Garden of the Moon is at turns confusing and just a shade disturbing. The synopsis I read for the book gave away a lot of the surprises, so I spent much of the book wondering when they would be revealed instead of just flowing along with the narrative.
Sara Wade started out a fun and interesting character. A 19th century Ghost Whisperer, she moves to her grandmother's old plantation to escape her mother's cold condemnation and is excited by the prospect. Except the plantation does not have the same feeling of safety and peace as it did when she was younger. If this Sara had stuck around for longer then the first 40 pages or so, I would have been a lot happier. As it stood her ability to see and talk to ghosts got pushed aside except when in relation to her Gran or Jonathan (and occasionally Katherine) and with it seemed to go a lot of her personality.
Sara's behavior and personality becomes erratic, as her obsession deepens and she grows desperate. She doesn't act in what people would call a 'sane' manner at all and I can't help but wonder that Julie and Sara's personal slave Raina do not call the doctor before she collapses. After her collapse she continues to act strangely and seems to only live so she can find Jonathan again.
The whole romance between Jonathan and Sara is disturbing on certain levels. Reincarnation is meant to be the basis of why Sara reacted so strongly to Maddy's diary, looked so much like her and why Jonathan's ghost was drawn to her. It was also used to explain why Sara was able to time travel back to Maddy's body while reading the diary. Until the very very end the 'love' between Sara and Jonathan only occurres when Sara is Maddy. The end declaration from Jonathan was a deus ex machina that had no supporting evidence throughout the novel.
If the author has left out the reincarnation talk, I think this could have been a better time travel romance. Unfortunately between the perplexing mechanics of the reincarnation, time travel and Sara’s complete personality swap, I was not able to enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. Overall, an interesting twist that I wish had just been done a bit differently.
When Sara Wade inherits her paternal grandmother’s plantation, Harrogate, her mother encourages her to go—despite the fact that it’s unheard of for a single woman to live alone in 1850—because she doesn't want to explain Sara’s embarrassing ability to see ghosts to her friends. Fed up with being offered on the marriage market to less-than-desirable suitors, Sara couldn't be happier to move to the old plantation house for which she has always had a special, if inexplicable, affinity. Not until she arrives at Harrogate does she realize that the house holds more than her freedom; it also holds her destiny with a ghost who loved her in another lifetime and is determined to win her back. But all is not benevolent peace at Harrogate. Another ghost resides there who is just as determined to keep the lovers apart, even if it means killing Sara.