Secrets in the Moss


Secrets in the Moss



On the Mobile River Delta in Alabama, the lives of a widowed psychiatrist and her neighbor intersect with that of a mysterious and reclusive woman. Tilley McMillan lives in Mobile with her young son, Jake. Although she has a thriving psychiatry practice and a circle of close friends, she’s reluctant to start dating again. Her beauty and compassion do not go unnoticed by her neighbor, James Riverton, a successful mortgage broker. He’s attracted to her, but a painful breakup with his fiancée makes him wary of risking rejection. Far from Tilley and James, Cleo Thibodeaux calls the swampy Mobile River Delta home. Raised there by her father after the death of her mother, she spends her days collecting ingredients for poultices that heal wounds or ward off insects. She is mourning a child lost; Cleo’s father took her baby, the product of rape, away. Eventually, Tilley and James start dating, but their relationship is complicated by his fling with a mentally unstable divorcee named Charlotte Weldridge. When Tilley becomes Charlotte’s therapist, she learns unsettling details about James and her patient that she must keep confidential. As Tilley and James discover the extent of Charlotte’s instability, a twist of fate brings Cleo into their lives. Rouse (Highway 90, South) weaves together several storylines in her second novel while introducing a compelling cast of characters. Tilley, the likeable and compassionate heroine, has a solid romantic counterpart in James. Their relationship is sexy and poignant. Cleo manages to overcome a difficult upbringing to become a resourceful woman. Her story helps drive the action in the second half of the book. This is an ambitious narrative that takes many twists and turns (Kirkus).


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