Call Down The Night
by Sandy Moffett
(Zebra, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-8217-7272-4
****
Alexandra Gables came to Salem, Massachusetts, to help a friend of her father’s catalog his flower collection. When her father is unexpectedly delayed in England, Alexandra travels from their Boston home to take on the project alone. When she arrives at the docks, she comes face to face with dashing shipwright, Pierce Williams.

Pierce has taken over the family ship building business after his father decides that he would rather spend more time on his scientific hobbies. Pierce sees this as an impractical waste of time; and having to alter his busy schedule to deliver the intern to their home is just another inconvenience. Imagine his surprise when the young man he is expecting to meet turns out to be a young woman.

Alexandra and Pierce soon find themselves engaging in a battle of wits. Pierce is sure this is another of his father’s attempts to marry him off, but can’t deny that he is attracted to Alexandra’s intelligence, spunk and beauty. In turn, Alexandra is drawn to Pierce, but soon finds life in Salem unsettling. Upon her arrival, she is plagued by strange visions - visions that may be linked to a curse rooted in the witch trials 100 years prior - visions that foretell Pierce’s death.

Alexandra is an interesting character, as while she is “ahead of time,” she doesn’t suffer from the same pitfalls that befall other modern heroines in historical romances. Alexandra is an educated woman, thanks to a scholarly father who instilled a love of learning to his only child. She isn’t out to necessarily change the world, and realistically knows the obstacles she faces in her quest for acceptance. She just wants to be taken seriously, and not have her ideas dismissed simply because she is female.

Pierce holds the same ideals that society does - that woman should marry, have kids and maintain a household. However, he quickly finds himself enchanted with Alexandra - and comes to cherish the time they spend together, especially in discussion. Sure, she is a beautiful woman, but our hero is also attracted to her mind.

The paranormal element to the story has a light touch, and Moffett doesn’t bog the story down with otherworldly happenings. In fact, Alexandra’s visions, her search for the truth, and the mysterious happenings had me easily turning the pages. The author also includes some interesting tidbits of history about Salem, smallpox inoculation, ship building and sailing.

Sandy Moffett’s debut happens to be book 2 in The MacInness Legacy trilogy - with books 1 and 3 written by sister, Julie Moffett. While Call Down The Night does stand alone quite well, all of the conflicts are not neatly resolved in the end - leaving plenty of conflict for all the romantic couples in book 3.

Readers hungry for a gothic revival should find Call Down The Night an interesting spin on an old favorite. Be warned though - after the close of the last chapter, you may see a bookstore in your future.

--Wendy Crutcher


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