BOOK REVIEW: Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

Moonlight Over Manhattan
(From Manhattan with Love #6)
By: Sarah Morgan

Publisher: HQ
Publication Date: 5 October 2017
Format: Ebook, 384 pages

Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan made for a fantastic start to the festive season, as a shy dog walker meets a charismatic doctor.

In a particularly humorous opening, we see Harriet Knight struggling to climb out of a restaurant window in a bid to escape from her latest date. This is part of her ‘Challenge Harriet’ campaign, in which she strives to do one thing every day that pushes her out of her comfort zone. This time it’s internet dating, with her companion doing nothing but talk about himself and suggesting that he might go home with her. Struggling out of the window becomes yet another challenge, made more difficult by the high heels she never ever wears. In a less than graceful tumble, Harriet lands awkwardly on her ankle and instead ends up with a one way ticket to A&E.

Upon arrival at the emergency department we meet Ethan Black, the tall and handsome doctor who leads emergency procedures and has a knack for dealing with difficult patients. His evening has been particularly testing and so he is surprised to come across such a polite patient as Harriet. He can tell straight away that this wasn’t your typical drunken injury, and is even concerned that Harriet’s quiet nature is an indication of abuse. Once satisfied that she is patched up and not just there for pain relief drugs, Ethan sends her on her way thinking he’ll never see her again.

Pleased at having been treated by such a kind doctor, Harriet returns to her job of walking the dogs of New York. She feels more at home with dogs than with people, and is always happy to help, often fostering dogs for the local shelter until they find forever homes. As such, when a long standing client asks for twice daily walks due to a family emergency, Harriet is happy to step in and lend a hand. What she isn’t expecting is for the dog’s temporary home to be with Dr Black, who couldn’t say no to helping his sister despite not knowing anything about dogs.

When Ethan returns home to find his apartment trashed by the dog, his patience is tested, putting him on the wrong side of Harriet as he shouts at both her and the dog. She stands her ground, defending the dog and threatening to take it home with her if he can’t look after it, leading to him suggesting her stay there as a live-in sitter. What follows is a slow friendship formed because of the dog, with Harriet starting to develop feelings for the good doctor that scare her more than any of her challenges.

As a protagonist, Harriet was incredibly relatable, especially for someone who has suffered the same shyness. She has overcome a stammer, which she is devastated to see return in her first encounter with Ethan. It makes being in a room with him more of a challenge, and one she is determined to beat. As she progresses through her daily Challenge Harriet tests, she visibly grows as a character and you can see her strength of will get tougher, less likely to be pushed around by others. Her heart is pure and she is dedicated to the dogs she looks after, possessing an innocence which is endearing without being naive.

Ethan is intrigued by this innocence, being surrounded by pessimism and cynicism in his day job, making him wary of Harriet and any ulterior motive she might hold toward him. With his sister keen for him to settle down, he is determined not to give Harriet any false signals, as a relationship is definitely not on the cards after his failure at marriage. He doesn’t cope well with failure, always striving to be a success in everything that he does. If he can’t make a relationship succeed then he isn’t interested in pursuing it, especially not at the expense of Harriet’s feelings.

Watching both characters strengthen each other was heartwarming, with it being easy from the start to see how right they were for each other. The chemistry is immediate, yet Morgan still manages to make us question the outcome as she plants various dramas between them that might not be overcome. Complementing all of this is the sprinkling of festive magic throughout, as the plot moves closer to Christmas and the prospect of both characters spending the festive season alone. The festivities are subtle and not used as a gimmick, making this the perfect gentle introduction to seasonal reading.

A wonderful romance novel that makes great use of pet power to bring a couple together, this festive read was one of my favourites this year. The characters complement each other perfectly and are created with enough detail to fully appreciate where they’ve come from and the changes that they bring about in each other. You don’t need to have read the other books in the series to understand this one, but I am keen to go back and read them in order to discover more of Morgan’s romantic fiction.




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