Desire's Moon, by Elane Osborn

>> Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Desire's Moon, by Elane Osborn is a book I last read about 10 years ago. When I first started trading, I went through my shelves looking for books I wouldn't reread to stick in my Trade List. Desire's Moon was one of a short stack of books whose plots I didn't remember at all, but which evoked a positive feeling in me. I assumed I'd liked them and kept them, intending to reread them at some point and see what was what.

Oh, and BTW, it's weird, but I haven't been able to anything at all online about this book, and very little about the author. The reason I say it's weird is because Desire's Moon has got this very well produced cover, with stepback and with the outer cover cut in shapes. I always asumed books that rated a better produced cover were books the publisher would publicize a little more, so I can't really understand why there's this complete silence about the book. It's not like it is so old: it was published in the early 90s.

Like her ancient goddess namesake, lovely archaeologist Diana McKenzie was a beautiful huntress. She was searching for her father in the glittering city of San Francisco. But what she found one dazzling night was love... with a masterful stranger.

Dashing professor Ben Potter had never known a woman like Diana, a woman of passionate dreams and daring ambitions, of tempting beauty and fiery longings. Together they discovered a dreamworld of moonlit liaisons. but with their love entwined in a maze of intrigue, could they forge a future as bright as the moon's glow? Destiny held the answer to their shining love.
This was a very fresh and enjoyable read. An A-. However, I must mention that it took me some time to get into it, mostly because it starts with a dream sequence. I don't think this was a very good idea. Dream sequences are usually boring to read anyway, even more when you have no idea who the people in them are, we're not invested in the story yet. I'm very glad I stuck it through.

First of all, I loved the setting: 1897 San Francisco. That's just not something you see every day, plus, the action took place at the mayor's estate, a magical place, with a museum containing untold wonders and heated pools. I loved it!

And then there were the characters. Wow. I simply adored Diana. She was an awesome heroine. She's a woman ahead of her time, but she's definitely not a 21st century woman stuck in the 19th. She and her life feel realistic, because the author does an excellent job of showing the obstacles she faces as a woman trying to find work in a male-dominated field like archeology.

What I liked a lot about her is that she's perfectly conscious of these obstacles, and she plans her way around her. A good example is her plan for how to find a job as an archaeologist. She knows men won't accept her just like that, so she trains as an artist, because she knows artists are needed in digs (and that's a role deemed appropriate for females), and that will allow her to have a foot in the door.

I also liked that though at first she's a bit closed to the idea of finding love, completely convinced that to have a career she must remain alone for the rest of her life, she's intelligent enough to see by herself that it need not be that way. Yet, she refuses to go into a relationship where the man thinks he can order her around. And this was another thing that was wonderful about the book. Ordinarily, a heroine like this would be portrayed as an unreasonable, shrill shrew, or as an hair-tossing, foot-stomping feisty idiot.

Not Diana. She's smart and reasonable and flexible, yet firm. Also, she's smart enough to see that she can have what her new friend Emma has: a husband who will respect her and support her in her choice of life, and that, though Ben at one point tries to give her orders, he's that guy.

Professor Ben Potter is very definitely this guy. It's obvious, isn't it, that a guy named Professor Ben Potter just has to be a Beta? Anyway, I really liked him. He was a nice guy, who respected and appreciated Diana, and who was wonderfully crazy about her. I adored the chemistry between them.

Apart from the romance, there was also a light-ish suspense subplot. Ben and his British Museum colleagues suspect Diana's father, a well-known archeologist, of trying to steal one of the objects that will be displayed in the museum. Meanwhile, Diana has come there to see her father again after he abandoned her over 12 years ago (BTW, I really liked her reactions to her father, when she finally meets him. This is no daddy's little girl, for whom a father can do no wrong!). This whole subplot was interesting during most of the book, creating some interesting conflict between Ben and Diana, but not being in the forefront enough to overwhelm their romance. However, its resolution wasn't very well done, and I came thisclose to lowering the grade slightly because of it. I decided not to, though, because I liked the rest of the book too much for it not to be a keeper!

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