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THE MIDNIGHT ROSE by Lucinda Riley


by Lucinda Riley

Pub Date: March 18th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4767-0357-2
Publisher: Atria

Stretching from Darjeeling, India, to Dartmoor, England, the latest romantic saga from a popular British novelist confidently blends multiple storylines, large helpings of tragedy, a fairy-tale villain and some startling plot twists.

“My child, I remember,” begins Indian Anahita Chavan’s 300-page letter to her lost son, whose mysterious life is the central thread of Riley’s (The Lavender Garden, 2013, etc.) fourth novel. The daughter of a healer, Anahita inherited her mother’s gifts, including an element of second sight that has convinced her for 80 years that the son she bore in 1919, and whom everyone believed dead at age 3, is still alive. Upon Anahita’s death, it falls to her great-grandson Ari, a successful Indian IT entrepreneur, to read her manuscript and follow its trail to Astbury Hall, a country house in England. Now, in 2011, the hall is being used as the location for a movie starring American screen favorite Rebecca Bradley. Uncannily, Rebecca bears an extraordinary likeness to Violet Astbury, the American heiress whose grandson Anthony now presides over Astbury Hall’s slow decline. Anahita’s tale of love for Donald Astbury, a World War I officer, and the birth of her son, twinned with Rebecca’s present-day involvement with a substance-abusing Hollywood hunk, is engrossing until the closing chapters, when both women’s stories lurch into Hitchcock-ian melodrama.

Riley continues her run of solid, if earthbound, love stories, but this one derails close to its conclusion.