Eden Powell remembered Farrington Manor as the sanctuary she found after a pregnancy by rape brought her to tiny Arundel, North Carolina. Decades later, Eden unexpectedly inherits the estate from the woman who once took her in, and welcomes the respite from her hectic life as a book editor in New York, especially now that her pregnant daughter and son-in-law have moved into her apartment. Once she arrives in Arundel, Eden is caught between two men in Jude Deveraux's suspenseful mix of danger and family secrets, First Impressions. A scion of one of the town's oldest families, Braddon Granville wants Eden to be his partner, both romantically and professionally, as he makes plans for Queen Anne, an exclusive development inspired by 18th-century design. Eden's own love of the gardens of that period makes her vulnerable to Brad's polished Southern pedigree and the genteel life he offers. On the other hand, Jared McBride comes to Arundel with deeper secrets, yet Eden is also drawn to him. This bucolic Southern getaway simmers with the exposure of long-existing class snobbery and the lust for hidden wealth. Deveraux nurtures an intricate, multilayered garden of treasured blossoms amid the unwanted weeds of life.
Sandy Huseby writes from Fargo, North Dakota, and lakeside in Minnesota.