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)
Moonrise is high on my list of my audiobook experiences. Although I had not read the print book, this Southern Gothic immediately drew me into its atmospheric web with high level, dramatic performances by the narrators. All were good, and I especially liked the performance of Willow Hale, who narrated Tansy. Her rendition is full of heart and soul in expressing the catty, quirky, complex Tansy. It results in the listener being actively engaged in wondering what is the real story about this character and how does it compare to the face she shows the world.
Moonrise reminds me of books I read long ago, such as Rebecca and one of my favorites, Nine Coaching Waiting by Mary Stewart. One surprising and gratifying aspect of Moonrise is that the characters, including the heroine, are in their forties or so. Not ingénues or twenty-somethings, but southern women in their forties! This is a delightful bonus. Another plus is the wonder and beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, one of my favorite places on earth. The setting in the book is exquisite. I love a good gothic novel, and Moonrise delivers.
I especially liked the scenes between Tansy and Noel. Doesn't get quirkier and more complex than that! Totally kept my interest.
The book as brought to life by the narrators caught me up in its compelling mystery and intrigue. I found myself roaming around my back yard as if it were the desolate gardens.
Great story and narration, especially by Willow Hale, who did Tansy. I'd like to hear more by her; she apparently has a knack for making a character come to life. I love a good gothic novel, and Moonrise delivers.
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.
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