Synopsis from Goodreads: After a nightmarish encounter with a werewolf, seventeen-year-old Adria Dawson loses her sister, but gains the love of a mysterious young man and his legendary family.
Strange and tragic things begin to happen in the small town of Hallowell, Maine: residents come down with an unexplainable ‘illness’ and some disappear. In the midst of everything, Isaac Mayfair is adamant about keeping Adria safe, even from her sister whom he has warned her to stay away from.
As unspeakable secrets unfold all around Adria, impossible choices become hers to bear. Ultimately, no matter what path she takes, her life and the lives of those she loves will be in peril. As she learns about the werewolf world she also learns why her place in it will change the destinies of many.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Review: As an avid (bordering on voracious) reader, I have a few simple requirements for a book to be successful: 1) a strong, well-developed plot with great potential for growth and; 2) strong, believable, well-developed characters with great potential for growth. Not only did J.A. Redmerski’s first novel, The Mayfair Moon satisfy my requirements, it went well beyond what I would have expected from a first-in-a-series novel. To be completely frank, I had a hard time putting this book down!
Redmerski opens her novel with Adria and Alex, two sisters from Athens, Georgia who, despite their awful home life have always managed to support one another and remain optimistic about their respective futures. That is, until the night the girls find themselves caught up in a violent and terrifying attack that leaves them reeling, battered, and bruised. Enter Social Services. Alex and Adria are removed from their home and re-located to Maine into the home of their uncle and his new wife. For Alex, the move marks the end of her life as she knows it. For Adria, the move becomes a sort of second-chance, a way for her to live in a safe environment, finish school, make new friends, and even snag herself a totally delectable boyfriend in the form of Isaac Mayfair. Unfortunately for the girls, the trouble they thought they left behind has followed them across the country and what happens next in the girl’s lives is where all the fun begins . . .
Adria quickly overshadows Alex as the novel’s primary character; Adria is a tough girl with a fighter’s sprit. Despite all the drama and trauma she has experienced, Adria doesn’t let her circumstances define her, she accepts and soldier’s on. Adria is by far the strongest of the novel’s characters but she doesn’t do all the heavy lifting. Adria is surrounded by a cast of minor characters who not only support her but provide insight into the series’ future. Of note among the cast of minor character’s is Adria’s delightful and fiercely loyal best friend Harry and the mysterious Zia who lives with, among many, many others, Isaac Mayfair. Redmerski has done what a good author should do; she has created a myriad of characters that are intriguing, solid, believable, and appropriate to the overall plot line. Every character in this novel knows their place and fills it well while still leaving room for growth as the series itself grows.
The Mayfair Moon is a steady read with the major plot line unfolding at a comfortable pace for the reader. Redmerski has a ton of ground to cover in this novel and does so expertly. She establishes both short- and long-term plot lines; ties up the appropriate loose ends for this installment; introduces and develops a large cast of characters; keeps the reader entertained with quick and often witty dialogue; and adds in an absolutely appropriate amount of action and romance. There is a little bit of everything to be found in this novel and never a dull moment. The writing style is smooth and easy to read and the plot line is one that will appeal to adults and young adults alike.
The Bottom Line: I am very much looking forward to the next installment of the Praverian Chronicles; I want to know what happens to these characters and how their lives are going to change. I do however have one reservation and would be remiss if I failed to mention it: this series has the potential to become overly angsty (Morganville Vampires, anyone?). The angst trap can easily be avoided as long as Redmerski keeps her characters moving forward and not wallowing in the past.