Night Music has a very powerful beginning. Charter pilot Devlin O’Hara is stranded on an Alaskan mountain with his friend’s wife, Joy. He struggles desperately to keep her alive, waiting for the search parties to find them. But he fails and Joy dies.
Some months later he visits his family and all are appalled by the change in the once dynamic, confident man. His sister Valentina decides to do something about the situation. She visits Simon McKinzie, head of the secret Black Watch, to discover the whereabouts of Kate Gallagher, a member of the group who has suffered a similar loss and who, like Devlin, is having a hard time forgiving herself. Valentina knows that
the chivalric Devlin will go out of his way to help a woman. She hopes that in helping Kate, Devlin will find himself.
I admit to being at something of a disadvantage in reviewing this book. I have not read any of James’ other “Black Watch” books so I’m not familiar with the dramatis personae. Still, I have to admit that this was not too much of a problem. Apparently Devlin’s association with the organization is tangential and its activities don’t play a significant
role in the story.
What we have is a tale of two wounded people who find first friendship and then love. Kate has escaped to an island in South Carolina. Since the season is over, she’s alone until Devlin moves into a neighboring house. Devlin strikes up an acquaintance with the sorrowing woman and their relationship develops nicely. There really isn’t much conflict in the story; even Kate’s discovery that Devlin has been “sent” to help her doesn’t cause much of a ripple.
The only excitement centers on the fate of a lovely young girl who had been staying with a local woman, supposedly her grandmother. When the woman dies, there is some question about what has happened to the child and Kate wants to find out. A kind gesture from little Tessa was the first instance that brought Kate out of her melancholy.
There are some nice descriptions of the sea birds and ocean creatures that abound on and off the island and some information about local people and their activities.
Actually, not much happens in Night Music. But that isn’t a bad thing. This is mostly a story about the healing power of love. The hero and heroine are both admirable people who find each other and who, with the other’s help, learn to forgive themselves. A pleasant story.