By Jude Deveraux
Atria Books; $25.95
Family secrets can be devastating or enriching, depending on the outcome in the end. But it’s the twists and turns involved in getting to the real story that are always fascinating. This is the premise behind Jude Deveraux’s latest novel, “Lavender Morning.”
Jocelyn Minton has lead a pretty quiet, unassuming life growing up, a relative outsider to her own life. But she had an ardent supporter and cheerleader in her friend, Miss Edilean Harcourt, an older lady who had taken Jocelyn under her wing and taught her the finer things.
When Miss Edilean passes away, Jocelyn is shocked to find out that her old friend had a past that she never revealed, as well as the fact that she is the sole beneficiary of the grand old lady’s estate which includes an elegant property located in a town named for Miss Edilean herself.
Jocelyn travels to Edilean, Virginia and moves into the historic Edilean Manor and begins to find out things about her beloved friend that she would have never guessed in a million years. She soon discovers that the town folks are just as curious about her as she is about them, and is relieved to find allies in her two tenants, Sara and Tess, who are anxious to help her discover the truth about her benefactor, the town, and the mysterious past surrounding nearly everyone ever from there.
As Jocelyn seeks to discover the clues to Miss Edi’s secrets, she soon discovers that she must deal with a few secrets of her own as pertains to her heart. Wooed by prominent town lawyer Ramsey McDowell, as Miss Edi had predicted would happen, Jocelyn is also captivated by her gardener, Luke Connor, an intelligent guy who seems to have a few secrets up his own sleeve.
Jude Deveraux has created a gorgeously intriguing tale full of mystery, humor and romance with “Lavender Morning.” As the first book in a promised series featuring Jocelyn, Sara and Tess, “Lavender Morning” delivers a punch of excitement to the world of women’s fiction. Can’t wait to read the next in line of this southern story.