There are two things about JAK: She is one of my favourite writers and secondly, I have found her works - except for the Off World books - to be off beam during the last five years. She is great, but it's like she polished the gem just a little too much, and in that glossy mainstream treatment of her romances, she lost the fire that made her so special. She is one of the few writers I collect in hardback (Lynsay Sands, Melanie Jackson and Trish Jensen would be the others, but alas they are not in hardback yet, mores the pity). I still buy all JAK's works, but I have been just a bit let down by her last few books.
I enjoyed the first two Eclipse Bays, where she actually showed the flair of catching that spark again, and in this the third, she shows she still has the magick!!!
This is an utterly delightful, pure JAK at her best. AZ Snow is back with her conspiracy theories still going, the Bay community is full of the gossipy small town characters that made the first two so special, but in this one, she adds all the fire, passion, wit and humour that has made her famous.
Nick Harte (brother of the Harte sisters that married the Madison brothers) has returned to Eclipse Bay for the Summer with his son Carson, a miniture version of himself. Nursing a wounded heart, Nick is hesitant to get too close to any woman, but he cannot stay away from Octavia Brightwell - the neice of the woman that caused the Harte-Madison feud oh so many years ago.
Octavia runs the local art gallery, but her real reason for being there was to somehow fix the errors of the past created by her aunt, and see the Harte-Madison feud put to rest. Only by the time she has settled in the Bay, there two unexpected weddings in the Hart-Madison clan, uniting them once again, so her mission is moot and she feel at a drift, without purpose in her life.
She adores Carson, and is very attracted by Nick Harte, but is leary getting involved with him. The whole town knows two things about Hardhearted Harte - on the first date he gives women THE TALK saying there is no hope for a commitment, and that he never stays the full night with any woman. Octavia knows she could not stand having to face either of them, so she stays away from involvement with him.
Only, when a missing art piece worth a quarter of a million dollars is stolen from Octavia's gallery, and it falls to Nick to investigate - with Arizona Snow in charge - she cannot maintain that distance.
This is a funny, engaging book, that has some of the best lines like "Back in the big city, folks would probably say that Euqene and Dwayne are the products of dysfunctional families. But around here we just call them bums." Or "I did not come in here to argue with a woman with big hair" or when discussing the local hair saloon she says their styles were limited to "Very Big Hair and the Senior Citizen Helmet."
This is Jayne Ann at her peek form and all I can say is it's about time!!!
Fall in Love with JAK all over again in one of her best in years.