By Jude Deveraux. Cannot be put down until the last word is read…. Truly amazing. Exciting … filled with humor, romance, and the paranormal.
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By Jude Deveraux. Cannot be put down until the last word is read…. Truly amazing. Exciting … filled with humor, romance, and the paranormal. Settle in for some exhilarating reading! Romance with a dash of mystery and threat. Unlike anything Deveraux has written previously … uniquely intriguing … always entertaining. Ariel Weatherly looked in the mirror and rehearsed her speech to her mother.
I am twenty-four years old and I will choose my own husband. No, she thought. I have chosen the man I want to marry and I will do so.
Yes, better. Much better. The maid looked behind her to make sure Mrs. I like your hair, she said, then closed the door. Ariel grabbed her brush and smoothed her hair, then she smiled. Still smiling, she left her room and started down the stairs.
If only Sara would agree. She must! Ariel thought. Or time to plan anything, for that matter. Time to do anything other than whatever your egomaniac boss could think up for you to do? And then there was the fact that she was constantly telling her boss that she was quitting. If she quit, how long would it be before she got another job? What would it be like to have a dress made just for you? Sara wondered. She looked down at the letter.
Just for a while, Ariel had written. Sara smiled at that. Poor Ariel, so spoiled, everything given to her. The whole idea was absurd, of course, but it was nice to daydream.
Not just see it as a tourist would, but see it from the inside. She wanted to make her own judgment about the place. Her father had told her Arundel was the center of hell, yet Ariel wrote of the glories of her hometown. What would happen when she finally told them who she was? Would they welcome her—or hate her? Getting to know the people of Arundel sounded good in theory, but the truth was, she was afraid of the place.
It begins there and radiates outward, he said. Like the rays of the sun? No, more like a spreading disease, he said. He told Sara that her mother had been one of the bluebloods, one of the elite, the four hundred, whatever he could think of to call them, but she had fallen in love with him—and that had been the end of her. She died in a car wreck when Sara was three, and her father finally drank enough to kill his body when she was seventeen.
She was just finishing her freshman year of college when she met Ariel for the first time. Sara had been in the study room of her coed dorm, up all night cramming for finals. She was in her usual uniform of sweatpants and a stained sweatshirt, and her feet were encased in worn-out running shoes. Not that Sara ever ran. Or did any exercise. Like most college students, she lived on pizza and Coke.
At first Sara felt, rather than saw, Ariel. It was like when people say they feel a ghost. When Sara looked up from her book, the room was silent, and everyone was staring at a young woman standing in the doorway. Could we talk? Feeling clumsy and dirty, Sara mumbled, Yeah, sure, and followed the elegant young woman outside.
Sara wondered if she wanted her to cut her lawn. Growing up, Sara had been the kid who cut the lawns and pruned the boxwoods. She was the kid who baby-sat. The perfect young woman sat down carefully on a stone bench under a flowering dogwood. She stared at Sara for a few moments, then told her they were cousins. I was told we looked alike, Ariel said.
I hope it was all right to just show up. I really wanted to meet you. Could she really be related to this beautiful creature with her perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect everything? Write letters? Sara asked. Sure, why not? Ariel reeked of money, education, and manners. Sara had a flash of memory of her own father sprawled on the couch, snoring in a drunken stupor. For a moment the two young women sat in silence, then Ariel looked at her watch—a tiny thing of gold and diamonds.
I wish I could have gone to college, she said, sighing. Something about the way she sighed made Sara decide that there was more to Ariel than she saw on the surface. Yes, she sat perfectly straight, and yes, she wore clothes that had probably been on a runway, but maybe, just maybe, there was a person inside. Smiling, Ariel said, I have thirty minutes before I have to leave.
Tell me everything about your life. Ariel was a good listener and a good storyteller. While they talked, Sara studied Ariel as though she were a specimen under a microscope. Her gestures—the way she sat on the bench with her back straight and her ankles crossed—was something out of a s charm school.
Sara, her legs folded on the concrete seat, often pushed the hair out of her eyes, but Ariel sat straight and still, and her perfect pageboy haircut never so much as moved in the breeze. Sara looked at the way people on campus stopped and stared at Ariel.
A group of rowdy boys, obviously laughing over something dirty, saw Ariel and instantly became young gentlemen. Suddenly, Ariel got up. I have to go. Sara stood up too and they were eye-to-eye, both five feet three. I understand, Sara said, her teeth clamped together. Ariel looked at her blankly, obviously not understanding.
How can you be a different class than I am? Inside, Sara was smiling. Me the same class as this perfectly dressed young woman? What a ridiculous concept; what a divine thought. Who is David? Reaching into her exquisite little handbag, Ariel pulled out a photo of a young man in a football uniform. She handed it to Sara, who looked in astonishment at a truly gorgeous man.
In college she was surrounded by masses of good-looking people, but this man was in a class all his own. To her waiting limo? Ariel waved her hand over her shoulder, then was out of sight. Sara stood there for a while, staring into space.
Her cynicism made her wonder what it was that Ariel really wanted. The photo of the unwanted David was still in her hand. She slipped the picture into her pocket, then headed back toward the dorm, but when she got to the door, she stopped. But the head of the drama department was known as a real bastard.
Carolina Isle by Jude Deveraux. The initial premise of this story was quite riveting. Look-alike cousins switching places, two couples traveling to a mysterious island, and a bit of romance. I continued to marvel at the mystery, and that is often what kept me reading.
Book Review — “Carolina Isle” by Jude Deveraux
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