A novel of “late-in-life love in vibrant New Orleans” kicks off a “female bonding romance series like the Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts” (Kirkus Reviews).
Corporate attorney Hannah DuPont-Lowell always pictured herself returning to New Orleans to retire—just not yet. But after her Manhattan company abruptly lays off its staff, there’s no better place to figure out a next move than the porch of her plantation-style home, nestled in the stunning Garden District . . .
The DuPont House has been in Hannah’s family for two centuries. With eighteen rooms and two guesthouses, it’s far more home than widowed Hannah needs. Still, it could make a wonderful inn, especially if she can convince her friends and former coworkers Tonya, Jasmine, and Nydia to join in the venture. But in the meantime, Hannah has a high school reunion to attend . . .
College Professor St. John McNair, Hannah’s one-time classmate, is still the finest guy in any room. Between Hannah’s willowy, blonde beauty, and his uncanny resemblance to Marvin Gaye, they make a striking pair. And gradually, their rekindled friendship moves toward romance. Still, Hannah is too bruised by her late husband’s infidelities to trust a man again. But her friends’ arrival and encouragement just might show her a path through uncertainty—straight to a vibrant, joyful new life . . .
“The ambiance and flavor of New Orleans are on full display.”—RT Book Reviews (4 stars)
This uninspired romance, the introduction to Alers's Innkeepers series, lacks the sizzle and excitement promised by its present-day New Orleans setting. Attorney Hannah DuPont-Lowell returns to New Orleans to attend her 40th high school reunion. She's just been laid off and decides to stay in New Orleans and turn her family's home into an inn. She and professor St. John McNair were close in high school. Now both released (one by widowhood, one by divorce) from what had been unhappy marriages, neither is looking for anything serious, so they agree to see each other while he's on break for the summer. Alers (Cavanaugh Island) sets up an interesting interracial relationship between white Hannah and African-American St. John, but then relentlessly justifies it (though it needs no justification) by emphasizing that one of Hannah's ancestors married a Haitian woman and some of St. John's ancestors were white. No one actually objects to Hannah and St. John's union, so the constant harping on decades-past transgression is pointless and disruptive, especially when Alers drops it into the middle of the first love scene. Hannah also rails against racism to a degree that interrupts the story and rings false for her character. Hannah's spirited friends revitalize a tale that would otherwise read more like a curmudgeonly history lesson with a touch of romance.