Declan Fitzgerald abandoned his Boston law practice and moved to New Orleans after having purchased Manet Hall, a bayou mansion crying for restoration and attention. He’d seen the house when he was in college and had an inexplicable connection to it. When his best friend and college roommate let him know it was up for sale again, he seized the opportunity to buy the property of his heart and quit a career he found unfulfilling. While working on the house, he gets a glimpse of a striking young woman and is also drawn to her. Angelina (Lena) Simone and her family have lived in the bayou for generations and have ancestry that ties back to that old mansion. The signs are all there for a ghostly convergence as Declan has to also coexist with some of residents from the turn of the 19th century.
I’m not normally a fan of ghost stories as I need more logic in the behavior of the apparitions than most provide. This one was decidedly different as it begins with an historical timeline that explains the tragic event that shaped the destiny of the house and the residents at that time: Abigail & Lucian Manet, his twin Julian and his mother Josephine. I enjoyed the dual timeline as the present day is the bulk of the story with the historical one revisited to provide context and direction. Those ghosts were true to their original selves, which helped move the story along at a good pace.
I really liked Declan who suffered from instalove when he met Lena but she was having none of that, which made their romance more appealing. She’s highly independent, owning a bar in the French Quarter and helps Declan unravel the mystery of the mansion. It’s an older story that doesn’t feel dated and includes the right mix of humor, romance, home restoration and ghostly mystery. I opted to listen to the story and James Daniels was great in handling Boston, Cajun and Southern accents while managing the storytelling exceptionally. Sandra Burr was also wonderful in delivering the historical timeline. I had a fine time listening to this one as it had a bit of everything knitted together seamlessly.
- Release Date: September 14, 2004
- Narrators: James Daniels & Sandra Burr
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 14 minutes
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio