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True Love
by Jude Deveraux
(Ballantine, $27, PG-13) ISBN 978-0345-54179-0
The Montgomerys and the Taggerts are staples of earlier Jude Deveraux novels that I read and have re-read many times. This is the first in a trilogy set in Nantucket, where this branch of the Montgomerys has lived for hundreds of years after marrying into the Kingsley family. While I am not normally a fan of paranormal stories, this one pulls in strengths from other Deveraux classics, including humor, friendship, family and of course, good-natured ghosts.

Jared Montgomery is a famous architect – so famous that he has a “style” that is taught in colleges. He is revered by students and of course, his good looks also hook the girls. Jared Montgomery Kingsley VII, however, is happy and content sailing, fishing and living on Nantucket. He is both of those people but people who know the architect often don’t understand the man and vice versa. He spends part of his time in New York and part in Nantucket, but Nantucket is his home.

Alix Madsen is a fan. She is an architectural student who knew at age four that she was destined to design and build. It didn’t hurt that her father is an architect and helped to teach and to encourage her. What Alix didn’t know is that her father Ken also taught Jared everything he knows. And she is about to find that out because she has been asked to live on Nantucket in the house of Aunt Addy.

Aunt Addy is Jared’s great aunt, who is leaving her house to Jared, but only after Alix lives in it for one year. Sound complicated? Oh it is. Alix came to Nantucket with her mother Victoria at age four. During her short stay Alix discovered her love of building, spoke with the ghost in the house and entranced 14 year old Jared. Victoria feared there could be no future for them due to their age difference, unless she separated them. So Alix has not been to Nantucket in 20 years, doesn’t remember Jared and has forgotten she spoke to a ghost. In addition, although she thought she knew her parents, who divorced shortly after this Nantucket visit, each has been a regular on the island and has kept it from her. They have a history with Jared that she never knew about.

Jared and Alix do not hit it off right away but they do both recognize a spark. And when circumstances change and they both end up on Nantucket, they realize they may just have something to savor. But there are all kinds of additional complications. The ghost, Captain Caleb, Jared’s great many times grandfather is certain that Alix is the key to reuniting him with his lost love. Jared is determined to keep Alix at bay, but her love of architecture and her pure talent win him over, as does her ability to understand his need for privacy. They have a spark and a sense of understanding that leads to friendship and ultimately to love. The story involves, among other things, a search for a lost diary, a tale of lost love and possible reincarnation and an additional drama surrounding the wedding of Alix’s best friend Lizzy.

This story comes together and is romantic, funny and filled with a refreshingly good paranormal story. The stage is set for the other “Nantucket Brides” in the series, but this is truly Alix and Jared’s story. I highly recommend this Deveraux tale and know it will grace my keeper shelves for quite some time.

--Shirley Lyons

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