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    CAROLINA MOON by Nora Roberts (see her website)

    G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2000

    Victoria (Tory) Bodeen is coming back to the small town where she'd been a child--the town where her best friend Hope had been raped and killed at the age of eight. Blessed, or cursed, with the phychic ability to see at a distance, Tory is haunted by the ghost of her friend and compelled to uncover the mystery. Back in Progress, South Carolina, Hope's mother, sister, and brother remain, still blaming Tory for their loss.

    Tory is a damaged heroine. Physically abused by a bible-banging father and abandoned by a lover who saw her phychic gifts as a threat, Tory cannot let herself depend on anyone, seek help from anyone, or admit to any weakness. When Hope's brother Cade reaches out to her, Tory doesn't know how to respond. She is convinced that he will abandon her, turn on her, if she ever reveals her talent, her feelings, her inner self.

    Cade has guilt feelings of his own. He knew Hope planned to sneak out at night. If he'd told their parents, nothing would have happened. Still, he sees Tory as an opportunity to redeem both himself and her. As he watches Tory deal with adversity that would destroy a lesser woman, he gradually falls in love. Still, can Tory trust him enough, and can he truly protect her from Hope's killer?

    In CAROLINA MOON, Nora Roberts (see other reviews of novels by this author) has written a powerful and almost poetic novel of the south, of hope and redemption, of the destructive and creative powers of love, and of how families shape, mold, and even destroy their members. Cade's mother remains a vindictive and bitter woman who cannot step beyond her loss. His sister Faith (Hope's twin) faces the same burdens but somehow manages to redeem herself as well as those she grows to love (Faith's romance forms a counterpoint to the growing love between Cade and Tory). Tory's abusive father is a powerful and elemental force of destruction finding sexual gratification in the pain he causes. Roberts' descriptions make the small South Carolina town of Progress come alive.

    Five Stars

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