A Light on the Veranda
by Ciji Ware
Editions: paperback, ebook
Published March 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published 2001)
Years after leaving the South, Daphne Duvallon returns to Natchez, Mississippi, for her brother’s wedding. But she has a rendezvous with destiny, meeting Simon Hopkins, a nature photographer with a dark side of his own. Daphne finally knows what she wants–until the shadows from another life threaten to destroy her only real chance at happiness.~ Goodreads Blurb
This was really cool to read! Different, but really cool. First off I’ll say this is a republished novel, not a new one. And considering the fabulous new cover, I say it was a fabulous idea. Gorgeous, gorgeous cover.
Now, reading a book initially published in 2001 was really interesting. The differences between the writing style and plot pace between now and then kept coming to mind; of course, I’m not making generalizations here but I’ve noticed this before, books a few years back tended to have less hyperactive plots, the pace of events was slower, the dramatic moments maybe a bit less dramatic by action and more significant by reaction, somehow. Don’t you think so? I mean, a book published nowadays revolving around the same plot idea would be a lot more agitated, I can bet on that.
It’s not like I’m complaining, I’m the one that sometimes feels things are too wild, too crazy, too much. So a nice, calmer pace of events was a really refreshing read.
The then and now theme was also present in the novel, there was this really cool paranormal twist to the story, like ghosts showing up, and visions of the past and all that. Really interesting.
What sort of lost me was the whole relatives thing, I mean…I followed up to a point, but from there on whenever we were focusing who was who’s cousin from who’s side and who was the other person’s uncle I would just sort of skip the genealogy. I got the point, but at some point the whole multilevel branching thing lost me.
The characters were certainly something else, I think it’s the most “south” novel I’ve read aside the Sookie Stackhouse novels, but I mean here we’re talking a lot of elements, being a magnolia and all that. It was really fun to read, accents, cool places and charming descriptions, cool stuff.
I’m sad to say though I didn’t much connect with Daphne or Sim for some reason, I wasn’t there all the way, though I was really interested in how their relationship would go; it was what I enjoyed the most out of the book, the way they both evolved and got over things in their past so they could be together. It was the sort of profound relationship that you don’t really read a lot about nowadays. Not rushed, not crazy and all over the place, but deeper and somehow calmer. Charming, really.
Aside Daphne and Sim, there were a lot of really interesting and fun characters in the novel, and it was one of those rarer occurrences when I’m into secondary characters almost as much as I’m into the mains.
All in all I say this was a good read, old-school but classy and fun to read even ten years later, so it’s one of those books that does pass the test of time. If you haven’t already read it, give it a shot, it’s charming.
Or have you read it? Would you want to read it again? Do you feel that there’s a difference between romance stories from say 10 years back and romance stories now? Which do you like better?