Someone to Love
Jude Deveraux is adept at creating worlds that span many different eras and locations. It’s definitely the style in which she excels – whimsical, romantic, and never quite of this world. Even her stories lacking a paranormal aspect always feel rather fantastical. This is what sets her apart from many other writers in my mind and I will always give her books a shot. She is back with her famous Montgomery family, whom we’ve been with since Medieval times, and she gives us a ghost story. Someone to Love isn’t without its problems, but it’s old-fashioned Jude as I’ve always loved her.
Jace Montgomery is in the quaint village of Margate, England, to do some further investigation regarding the apparent suicide of his fiancée Stacy three years earlier in the village’s inn. Things never lined up with her death and when he finds a mysterious note in one of her books, he heads off to search further. He buys the ugly, Gothic Priory House since it somehow played a huge role in Stacy’s life and death, and passes himself off as a writer investigating the old manor’s haunting. It doesn’t take long for the ghost of the house to encounter Jace. He thinks that by talking to this ghost, a Victorian lady named Ann Stuart, he might find some clues about Stacy’s death.
Now don’t go thinking that Jace falls in love with this lovely ghost and has to figure out a way for them to be together. Ann has her own problems which must be sorted out before her soul can move on. Her story is at once the highlight and the biggest thing I found lacking in the novel. Her plot seems to get brushed aside for a while and is picked up at the last moment, in a way that I’m still not sure I’m okay with…kinda icky, if you get me.
Anyway, Jace is helped along with his investigation by Nightingale – Nigh, for short – Smythe, a former foreign correspondent who falls hard for Jace, but she knows that Jace has a lot of emotional healing to go through before he can reciprocate her feelings. Honestly, they were both very good characters and I liked them both, but their romance is little more than an afterthought.
Yet the story kept moving at a nice pace, with a good twist at the end. Jace really made this book with his journey into accepting his beloved fiancée’s death and how he gets over it. He is the typical Deveraux hero: slightly alpha, slightly beta, with enough charm and money to get anything he wants. . It is his character and his emotional journey that have me recommending Someone to Love despite other flaws. The characters are just so darn likable, the issues I had with the plot aren’t as bothersome as they might have been otherwise.
Those unfamiliar with Ms. Deveraux’s backlist shouldn’t fear the Montgomery name. Yes she has a multitude of books regarding this family, but it isn’t necessary to read them in any type of order. I’m not even sure there is an order.
Someone to Love is a one-sitting type of book, as are most with a strong mystery attached. Maybe not worth a hardcover price, though. This is a major turnaround from the author’s last efforts and I’m glad to see her returning to her former glory.