A Different Light

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A Different Light

Athena Moran is a beautiful mother of ten year old Callie, living in her home town in New Jersey, still mourning her husband John. John was a police officer killed in the line of duty. Her father was a city councilman, crippled now by a devastating stroke. She meets Quentin Forbes at the town’s Memorial Day picnic and is startled to find that she is checking him out. Quentin is a newspaper reporter, newly transplanted from St. Louis. He is, in turn, attracted to Athen. This chance meeting nudges Athen into becoming an active participant in life again. She takes a job in city hall as assistant to Mayor Dan Rossi, an old friend of her father’s. It is his last term in office but he isn’t eager to leave his post. He tells Athen that he has so much more to do for his town. But the town charter states that a person can only serve two consecutive terms as Mayor. Then Dan has the brilliant plan to pick his successor, help them campaign and then run for re-election after that. But where can he find someone who will do things his way and step aside when Dan wants the Mayor’s seat back. Who better than a former councilman’s daughter and widow of a heroic police officer? He talks her into running and before you know it, she is mayor. But when the community churches ban together to get the city to use abandoned property for a shelter and community center, Athen is on the opposite side of the issue from Dan. Will she be able to stand up to a political giant or will she get squashed?

Apparently, A Different Light was an early novel of Mariah Stewart’s originally published in 1995. She has added new scenes to it and fleshed out the characters. I haven’t read the original so I can say for sure what it was like. Unfortunately, this book was not my cup of tea. I didn’t really take to Athen. She came across as awfully spoilt for a thirty-five year old widow. She doesn’t have to worry about money or so it seems. She doesn’t like her dad’s girlfriend and begrudges sharing her father with the woman. She is clueless about what is going on in her town. She believes everything that Dan Rossi tells her. I just didn’t feel like she had much depth, at least at first. She does start coming around as the book progresses but I found it to be a little too late for me to really cheer her on. Quentin is a likeable fellow but you don’t know too much about him either. You know right away that he will be Athen’s love interest. But they spend most of the book apart so it wasn’t believable to me that they had formed a lasting connection and relationship. The writing is good; the characters just didn't resonate with me. If you enjoy fiction that explores a character’s growth with a dash of romance then you will like A Different Light.

Book Blurb for A Different Light

Dear Reader:

I can hardly believe that A Different Light, one of my earliest novels, is available again at long last! And while the story is still the same, I've added new scenes and fleshed out the characters, making the novel richer and more contemporary. I've written twenty-three novels since A Different Light was first published, and I like to think I've brought the experience of the years to make this sparkling new edition even more compelling than before.

Throughout these years, the character of Athena Moran has stayed with me. In her New Jersey town, beautiful, vibrant Athena is well known as the young widow of a police officer slain in the line of duty and as the daughter of a beloved former city councilman. But when she meets Quentin Forbes, a tough newspaper reporter, emotions that she believed died along with her husband start to stir again. Then she is asked to run for mayor, and the political contest that follows will test her newfound feelings to the breaking point, teaching her that things are not always as they appear, and much of what she's believed is more smoke than substance. The new direction Athena chooses tests her strength and courage, and ultimately leads her to see herself and everyone she knows in a totally new and different light.

Best,

Mariah Stewart


Night Owl Reviews Mar, 2010 3.00