Author: Donna MacMeans
Date of Publication: June 3, 2008
Formats Available: Paperback, E-book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: British spy James Locke has seen some odd events—but nothing quite as fantastical as when, in the midst of a moonlit safe-cracking mission, he witnesses a ruby necklace being spirited away as if by conjurer's trick. Following the jewels leads him to Lusinda Havershaw, who's inherited the talent of turning invisible in the moonlight—at least, the parts of her that are unclothed.
To support her sisters, Lusinda slips naked through the London night to recover lost or stolen items. After enlisting her reluctant services for the Crown, Locke trains Lusinda in espionage—though her close proximity is bewitchingly distracting. And as their mission to track Russian spies grows treacherous, they'll find that the heart behaves even more mysteriously than Lusinda in the moonlight.
I picked up this novel looking for something a little different and while the plot was more on the original side I didn't find myself as impressed with this novel as I thought I would be. Even though I wouldn't exactly say this is a bad novel I'm extremely picky about regency romance and this one just blends in with the sea of other books of the same genre, only it's extreme cringeworthienss making it stand out.
I was very unimpressed with the beginning of this novel; lackluster characters and a weak plot made me consider putting this book down several times before I finally got to the point where I decided to stick it out. As the novel went on it most definitely improved, and by the end I found myself engrossed in the climax, but it was a little touch and go getting there. Even though the novel was a quick read, and a fairly fun one, the plot was definitely the weak link. I never fully understood what the "mission" James and Lusinda were on actually was or how it benefited anyone. I tend to space out during anything political (especially in books where I'm not all that invested) so maybe I missed something important... but to be honest it didn't end up making that much of a difference anyway. This isn't a novel that requires full attention.
Even though I wasn't expecting it based on the beginning the strongest aspect of The Trouble with Moonlight is the character development. Lusinda was a fairly average regency heroine but she was fun to read about and had her own set of little quirks, like being a thief, that gave her just a little bit of a spark. However, it was James that stole the show in terms of development. I was absolutely fascinated by his back story and I loved hearing about the little snippets from his past. Even though he spent the majority of the novel imagining Lusinda naked (which I promptly skipped over) I lived for the moments where he talked about his past or where he actually thought about Lusinda as a person instead of a sexual object. Lusinda's family was also surprisingly developed, especially her sister Portia. I enjoyed reading about the jealousy and cattiness between the siblings and watching that relationship change as the two sisters discovered more about each other.
The biggest problem I had with this novel was the number of cringe worthy moments, especially in the romance department. I had to set the novel down and compose myself when Lusinda lost her virginity (and any subsequent sex scenes) because the second hand embarrassment was almost too much to bear. To be honest this novel would have been much better without the awkward and forced romance, a little sexual tension here and there and I would have been satisfied. I felt like MacMeans was trying too hard to make the reader swoon and instead had the opposite effect and ended up scaring me away. I've read plenty of eye-roll worthy romance scenes but The Trouble with Moonlight definitely takes the cake for some of the most ridiculous.
Even though I wouldn't classify this novel as a "bad" book I still wouldn't exactly recommend it either. The hard to read moments paired with a weak plot canceled out points this novel had in its favor and at the end of the day this is a novel I'm going to have forgotten about a month from now. Fans of regency romance may want to skip this one in favor of a novel with a bit more substance.