Midnight in Ruby Bayou
Grade : B-

Rubies, ghosts, and a bayou - oh my! With Midnight in Ruby Bayou, Elizabeth Lowell concludes the Donovan quartet with a romantic thriller that moves from Seattle to the Low Country of Georgia.

Jewelry designer Faith Donovan needs protection. Someone stole a fortune in precious rubies from the Soviet Union, and now a member of the Russian mafiya wants them back. Unfortunately, the mafiya has been told that Faith has the big prize, a huge and perfect ruby surrounded by pearls and diamonds, called the Heart of Midnight. All the Donovans know is that Faith's jewelry shop has been broken into, and her brother Kyle (from Jade Island) has a bad gut feeling about the fourteen rubies she received to make into a wedding present for her old college roommate. As Kyle's gut is often proven correct, their oldest brother, Archer (from Pearl Cove), hires former bayou rat and good friend Owen Walker to protect Faith.

Faith is an amazingly talented designer. She's also independent and feels a little alone since her twin sister, Honor (from Amber Beach), got married and started a family. She spends all her time working. Having just escaped a bad relationship, Faith isn't in the mood to trust men at the moment.

Walker is a southern gentleman whose charming exterior hides a man who can be dangerous when threatened. He blames himself for his brother's death, and his guilt causes him to hold people at a distance for fear of letting someone down again.

Lowell manages to nicely balance the romance and suspense. The action never stops, but Walker and Faith's relationship grows at the same speed. Faith and Walker had been attracted to each other since they met, and the close quarters during the trip helped move their relationship along as they worked on overcoming their trust issues.

Most of the book takes place in Savannah at a jewelry show and in the bayou at the home of the Montegeau family. The Montegeaus are an interesting family. Patriarch Davis is a drunk in trouble with the mob. His sister, Antigua, is childlike because of a traumatic past and slips in and out of reality. Son Jeff, who is marrying Faith's former college roommate, is the most normal, as is his fiancee. Uncle, as in Sam, and agent April Joy make an appearance here, as does the Donovan family (I know we already got Archer's story, but I still wanted more of him). There's a particularly amusing "phone sex" scene during a conversation between Archer and Walker.

As far as problems go, the main thing that bothered me was the way Walker never told Faith what was up. Murders are being committed and a known assassin is after her, but he keeps her in the dark. She was a big girl and definitely could have handled the truth. She didn't seem the type to become a frightened ninny because someone was trying to kill her.

While I thought Pearl Cove was a stronger book, Midnight in Ruby Bayou was a nice conclusion to the Donovan series. I do wish there were more Donovan books coming. I'm not ready to leave them yet, especially Archer! I think Elizabeth Lowell is a strong romantic suspense author, and I'm looking forward to her next series.

Reviewed by Andrea Pool
Grade : B-

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : July 3, 2000

Publication Date: 2001

Review Tags: Donovan series

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