Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: A LIGHT ON THE VERANDA by Ciji Ware

Full of breathtaking romance, loaded with historical and contemporary detail, sometimes light-hearted and at other times heart-wrenching, Ciji Ware’s A Light on the Veranda is a winner.

New Orleans-born professional harpist Daphne’s life took a turn for the better when she walked out on her wedding to the rat of the century. But now she’s in Natchez to play her harp at her beloved brother’s wedding. There she meets Simon, a man vastly different from the rodents she usually encounters. The attraction is immediate, mutual, and startling. For Daphne’s music conjures visions from the past involving another Simon and her ancestor, another harp-playing Daphne. The historical Daphne’s sad, tragic life can’t be changed. Does the modern Daphne have the courage to change hers? Especially since the rat, vicious as ever, is back and has her in his sights.

Ms. Ware interweaves the similar and yet different stories of two women across two centuries who share problems still all too common. Male betrayal, greed and cruelty can wreak havoc in a woman’s life, then and now. The historical Daphne, born into a frightful situation, had no control over her lot. The modern Daphne does, but only when she sheds her female indoctrination in submissiveness and fights back.

But even within the past and present world of male privilege, decent men exist. The historic Simon was one, and so is the contemporary Simon. Those of you who read my reviews know I like honorable heroes, and the modern Simon is one of the best. Utterly masculine, strong and yet vulnerable, protective but not patronizing, Simon is a spectacular hero. He’s also gorgeous, which doesn’t hurt. *g* Lucky Daphne.

Since most girls today are still trained to be subservient, the modern Daphne starts out as a bit of a doormat. But in the face of the rat’s spiteful cruelty and with some help from Simon, she blossoms into a strong, determined woman able and willing to chart her own course. Good for her.

With charm, poignant characterizations, heady romance and lots of scrumptious detail that bring past and present vividly to life, Ms. Ware’s A Light on the Veranda is a fantastic book.

Note, A Light on the Veranda is the sequel to Ms. Ware’s Midnight on Julia Street. If you’re like me and hate coming in on the middle of a series, read Midnight on Julia Street first. A Light on the Veranda contains spoilers for Midnight on Julia Street.

Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks


catslady said...

Thanks for the review - sounds like another great read!

Linda Banche said...

You're welcome, catslady. Enjoy.