Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Serious Moonlight by Janet Halpin

TITLE: The Serious Moonlight
AUTHOR: Janet Halpin
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 18k)
GENRE: Contemporary romance
COST: $3.00

Anna accepts the invitation to her 25th high school reunion, wondering if she’ll get to see her one regret from high school – the boy next door who was her best friend and then asked her out to prom only for her to turn him down…

Wild Rose Press has a series of unrelated books all about reunions of the class of ’85. I’ve refrained from purchasing most of them, but this one caught my eye.

When it comes to reunion stories, it’s hard to make them unique and this one is no different. Twenty-five years after the fact, divorced Anna regrets turning down her longtime friend Rick’s invitation to prom, and attends the reunion in hopes he’ll be there. She’s still friends with the same two girls who talked her out of accepting his offer in high school, but the only kiss that ever made her toes curl was his. She’s always wondered what would have happened if she hadn’t been scared of what it all meant. She gets her chance when he shows up, but his behavior isn’t clear. She can’t tell if he still harbors anger about what happened, or is willing to move on from it. Because he lives in San Diego, she’s only got reunion weekend to find out.

There aren’t many surprises here. Anna is nice enough, but fairly boring. The most interesting thing she does is have such a long childhood friendship with the scarred Rick. Rick, on the other hand, shows signs of being really interesting, though his first appearances in the story are marred by rather schizophrenic behavior as he flipflops between anger and attentive so quickly I got whiplash. Put them together, however, and there’s an easy sweetness to their story, and I found myself smiling when they finally got past their initial wariness of each other. The ending is appropriately saccharine, but it would’ve been better served by having secondary characters that didn’t make me bristle. I didn’t like either one of Anna’s friends, and couldn’t really see why they’d all continue being friends. They take up a lot of page time, too. Too much for me to really enjoy.

Still, for the romance reader looking for a taste of nostalgia and sweetness, this one isn’t that bad. The detail is a little more vivid than is usually found in these sort of short contemporaries, and the use of a slightly damaged (though still kind of stereotypical) hero lovely.


8/10 – Sweet and unassuming, with enough detail to make it real


7/10 – He seems a little too back-and-forth in the first half, but otherwise sweet


6/10 – Her initial motivations were weak, but I warmed up to her

Entertainment value

6/10 – I was in the mood for something easy and sweet, and that’s pretty much what I got

World building

6/10 – Not a ton, but more than I usually find short contemporaries



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