Night Whispers

Someone to Watch Over Me

 
Every Breath You Take
by Judith McNaught
(Ballantine, $25.95, PG-13) ISBN 0345-47990-4
****
Two of my five heart keepers are Paradise and Perfect by Judith McNaught. I have probably read them more than any other books on my extensive shelves. They have depth and power. I feel like I am right there with the characters. Every Breath You Take is right there with them, except for the fact that it feels like I am reading a very similar book. It was the sense of déjà vu that keep me from giving this the full five hearts. However, I recommend it highly, especially since there are visits from the characters from those two stories too.

Mitchell Wyatt is under suspicion of murder by the D.A. Gray Elliott. It seems that since Mitchell has surfaced from his life in Europe, people have died unexpectedly. The latest victim is Mitchell’s half brother, William. He is missing and supposed dead.

Mitchell is the bastard son of a man who was rich and had plenty of influence. His grandfather, Cecil Wyatt, had even more. So Mitchell was shipped off to Europe as a baby, raised first by a foster family in Italy and later in a serious of boarding and prep schools. He attended as a “scholarship student of an anonymous donor.” He was never quite good enough for the parents of the boys he became friends with and thus, he was isolated much of his life. But this same isolation served him well and he strove for business acumen and wealth. The father of one friend took him under his wing and taught him how to succeed, the Greek aristocratic way. Mitchell learned well and soon built a fortune of his own.

Recently William, his half brother and heir to the Wyatt fortune, discovered the papers detailing Mitchell’s life. William reached out to Mitchell and they established a tenuous relationship. But before it could fully develop, William went missing and Mitchell was seen often with William’s wife and son, Billy, a young teenager. Things look very suspicious.

Kate Donovan has been dating Evan Bartlett for four years, but has never really been ready to make a marriage commitment to him. They come from different backgrounds. Evan has the proverbial silver spoon and has inherited his father’s law firm…the same firm that helped the Wyatts get rid of Mitchell. Kate is a social worker and daughter of an Irish pub/restaurant owner who has just recently died. She is grieving and Evan offers her the chance to spend a week at a posh resort in Anguilla. She accepts, but then Evan is delayed and she is by herself.

And what follows is classic McNaught. Kate meets Mitchell who is the epitome of a romance hero. They fall in love in a very short time, but don’t really tell each other that tidbit. Circumstances cause them to believe that they have been betrayed by the other. Eventually they learn the truth and we have our happily ever after.

But that “eventually” is a journey full of the wonderful, the terrible, the exciting, the struggle of two people trying to live with guilt and lost love. And it is written with depth. Kate shows heart, agony, strength and intelligence. Mitchell is a hero any reader will fall for. It is not long before you see that he is not a killer, but he is a man with many sides and facets. This just makes him more attractive.

The tale moves quickly. Years are condensed but there is little missing in the sense of what has happened with these two people and their lives. I see pieces of plot lines from other McNaught books; close enough that there is a small iota of discomfort that this is not new territory. But it is such a minute point that I struggled with the four or five heart rating. Ultimately I go with a four because of this point: it is not quite as good as her other keepers, but oh so close.

Every Breath You Take is wonderfully entertaining and engaging story that will overwhelm your senses and restore your belief that contemporary romance can be full of character and depth. For McNaught fans, it is a return to the fun and enjoyment of our past.

--Shirley Lyons


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