The Lost Night

Jayne Castle
September 2012, Futuristic Romance
Jove, $7.99, 352 pages, Amazon ASIN 0515152846
Part of a series

Grade: B-
Sensuality: Warm

The author’s latest futuristic romance set on the world of Harmony contains many of the features I’ve come to expect, including a hero and heroine who respect each other and share witty, intelligent dialog. While I enjoyed much of this story, the beginning dragged as the heroine’s backstory was set up, and there were a few too many lengthy, explanatory conversations for my taste.

Rachel Blake has never fit in. She grew up in the Harmonic Enlightenment community with its emphasis on self-discipline and balance and focus in all things. But as an adult she discovered that she doesn’t fit into the mainstream community either. Rachel tried to use her special abilities to read the auras of psychic criminals in a clinical setting, but was fired when the director didn’t agree with her readings. Frustrated, Rachel decides to move to Rainshadow Island, a haven for misfits. There’s just one problem; the last time Rachel was on the Island she suffered a psychic fugue, wandered into the forbidden Preserve, and lost 12 hours of her memory.

Thanks to some relatives, Rachel now owns a bookstore on Rainshadow Island, complete with a tea shop in which she brews special teas based on her customers’ auras. Rachel also has a cute dust bunny who has taken possession of her childhood toy doll. All of the Island residents are afraid that Rachel’s fugue has left her psychically fragile. Harry Sebastian doesn’t think Rachel’s fragile, but does think she may be a crucial to his investigation.

Harry is part of a wealthy family that owns the Preserve. The psychic elements have become unsettled in the Preserve, causing disruptions in the Island’s weather. Harry plans to evacuate the island if things aren’t resolved, and uses that threat to blackmail Rachel into helping him.

Harry and Rachel are a believable couple. They respect each other, and are not bothered by the qualities in each other that others find troubling. At several points Rachel insists on going with Harry into dangerous situations. At first I rolled my eyes, but I quickly realized that Rachel has powers that complement Harry’s. She’s completely capable not only of saving herself, but of rescuing Harry. I particularly liked that when someone warns Harry about Rachel’s “fragile state,” Harry tells them that they’re wrong, and that he would be happy to have her as backup in a fight.

While much of the dialog between Rachel and Harry is witty, there are some long explanatory conversations between the two, designed to provide information about the island, its history, and the dangers of the Preserve that had my eyes glazing over. This was a particular problem toward the end in what should have been a rather exciting uncovering of the mystery in the Preserve. Instead, the lengthy explanations of the villains were numbing.

Despite some problems, I found this an enjoyable read. I like the general setting of the island, and found some of the mysteries of the Preserve intriguing. More importantly, Harry and Rachel are strong, likeable characters with interesting psychic abilities and personalities; they make the book for me.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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