by Dee Davis, contemporary (2001)
Ivy, $6.50, ISBN 0-8041-1966-X
The rather silly opening prologue of After Twilight almost made me postpone my reading of this book. It's a rushed-up, ineptly executed scene of Kristin Macgrath's husband walking out on her and - oops, falling down the high cliffs of Long Island. Two years later, Kristin is living under the name Kacy in dear ol' Ireland, moaning day and night that she hasn't a man to take care of her and hence feeling so blue.
Braedon Roche, shamed art dealer, is here to expose Kacy/Kristin as the second half of a master forger team (her dead husband Alex being the other half). One look at our hapless, silly heroine and Braedon is smitten instantly. Sure she couldn't be guilty! (I'd say not, seeing how real Kacy's hapless act is.)
Alex's twin brother and some assorted baddies are hot on Kacy's tail, however. Watch out, those two!
After Twilight moves at a breakneck speed. This prevents me from getting any real feel of the main characters. Every chapter has at least four different locales or perspectives, and secondary characters and villains are introduced sometimes out of the blue. Braedon doesn't come off as real at all, he is a one-dimensional figure, and Kacy is just as one-dimensional, she being a passive heroine who is losing it without a male authority figure in her life.
The art forgery angle is decently handled, but the romance and characterization of Braedon and Kacy are pretty ineptly done. Alex and Kacy's marriage is beyond surreal in its badness, which only reinforces Kacy's not-too-brainy state. It is one thing to depend on a man, but Kacy is a bundle of raw nerves, breathless whispers, and lachrymosal tendencies. Both Braedon and Kacy are just too colorless and dull to carry this story.
All in all, After Twilight is like too-watery soup: spice and color desperately needed to bring it to life.
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