SLOW MOON RISING is the third and final book in the Cedar Key series. As the story opens, we are introduced to Anise, a floral shop owner on the brink of 40, who has never been married. Before the first chapter ends, she literally bumps into Dr. Ross Claybourne, a widower more than 20 years older than Anise, who has four grown daughters. Despite their differences, they can’t deny their immediate connection, and one week later, Ross proposes.
From there, we step into the point of view of Ross’s youngest daughter, Ami, a dancer who is discovering love for the first time in her young life. The following chapters alternate from the perspectives of Ross’s other daughters: Heather, Kimberly and Jayme-Leigh. Each woman reveals her own personal struggle --- with addiction, infertility and divorce. Each also reacts differently to the news of her father’s whirlwind romance and marriage. While Ami adores Anise, Heather has a difficult time accepting her new stepmother.
But the main conflict revolves around a secret involving their father and his life in Cedar Key --- a secret that begins to unravel as the pages unfold.
"SLOW MOON RISING is a wonderful conclusion to an exceptional series. Not only is the book a great choice to stick in your beach or pool bag this summer, the characters are ones who will stay with you long after summer ends."
As I started the chapter from Kimberly’s point of view, I experienced a bit of déjà vu. Readers of the first two books in the series will recall that Kimberly was the main character in book one, CHASING SUNSETS. It was nice to revisit Kimberly and get more facts about her history, as well as answers to some questions that had been left open-ended at the conclusion of her story.
Eva Marie Everson is an exceptionally talented author, who not only can weave intricate details together to form a fascinating tale, but also creates characters who are flawed yet fabulous. By that, I mean the negative qualities in her characters are not so dominant that they become obnoxious, but rather create a vulnerability that readers can relate to. For instance, Heather’s obstinate opposition to Anise may be annoying at times, but it’s clear that resistance comes from a place of personal insecurity and the pain of losing her mother. Such a balance isn’t always easy to achieve, but Everson does so effortlessly.
What I loved most was that individual characters find healing in their personal journeys, but there is also family restoration. The emotional currents in this book run high, and there are several opportunities for self-reflection and musing. SLOW MOON RISING clearly presents the consequences of choosing to keep secrets instead of being willing to endure what may be a difficult season in order to maintain openness and honesty within a family. But it also shows that healing is possible, despite our poor choices. Finally, it reminds us of the amazing power of forgiveness.
The multiple first-person voice throughout offers a more intimate feel to the story. Each chapter clearly defines who is “speaking,” so it’s easy to follow and never feels wooden, each voice distinct and unique.
If I had to point out a negative aspect, I would say I didn’t feel there was quite enough description of the Cedar Key location. A couple of extra word pictures might have been nice, particularly because it is a “setting” novel. I wanted to experience more of the beach and feel like I had stepped into this apparently beautiful location, but I never quite got there. However, the story itself was enough for me to overlook it.
All in all, SLOW MOON RISING is a wonderful conclusion to an exceptional series. Not only is the book a great choice to stick in your beach or pool bag this summer, the characters are ones who will stay with you long after summer ends.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on July 19, 2013