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4.1 16
by Cassandra King

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When Helen Honeycutt falls in love with Emmet Justice, a charismatic television journalist who has recently lost his wife in a tragic accident, their sudden marriage creates a rift between her new husband and his oldest friends, who resent Helen’s intrusion into their tightly knit circle. Hoping to mend fences, the newlyweds join the group for a summer at his


When Helen Honeycutt falls in love with Emmet Justice, a charismatic television journalist who has recently lost his wife in a tragic accident, their sudden marriage creates a rift between her new husband and his oldest friends, who resent Helen’s intrusion into their tightly knit circle. Hoping to mend fences, the newlyweds join the group for a summer at his late wife’s family home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Helen soon falls under the spell not only of the little mountain town and its inhabitants, but also of Moonrise, her predecessor’s Victorian mansion, named for its unique but now sadly neglected nocturnal gardens. But the harder Helen tries to fit in, the more obvious it is that she will never measure up to the woman she replaced.

 Someone is clearly determined to drive her away, but who wants her gone, and why? As Emmet grows more remote, Helen reaches out to the others in the group, only to find that she can’t trust anyone. When she stumbles on the secret behind her predecessor’s untimely death, Helen must decide if she can ever trust—or love—again.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Much is made in this work's publicity of its homage to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, which is not surprising. There's an almost scarily magnetic husband, a somewhat gauche second wife gingerly following a universally admired first one, and a misty, strikingly beautiful estate—though it's high in the North Carolina mountains and has a nocturnal garden instead of the sea. But while the narrative is pushed along by the question of what really happened to Emmet's first wife, who died in a mysterious accident, what's distinctive and intriguing here is the taut, taunting way that many of Emmet's old friends and grown daughter resist Helen and what they consider a too swift second marriage. Sadder but wiser after divorce from an abusive first husband and the successful host of a TV cooking show when Emmet becomes boss and needily seeks her out, the appealing Helen still isn't prepared for the waspishness she encounters after insisting that she and Emmet move to beautiful Moonrise, the family home of Emmet's first wife. King (The Sunday Wife) nicely focuses on untangling these complex emotions, which makes for the real suspense. VERDICT Though occasionally too stiff in the Rebecca parallels, this is a fresh and charming read.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
Publishers Weekly
King’s latest novel (after Queen of Broken Hearts) takes inspiration from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, keeping the best of the latter’s atmospheric tension without falling into melodramatic cliché. Helen Honeycutt is swept off her feet by Emmet at the small Fort Lauderdale, Fla., television station where she works. She also falls in love with the idea of Moonrise, his family home in North Carolina, even though its preservation had been the “driving force” of his first wife, Rosalyn’s life. Helen and Emmet summer at Moonrise, where Helen encounters the back-biting, two-faced machinations of the tight-knit friends once shared by Emmet and Rosalyn. Fascinated by the overgrown gardens, trying to maintain her career, shut out by Emmet’s friends (and increasingly by Emmet), Helen wonders if Rosalyn’s ghost haunts the house, or if there’s something more sinister and human going on. The way that Helen uncovers the truth, and the way several of the circle discover what really happened the night Rosalyn died, are interwoven to create a suspenseful modern Gothic that gives a nod to its predecessors while still being fresh. The choice of present-tense narrative is an unfortunate distraction, but King’s light touch even in scenes that could have bogged down, and her deep understanding of her characters’ motivations makes this an exciting read. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff & Associates. (July)
From the Publisher
“Cassandra King's Moonrise is an homage to du Maurier's novel, using the same atmospheric tension, presences that may or may not be there and characters whose motivations are not what they seem. But King has also modernized the tale, adding characters both complex and intense....
Since this is a Southern gothic novel, of course there is the suggestion of Moonrise being haunted. It is haunted, in a very real sense, by the mysterious death of Rosalyn in an automobile accident on the mountain road. Why did she travel to Moonrise alone and why did she leave the same night? That enigmatic behavior forms the crux of the story. In the end, her motivation is unearthed and all prior relationships will be forever changed. A rousing good story with no apologies to du Maurier.“—Valerie Ryan, Shelf Awareness

“Cassandra King is the Queen of Southern Storytelling.”—The Post and Courier (Charleston)
"...King’s latest novel takes inspiration from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, keeping the best of the latter’s atmospheric tension without falling into melodramatic cliché...A suspenseful Gothic that gives a nod to its predecessors while still being fresh."Publishers Weekly on Moonrise
“Cassandra King writes with clarity and insight about the age-old and contentious subject of friends and lovers, and with love and lyricism about a beautiful slice of southern mountains. Moonrise is a fantastic, not-to-be-missed novel."— Anne River Siddons, author of The House Next Door
"I read Moonrise in a single greedy gulp. Cassandra King uses three delightfully distinct voices to deliver an evocative setting—“Moonrise”, a house named after its moon gardens—a fabulous cast of characters, and a satisfying ghost story that is also a thoughtful examination of obsession, love, and the space where the two meet."— Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters and The Wednesday Daughters
Cassandra King's characters are fully drawn, richly imagined human beings, whose lives will continue to resonate long after you've turned the last page. “— Mark Childress, author of One Mississippi on Queen of Broken Hearts
“Cassandra King writes with clarity and insight about the age-old and contentious subject of friends and lovers, and with love and lyricism about a beautiful slice of southern mountains. Moonrise is a fantastic, not-to-be-missed novel."—Anne River Siddons, author of The House Next Door
“A beautifully written, Gothic tale of friendship and betrayal. A truly enthralling novel from start to finish.”—Kimberly McCrieght, the best-selling author of Reconstructing Amelia
“Set in the Blue Ridge mountains in a mysterious mansion with eerie gardens where night flowers bloom. Moonrise is a mystery, a romance, a story of friendships, betrayals, and ultimately love and forgiveness. I've loved Cassandra King's other novels, but this one is definitely her best. I'd give it six stars if that were possible." —Bev Marshall, author of Walking Through Shadows and Right as Rain
“Moonrise is a beautiful novel, brimming with mystery, the southern setting and culture, and captivating characters. Cassandra took inspiration from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and I could feel the same haunting tension in King's story. I loved the book and highly recommend it!"—Mary Alice Monroe, author of The Summer Girls and The Beach House
“What a fine book! King entranced me with her writing- allowing a story to emerge through the first person voices of three women who have different values and personalities. She wove a complex story of the south, but, most of all, she created characters who jumped off the page. The book balanced mystery with the struggle between lovers and class structures, providing in each chapter the intimacy of those distinct and recognizable voices."—Elizabeth Cox, author of The Slow Moon
“I loved this book... Excellent writing and a compelling story. What a great book club selection!”—Robert Alexander, author of The Kitchen Boy
“MOONRISE by Cassandra King is a triumph and her finest work to date. This is fiction writing at its very best! Buy this book!”—Dorothea Benton Frank, author of The Last Original Wife and Porch Lights
 “Though darker than King’s other novels, Moonrise succeeds at what she does best: masterfully weaving a story with threads that bind some characters together while pulling other strands loose. Moonrise dives into the waters of women’s friendships with the same level of honesty readers admire in Margaret Atwood’s “Cat’s Eye” and “The Robber Bride.” Moonrise further cements King’s high standing as a writer of contemporary women’s fiction.”—Charlotte Observer 
“King happily acknowledges Daphne de Maurier’s modern gothic masterpiece Rebecca, but Moonrise is fully her own, not a retelling or an adaptation…the sinister atmospherics are captured beautifully. As if the house were not creepy enough, Rosalyn’s moon garden is neglected and overgrows. The eerie light of the full moon best appreciates the moonflower vines, night-blooming cereus and even the poisonous Lady of the Night.  It is clear that there are secrets at Moonrise. All is not what it seems.”—Don Noble, Tuscaloosa News
Moonrise is both something familiar, like a well-loved leather recliner, and a writer’s mind game, which challenges the reader to keep up with sentences, plot and characters. An old-fashioned novel that twists on the best plot themes of all: obsession, jealousy and greed.”The Post and Courier 
Whether or not you have read Du Maurier’s novel, King’s story stands strong on its own, as she entwines mystery, drama and suspense into a beautiful Southern narrative. It is perfect for those who enjoy a good gothic-style mystery without being heavy-handed on the paranormal.”—Gainesville Times
“MOONRISE touches all the night notes to make it a suspenseful story and also a romantic one. Kudos to Ms King for getting it right…this is a story that impacts the reader, and its mixture of emotions will linger long after you have closed the book."—Huffington Post Books
“In Moonrise, Cassandra King weaves the mystery of place and event into the truths of heart and heartlessness that shape human relationships. She achieves an inclusive perspective of the friendships through interchanging points of view among the three characters.”—Spartanburg Herald Journal
“Cassandra King’s Moonrise is a fond homage to du Maurier’s tale, with just enough plot parallels to remind readers of Rebecca and enough differences to make it a good stand alone. Some mystery surrounds Rosalyn’s death and some oddities suggest Moonrise may be haunted, but King is more interested in the complexities of long friendships and second marriages tested by jealousy, obsession and betrayal.”—On a Clear Day I Can Read Forever Blog
“If you have not been a fan of Cassandra King before then I suggest you pick up this book and become a fan. It is her best book yet.”—Home and Lifestyle Design
Moonrise, just like the house the book is named for, has a magnetically ominous pull. It’s a pleasant surprise from a best-selling author who’s not typically focused on the shadow."—Charleston City Paper
Rebecca is a gothic novel, a mix of horror and romance. The horror is rooted in the building of suspense and a general sense of foreboding. Moonrise is done in the same vein. King infuses elements of horror without overtly turning it into a ghost story.”—Slate
“I gave Moonrise 4.5/5 stars. Lovers of Rebecca will enjoy this and also like how different Moonrise’s mystery is at the end.”—Book Dilettante
“When a book is inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, you know it is going to be darkly romantic and full of perplexing secrets. In Cassandra King’s hands, the bones of the story remain, but the setting is new and the characters are differently motivated, making Moonrise feel both fresh and familiar. Fans of Southern Gothic novels will be happy with King’s blend of romance and suspense…a nice companion for brisk fall evenings or stormy nights.”—Book Reporter

Kirkus Reviews
After divorcing her abusive husband, Helen Honeycutt is proud of her newfound independence, and marriage to charismatic Emmet Justice is the last thing she wants. A whirlwind romance, however, sets the stage for the naïve bride to confront Emmet's past. A rhododendron tunnel leading to a beguiling ancestral home, the strange death of a first wife, an increasingly confused heroine--King's (Queen of Broken Hearts, 2007, etc.) latest alludes heavily to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. After finding an album filled with photographs of Emmet's late wife's home, Moonrise, Helen becomes obsessed with seeing the mansion and its gardens of night-blooming plants. Once ensconced in Rosalyn and Emmet's former bedroom, however, Helen begins to regret her decision as she hears bumps in the night and spies shadowy figures in turret windows. She is eager to fit into Emmet's social circle, yet constant reminders of Rosalyn's elegance make her only more keenly aware of her own shortcomings. The glamorous set includes kindly Linc, who recently suffered a stroke, and his shrewish wife, Myna, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who spends most of her time in New York. Willa, a childhood friend, tends to the properties as well as to Linc's physical therapy, bonding over lessons in lepidopterology. Tight as lovers, Tansy and Noel are only friends. Lastly, there's Kit, Rosalyn's best friend, who likes to needle Helen by obliquely questioning Emmet's faithfulness. Each chapter shifts perspective, from Helen's hand-wringing to Tansy's suspicions to Willa's struggle to hide the secret of her drunken, abusive boyfriend. These narrative shifts, however, deflect attention from Helen's mounting fears, deflating du Maurier's haunting psychological thriller into a predictable tale of romantic obstacles. The reader may well wonder who is gaslighting Helen, but the Gothic echoes of Manderley and the first Mrs. de Winter set up unfulfilled promises.

Product Details

Maiden Lane Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

CASSANDRA KING, who has been called “the Queen of Southern storytelling,” is the author of four novels, Making Waves, The Sunday Wife, The Same Sweet Girls and Queen of Broken Hearts, as well as numerous short stories, essays and articles. Moonrise, her fifth novel, is set in Highlands, North Carolina. A native of Alabama, Cassandra resides in Beaufort, South Carolina, with her husband, writer Pat Conroy.

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Moonrise 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't get me wrong.Moonrise was a very close second.I am really diggin'King's books.Talkin' about bringing the characters to life!I keep saying this is the last King book for awhile.Someone help me.I'm adiccted and I'm so behind on my house work! My husband can't complain This NOOK was my Christmas present from him! Enjoy Moonrise It's well worth your time and money. Granny B.
MomcatKL More than 1 year ago
I loved the book. I had a hard time putting it down once I started reading it. Although it is not a retelling, the author pays homage to Daphne duMaurier’s Rebecca in this modern gothic suspense novel. The story takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the family home of the late wife of the main character’s husband. The house, Moonrise, was named for the stunning but now neglected nocturnal gardens. The haunting tale is told from the perspective of three of the characters: Helen, the new wife, Tansy, a longtime friend of Emmet and his late wife, and Willa, a local woman and housekeeper. Telling the story from three perspectives works well since it allows us to see Helen’s desperate efforts to fit in and be accepted by her husband’s friends as well as their view of her as an outsider who will never replace Emmet’s late wife Rosalyn. Willa brings a down-to- earth point of view as someone who is an observer but not quite part of the circle of friends since she works for them. Helen meets and marries Emmet Justice, a well-known television journalist, who has moved from Atlanta to Florida to recover from the death of his wife. After seeing pictures and hearing stories about the family home of Emmet’s late wife, Rosalyn, Helen convinces Emmet that they should spend the summer there just like he use to when Rosalyn was alive. Helen feels it will also give her a chance to get to know his oldest friends better since they will be spending the summer at their homes in the mountains as well. Within a short time of their arrival Helen begins to realize that something is not right. Someone does not want her there, even the house feels wrong. She also learns that the group of friends still have questions about what happened the night Rosalyn died. Helen tries to reach out to the group of friends but she is not sure who she should trust. Disclosure: I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it.
arlenadean More than 1 year ago
By: Cassandra King Published By: Maiden Lane Press Age Recommended: Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: 4 Review: "Moonrise" by Cassandra King was a "novel of dark secrets and second chances, New York Times’ bestselling author Cassandra King’s homage to the Gothic classic Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier." This author does a wonderful job in this complexed relationship 'of the south' bringing together such intriguing characters, with the protagonist, who had to faced so much after her marriage and especially with those new people in her life. Helen never knew that her journey to Highlands, North Carolina would present her into a new world of people. Will she be able to unlock all the secrets that surrounded her husband's 'old life?' I liked how the author used three narrators to produce a amazing story as the mysteries of it all unfolds to the reader. Now, this is where I say you must pick up "Moonrise" to see how it all comes out. I found it quite a amazing story that will keep you turning the pages until the end and still leaving you in awe. If you are looking for a good fiction with a compelling story you have come to the right place because this author.... Cassandra Kings brings it all to you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GJCowley More than 1 year ago
I loved SUNDAY WIFE, and I expected a lot of MOONRISE; unfortunately, I was disappointed. It was an enjoyable read, but the constant allusions to the story of Jane Eyre were both familiar and annoying. The plot twists were fairly unimaginative, but I liked the setting and the way it influenced the action. The characters were stereotypes, and it was hard for me to care about insipid Rosalyn. Having several narrators did at least make the prose a little more interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bit slow in the beginning but like any good story it drew me in and then I couldnt put it down. Well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
2-ReadMore_2 More than 1 year ago
This book should be a very good read for anyone, if your a Cassandra King fan and if you don't know her, you must read her books.
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MonicaFMF More than 1 year ago
A group of friends gather for the summer in an attempt to get over one who has passed and also to get to know the new edition; however, all are not as willing as they claim to move on as they state. The characters are so well written, I found myself hating a couple of them. However, the characters are complex and do develop throughout the story. An enchanting and vivid narrative is woven through multiple points of view which shift fairly seamlessly. Hints of the afterlife intruding on this reality may or may not be actual fact but are intriguingly told, primarily from Helen's point of view. Overall, an interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First tell me what type you wiuld like. (Wind, fire, and ice are your choices)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss the back of your hand tree times then post this in tree other books and look under your pillow