Awhile ago I came across a post requesting honest reviews in exchange for a free copy of St Charles at Dusk by Sarah Cradit, you can find her blog here. I opted to do this and found myself immersed in her wonderful world of the Sullivans and Deschanel’s and the mysterious and very alive city of New Orleans, LA.
“At twenty-one years old, Oz Sullivan is unable to understand his fascination with and attraction to a much younger Adrienne Deschanel. Adrienne is spirited, passionate, and impulsive… all of the things Oz is not. Oz is drawn to her in a way that is inexplicable to him, and deeply concerning to those who know him. Amidst her father’s threats, Adrienne makes secret plans to run away with Oz. Before they can act on them, Adrienne and her family are involved in a tragic accident that takes the lives of the entire family. Adrienne’s body, however, is not found in the wreckage. Oz is devastated and unable to move on when an extensive investigation fails to solve the mystery of Adrienne’s vanishing. Three years later Oz has made a life for himself as an attorney at his family’s law firm. However, the predictability and peace of his quiet life is shattered when Adrienne is discovered, alive and well…but with no memory of anything before the accident. Oz is conflicted: grateful that she is alive but still damaged from her disappearance and hesitant to get involved and re-open a wound that never fully closed. Yet, Oz finds himself unable to resist helping when Adrienne’s desperate attempt to flee the confusing and dark influences in her life instinctively finds her on Oz’s doorstep. Unable to turn her away, but equally unable to get too involved, Oz keeps from her the truth of who he was and what they meant to each other before she disappeared. Against his better judgment he finds himself enmeshed in the mystery of what happened to her when she was sixteen. The more he learns, the less he understands, and as the story unfolds and Adrienne’s memory slowly returns, everything they thought they both knew gets called into question. St. Charles at Dusk is the first novel in the House of Crimson and Clover series.”
My thoughts on the book:
Initially it was the constant back and forth through time that made this story extremely difficult to follow, with each one of the flashbacks several chapters long, which pull the reader in, but then when you are thrown back into the present the momentum of the story immediately stalls and the reader finds themselves starting all over again. It was not until I was well over half way through the book that I figured out what was doing and the author’s stream of thought. The story itself is beautifully written, and the concept is very romantic – Oz and Adrienne falling in love very young and forces outside of them always tearing them apart only to have them come back together several times over at various points in their lives lends itself to more realism as it pertains to how some relationships work out. You find yourself latching onto the characters and more than once wanting those like Angelique and Adrienne’s Stepmother, Cordelia, to get their come uppance for the pain and evil they’ve inflicted on these families. I found myself rooting for Oz and Adrienne hoping they would find a way to work through their issues to once again come together in the end for their happy ending. However, the constant jumping around in time left me wishing the book was ordered differently.
This is a book I highly reccommend to anyone looking for romance, intrigue and a little mystery!