Morning Light

Catherine Anderson
2008, Psychic Romance
Signet, $7.99, 412 pages, Amazon ASIN 0451222776
Part of a series

Grade: C+
Sensuality: Warm

If you are a reader who likes her romances sweet, inspirational, and just a bit sappy, then Catherine Anderson is just the writer you have been looking for. She reminds me a bit of LaVyrle Spencer. Both authors are earnest and sincere – so much so that you almost hate to point out problems in the books.

Loni MacEwan is a psychic. Her gift is strong but unfocused – she has visions seemingly out of nowhere. Some of her strongest visions come when she touches an object and so to protect herself, she has lived a very sheltered life. Loni was homeschooled, got her college degree on-line, lives alone, and is still a virgin. She works as an interior decorator for various builders designing interiors for their showplace homes.

For years Loni has had intermittent visions of a cowboy but she has no idea who he is, or why she has these visions. She recently moved to Crystal Falls, Oregon, and tempted fate by buying a home, hoping that it won’t house anything that might trigger a vision. Seemingly everything is fine, but then out of the blue Loni receives a very strong vision. She sees a little boy, his parents and their St. Bernard dog white water rafting until a wave capsizes the raft, kills the parents and strands the boy and his dog in the wilderness. Loni’s vision tells her the boy’s real father is the cowboy of her dreams.

Loni discovers the cowboy’s name is Clint Harrigan. He and his family own several prosperous horse ranches and have lived in Crystal Falls for many years. When Loni blurts out her story in the grocery store, Clint thinks she is nuts until he watches the news. The family who have had the accident are the Stiles family and Clint knows them. He had a brief sexual relationship with Sandra Stiles before her marriage, but that was years ago. Still, the little boy - Trevor - is missing, and Loni insists she can help. Clint can’t let Trevor die, so he and Loni head to the area where the boy was last seen.

At times I couldn’t believe that Loni and Clint were grown adults in their 30s. Their dialogue reminded me of a couple of teens (or pre-teens), especially when they were squabbling about one thing or another - which they did for about half the book. Wen they weren’t squabbling, their dialogue was of the “golly gee whiz” sort that didn’t sound (or read) as very natural.

The women in Loni’s family all have psychic gifts, but hers is the strongest. She's felt cursed by her psychic ability for almost her entire life and can't even live around people since she picks up on their auras. When she tried to use her gift to help the police, it ended up in a disaster, so Loni has been all but a hermit. I think that is why she often acts and speaks like a silly pre-teen. Her ability to control her gift also waxed and waned throughout the book. Sometimes it overwhelmed her, while at others it seemed as though she could control it. This lack of consistency troubled me.

Cliff has his own problem from the past, although neither he nor the book dwell on it. He (and Loni) are both devout Catholics who take their faith seriously. Back in his youth Cliff had been mildly promiscuous and his past conduct hurt his conscious deeply. Sex to him (and to Loni) is something very strong, powerful and sacred and it should only be practiced after marriage. That is something they both agree upon. So it was a bit disconcerting when they give into their passion in a natural hot spring and then muse on how sacred it was. Guys, if you are going to talk the talk, it would be better if you’d walk the walk, okay?

The ending is dragged out when some reporters gets wind of Loni and her psychic skill and for a time she is ready to leave Cliff as she doesn’t want him to have to deal with the evil press. Cliff's solution frankly gave me the willies, but I'll let you discover how so on your own if you choose to read this one.

What I liked about Morning Light was that it featured a couple of people who weren't sophisticated or full of post-modern irony. The book's utter lack of realism is tempered by nice pacing, and there's a certain amount of charm in such a sweet read. It may not be perfect, but Anderson's latest, if nothing else, definitely is sweet.

-- Ellen Micheletti

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