Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nightfall by Anne Stuart

Cassidy Roarke is in love with Mr. Wrong.

His name is Richard Tiernan. He is deadly handsome, darkly brilliant, and devastatingly attractive to women. He has been convicted of killing his wife and his children have disappeared. Now he wants to make Cassidy the latest victim of his powers of seduction and secret agenda.

Cassidy knows all this. But still she chooses to surrender her heart and soul to a lover whose reasons for wanting her are as mysterious as the violent act that branded him a murderer. Cassidy is his now, to do with what he wishes … as he leads her through a labyrinth of desire that is her only path to the terrifying truth…

This is one of Anne Stuart’s best-loved thrillers. It is also reputed to be gripping, dark and disturbing.

For me, the first-half was a chore to get through … it took me three days just to get that far. I persevered because I wanted to find out Richard’s secrets. The second-half was more readable, with a rather predictable storyline. It wasn’t difficult for me to guess the identity of the villain.

Cassidy’s father, Sean O’Rourke is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. He intends to write Richard’s story – a man who has been sentenced to death for the murder of his wife – so he posts bail and brings Richard home. Sean needs Cassidy’s help to write the book, so he lures her to his home. What she doesn’t know is that she is part of Sean’s payment to Richard in exchange for his story. She also doesn’t know that Richard took one look at her photo and decided she was the one to further his intricate plan. Is Richard a murderous monster, who not only killed his wife, but is suspected also of the disappearance of his children and some women he was linked with?

My biggest problem with this story is Cassidy. She comes across as obtuse and needy, despite the author’s assertion that she is smart and independent. She lets her jerk of a father manipulate her, and she knows very well he is using her, yet she continues doing exactly what he asks of her. Cassidy and everybody else are convinced that her father loves her, as much as he is capable of, in his own way. Yeah, right. That explains why everyone seems dim-witted and quite absurd.

Then we have Richard, who at first is appropriately disturbing and interesting, but his menacing persona doesn’t last, so he feels inconsistent in the latter part of the story. His penchant for mind-games also makes him irritating. He is not one of my favourite Stuart heroes.

Some of the plot elements are rather dubious. Can a person who has already been sentenced to death, be allowed release on bail under the American legal system? Is it reasonable that a person, after taking one look at a photograph of a stranger, decides that that person is “the one” to be entrusted with his urgent and important plan? There are other questions that swirled in my head … questions that render this story unreal.

The only thing I like about this book is the writing, and I’m still a Stuart fan. Unfortunately, both the hero and heroine, as well as some problematic elements make this a less than satisfying read.

My rating is 2.5 out of 5. It's problematic - may struggle to finish. Sensuality: Warm+


kat said...

you're right as always. As you know I'd rated it a 2,5 Warm. It seems, that her contemporaries just aren't my cup of tea. I like her historicals much more. her mean alpha-heros are more believable in a historical setting - at least for me.


Jace said...

K, I think I'm the opposite of you when it comes to her contemporaries vs historicals. :) Remember I couldn't even read half of To Love A Dark Lord? I just prefer her contemporaries.

I've said time and again that her heroines always fall short. Oh man, Cassidy is one of the worst. She immediately reminded me of another Stuart heroine. You, L and M haven't read that book yet, so I won't say which one it is in order not to spoil things for you girls.

We still have a huge pile of Stuart books to read, don't we? And most of them are historicals - good news for you; not so good for me! LOL

Jill D. said...

Ohhhh noooos!

Well what didn't work for you, was what I liked about the story. I loved all the mind games the hero was playing and how Cassidy was caught in his trap. Her vulnerability appealed to me. She seemed like just your normal average girl thrown into an impossible situation.

I loved how Richard would put on this front that he didn't care about anything, when in fact the opposite was true. And when he breaks down in that one love scene in England, oh I had to reread that scene many times. It's so emotional. *sighs*

Kat, I can see how Anne Stuart's characters - the vulnerable heroine and the cruel hero - would fit better into a historical setting. Has she written in the medieval setting? Seems to me that might have some appeal.

Katie(babs) said...

Got to love classic Anne Stuart!
I miss her older reads. :(

Jace said...


Oh, Jill ... isn't it wonderful how different people will have different point of view on the same book? :D This reminds me of our differing opinion on Adrian's Midnight Breed series. :)

Yes, I believe Stuart wrote some medievals. The only one I can remember right now is Hidden Honor, which is in my TBR.

Jace said...

Katie, I have a few classic Stuarts in my TBR ... glommed them a few months back. :) Don't know when I'll get to reading them though.

kat said...

perhaps I'll come to love her after all or I surely don't want to ever see a Stuart book again (after facing our pile).

Jace said...


K, I don't blame you for feeling this way. Not every one of her books is good. I'm ready to toss this and To Love A Dark Lord.

We sure went crazy, didn't we, accumulating her books a few months back. :D I have to say though, my collection is nowhere near L's and M's. :D

kat said...

Sure, we went crazy, but at least it was much cheaper than we would have gone crazy about diamonds - as some normal girls would! OMG , we are so easy satisfied, aren't we!

Jace said...

Aaaahhh, K, but diamonds last forever! LOL