Friday, 4 July 2014

Morning Light by Abigail Reynolds

Book cover - Morning Light by Abigail Reynolds
This is the second book in Abigail Reynold’s Woods Hole series, the first being The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice, which is a modern version of Pride & Prejudice, telling the story of Cassie and Calder. In Morning Light we meet a friend of Cassie’s, Annie Wright. Annie runs an art gallery. Her late husband Paul was an artist. He was brilliant, but also had real problems, with depression and manic episodes which would lead to him doing almost unforgivable things which she’d forgive because he was genuinely under the influence of his illness and incapable of self-restraint at the time. Her feelings towards her husband are a mixed bag, partly because of the emotional fall out of his illness, partly due to the fact he committed suicide, and partly because she had very strong feelings for somebody else for the entirety of their marriage.

On the eve of their wedding Annie and Paul went out with a group and Paul went home early. One of Paul’s college friends, Jeremy, had flown in especially for the wedding. He got to the bar after Paul had left and started talking to Annie, not realising she was the bride. Annie and Jeremy had an immediate strong connection, but Annie put down these feelings to cold feet. Jeremy has a bit of a case of love at first sight and he is heartbroken the next day to see Annie marrying Paul. Since Jeremy works abroad it is easy for him to avoid the couple, but when he visits a few years later he realises that he didn’t imagine his feelings for Annie and he stops contacting Paul because it's just too painful to see them together.

Coming back to the present, when Jeremy is in the area and he and Annie meet unexpectedly it seems as though fate might be offering these two a second chance but once Annie finds out he’s kept something a secret from her things are not that simple. Annie has had a history of being abandoned, by her mother, then her stepmother, and then she had the difficult marriage with Paul, which took so much from her. She doesn’t know if she has anything left for a relationship with Jeremy, and there are other complications too.

This book has loose connections to Persuasion by Jane Austen. It differs mainly in that Annie was never persuaded to give Jeremy up, there are very few people who would have called off their wedding on the basis of an evening where nothing was said of any future relationship. There was also more fault here, as both Annie and Jeremy make decisions which are suspect. I felt a bit frustrated with them not talking to each other – she completely shuts him out, and I didn’t understand why he didn’t go to see her. If she’s ignoring phonecalls and letters then to me even if she rejected him he’d be no worse off than just waiting.

Book cover - The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice by Abigail Reynolds
Quite a portion of page time is devoted to Cassie and Calder, so I’d recommend that you read The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice before Morning Light. I was glad to see them, because both of them, although particularly Calder, had some serious family baggage left outstanding at the end of TMWLP&P so it was good to see them work through some of that, and to catch up with them a couple of years after their book finished.

I really enjoyed Morning Light. It’s not the most happy, light-hearted read, in fact for a while it is pretty sad, because there is so much unhappiness, especially for Annie. However, unlike TMWLP&P I didn’t feel like I’d had my emotions put through a mangle while reading! Also, to balance out the unhappiness there are also some really positive progress, as Annie finds out she was mistaken in some things she believed that she knew, and manages to put some of her issues relating to her marriage behind her.

4 star read


4 comments:

  1. I love Reynolds Ceri and have read all her Regency stuff, so am now looking forward to reading her modern day stories. I will take your advice though and read the first book as I will get frustrated If I do not know the other characters.

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    1. Hi Tamara! I prefer her Regency ones because they are just SO good but I like the modern ones she's done. I would definitely read them in order, there is quite a bit of follow up to the events of The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice in Morning Light. Hope you enjoy if you read these books :)

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  2. Glad you enjoyed this one, Ceri! Great review! I liked that it was a little darker and more painful, but I appreciated the darkness and pain, as are most of Abigail Reynolds's novels, it was very emotional. I hope Abigail takes us back to Woods Hole soon!!! It is so lovely!

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    1. I think Abigail Reynolds does anguish particularly well. I'd love to read another Woods Hole book too, maybe something featuring Cassie's brother.

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