Wild in the Moonlight
I am slowly glomming the older series romances by Jennifer Greene, and so I was delighted to pick up her latest release, Wild in the Moonlight. This book features the kind of characters who might be silly and irritating in the hands of lesser authors; in this book, they are charming and touching.
When Cameron Lachlan comes to the Herb Haven, he finds the owner, Violet Campbell, in the midst of having a fit. She’s just been stung by a bee and is running around in all four directions acting like a drama queen. Violet is dressed like a Victorian gypsy (in bright orange underpants), and despite all her sturm und drang, Cameron senses that a lot of her fluttering is an act.
Cameron works for a French perfume company called Jeunesse. He is investigating a strain of lavender that was developed by Violet, which he thinks has real potential in the perfume market, and so he’s staying in town to run some tests on the flowers. He was going to stay in Violet’s guesthouse, but the roof isn’t finished, so he ends up staying with Violet instead. It’s a big house, but since they are both larger-than-life personalities soon things begin to sizzle hotly.
Wild in the Moonlight doesn’t have much of a plot. There’s a teeny bit of conflict in that Cam is a wandering man, and Violet is rooted to her home. As conflicts go, this one is miniscule. We all know Cam will fall just as much in love with the place as he does with Violet; the fun is watching him do it.
It’s a 99.99% character driven book, and that’s a good thing. No one does quirky characters better than Jennifer Greene. And can that woman turn a phrase! Here’s Cam’s take on Violet’s kitchen:
The entire kitchen was an estrogen-whew. The kind of place where a guy might be allowed to sip some wine, but God forbid he chug a beer.
The whole book is filled with phrases like that – I call it Jennifer-speak.
This isn’t really a comedy, although it is funny, Violet has reasons for her earth-mother act. She had married a man she loved, but he left her when he found out she had difficulty conceiving a child. Violet has poured her frustration out in growing every kind of plant in the world and mothering all the workers at the Herb Haven. She purposefully acts ditsy to keep men at arm’s length, but Cam isn’t afraid of too much estrogen.
Wild in the Moonlight is the second in Greene’s The Scent of Lavender trilogy. The first book was Wild In The Field. The third book will be out sometime in the future, and I will be there to buy it. In the meantime, I will continue my search for Jennifer Greene’s backlist so I can visit her quirky world and savor her totally unique style of writing.