Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts


Midnight Bayou, Nora Roberts, 2002

My favorite quote: “From this nice, safe distance, I’ve realized I actually like my family.”

Notable characters: Declan Fitzgerald, the absurdly handsome handyman; Lena Simone, the ridiculously pretty bar owner; Miss Odette, Lena’s excessively charming (and still unusually-beautiful) grandmother

Opening scene: Midnight Bayou begins with a historical flashback (something I haven’t seen before in a Nora Roberts book — although it’s possible this isn’t an uncommon element, I just haven’t read all that many). It begins at Manet Hall in Louisiana, in 1899 with Lucian and Abigail, whose tragic love story sets up the events of the rest of the book 

Greatest strengths: Nora Roberts is very hit-or-miss for me, but one thing I’ll give her is that she knows how to create atmosphere. For some reason, atmosphere is important to me in books and I think this is why I’ve returned to Nora Roberts as many times as I have. That said, the atmosphere in Midnight Bayou is pretty damned superb 

Standout achievements: Nora Roberts seems to really like writing books about sexy people rebuilding great big houses and I have to admit, it gets a bit stale for me at times — but in Midnight Bayou, it somehow worked. As Declan and Lena sexily rebuilt Manet Hall together, I barely even noticed all the annoying dos-and-don’ts of fixing fixer-uppers that Nora Roberts seems to enjoy pressing upon the reader in such stories

Fun Facts: In 2007, TIME named Nora Roberts one of their 100 Most Influential People. I, of course, barely missed the mark at number 101  

Other media: Nora Roberts’ Midnight Bayou was adapted into a 2009 TV Movie of the same name starring Jerry O’Connell, Lauren Stamile, and Faye Dunaway (who, apparently, is no basket of kittens to work with — but that’s neither here nor there)

What it taught me: This is going to sound rude, but it’s also true: some of the dialogue in Midnight Bayou (and let’s face it, all Nora Roberts books) is super cringe-worthy. These are the kinds of books that taught me to go easy on the cheese in my own work. For example, at one point in Midnight Bayou, manly-man number one makes manly-man number two turn a circle so he can check out — and then compliment him on — his great ass. Now … I’m sure this DOES happen in real life at times, but not often enough that it didn’t pull me out of the story. That said, I rather enjoyed that scene. It was awkward, sure — but I like anything that kind of presses the boundaries of traditional social expectation 

How it inspired me: Midnight Bayou captures the South in a very real way and made me want to visit. I did, much later, and I have to say that as far as setting goes, Nora Roberts nailed it. Well done, Nora Roberts, well done … 

Additional thoughts: Though more formulaic that I generally prefer, Nora Roberts’ approach to the reincarnation aspect in Midnight Bayou intrigued me. Over all, I enjoyed the book, but for me, romance makes a nice garnishing, rather than a main ingredient. I appreciated the supernatural elements of this book and wish there’s been a little more of that — but I didn’t hate Midnight Bayou 

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Read Midnight Bayou

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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