayed the Irish character, or the woman reading the part of Helen -- I think that they could have done a good job for the entire book. It was the narrator who portrayed the character Tansy that ruined it for me! It was very difficult listening to her speak any of the male voices and the voice of Kit really irritated me.
Sticking to one of the better narrators; they really didn't need three women reading this I don't think.
I think that the story itself was good, and I think (for me) it would have been better reading from the physical book instead of listening to the audio version.
I realize narration is very personal. She has a professional manner. But whatever it is that is annoying me...I just cannot take it. Sorry, maybe you could read this book.
I like books read by multiple readers--it is often a performance that makes the book even better. These are three awful narrators. The voices they give to the characters are laughable. The story is ordinary--a southern retelling of the classic Rebecca (a much better book). If the book had been read by decent performers it would have elevated it to at least three stars. I will never listen to a book read by any of these people.
I have always liked Cassandra King books, but this was not as good as expected. Also, the narration was chopped up and many of the accents were really hard to listen to. I stayed with it until the end thinking something earth shattering would be revealed but if just fizzled out.
There are too many characters ~~ many of whom have no obvious relationship to the story ~~ she could have eliminate some of them and given serious development to the remainder. The principals at the core of the book are Emmett Justice who is described as "charismatic", but appears totally devoid of any personality whatsoever. He spends the majority of the novel "improving" everything about his new wife Helen ~~ her speech, her grammar, her manner of dress, etc. Her obsession to please him and be accepted by his Highland "social" friends renders her unable to see how demanding and emotionally abusive he treats her. She is so busy cooking for all these people, so they won't hate her for marrying him, that she doesn't even appear to be aware of his infidelities until the end of the book, although it was obvious to the reader from the beginning.
As an outline for a novel, the concept may have been good, but the characters required work to make them interesting.
I cannot think of any narrator (or even a group of them) who could have saved this one.
In the future, I will read the printed book first and not just reviews. Moonrise is not a mystery, it is a mess !! The reviewers who found the story even remotely similar to "Rebecca" either did not understand the premise of that fine old classic, or were as alcohol-soaked as Ms. King's characters in this book.
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