Maybe it’s “the ghost”, maybe fate, or maybe just Phoebe O’Dunn losing her marbles and accidently finding the door to the secret room in the library attic. Regardless of how she finds it, it changes her life and entices her out of her comfort zone. It makes her take a close look at who she is and what her hopes and dreams really are.
That Night on Thistle Lane by Carla Neggers
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 360 pages
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by: Camellia
More than just make-believe Librarian Phoebe O'Dunn deals in stories, but her passion for history has taught her that happy endings are rare. Her life in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, is safe and uneventful until she discovers the hidden room.
Among its secrets is a cache of vintage clothing, including a spectacular gown—perfect for a gala masquerade in Boston. In the guise of a princess, Phoebe is captivated by a handsome swashbuckler who's also adopted a more daring persona. Noah Kendrick's wealth has made him wary, especially of women: everybody wants something.
When Noah and Phoebe meet again in Knights Bridge, at first neither recognizes the other. And neither one is sure they can trust the magic of the night they shared—until an unexpected threat prompts them to unmask their truest selves.
After all, it takes more than just the right costume to live out your personal fairy tale. It takes heart and the courage to be more than you ever dreamed.
Phoebe is a “good soul”, content, comfortable in her own skin, sensible, dependable, protective of her family and friends and helpful to all. As director of the public library in Knights Bridge, she touches many lives from the children to the senior citizens that lived at the assisted-living community. “Once burned, twice shy”. she’s had no romantic relationship since her fiancé jilted her within two days of her father’s death. But in the secret room something nudges her. The gorgeous Edwardian dress she finds with all its accessories makes her long for more. All alone, she attends the masquerade ball in Boston dressed in the Edwardian costume with a unique mask—just to watch, she tells herself.
She has her “Cinderella night”, her night of mystery. A lean, smooth muscled swashbuckler with fantastic blue eyes, and sexy voice, says, “Dance with me”. They glide with grace about the dance floor and everyone admires. He makes her feel like she is floating on air, sexy, wanted and more—desired. She slips away. As she leaves, she hears a one-sided phone conversation with her swashbuckler mentioned—she feels uneasy.
Noah Kendricks, ex-CEO of NAK, a high-tech entertainment business, is a billionaire with more money coming in all the time, is visiting his longtime friend and business associate Dylan MacCaffrey. Dylan has been invaluable in the building of NAK. While Noah created ideas, Dylan had watched his back and taken care of the business end of the fast growing corporation. They are both trying to find their footing after leaving the day-by-day running of NAK in the capable hands of others. In Knights Bridge, where Dylan’s fiancée Olivia Frost lives, they both stick out like a sore thumb.
Noah doesn’t do anything halfway. Something happened when he and the mesmerizing lady in the Edwardian dress danced. He wants to find her and enlists Dylan to help. They set Knights Bridge’s population abuzz when word gets out about their very own librarian Phoebe and the billionaire Californian with the tabloid reputation.
How Phoebe and Noah maneuver their way through the tangled web of scary emotions, the best-intended meddling of friends and family, and the logistics of homes a continent apart. They cope with an undercurrent of mystery and suspense that makes them edgy. All this gives the reader a vicarious experience not to be missed.
Carla Neggers, with her artistic style, deals with life issues like death, grief, secrets, and life-choices as her complex characters, with their varied relationships, individual differences, and hang-ups, live their lives, overcome their fears, and take risks to find their happy-ever-after. Her perfectly placed metaphors and humor make the story rich and a delight to read.
If you read Secrets of the Lost Summer, you will recognize many of the characters, but That Night on Thistle Lane stand alone quite well. However, it is fun to catch up with what is going on in Olivia Frost and Dylan’s lives since they found each other in Knights Bridge. Also Phoebe’s sisters and mother gives us more fun-filled moments as well as soon heart-touching ones. Loretta, the L.A. lawyer plays a small but significant role in the unfolding of a mystery that brings an exciting twist near the end of the story. Then there is Julius Hartley P.I. from Los Angeles. I’ll leave him to your imagination—don’t want to spoil any part of the plot—it’s too good.
That Night on Thistle Lane makes one feel good about being part of humanity. Of course, more than one happy-ever-after is always a special bonus to enjoy.