Moonlight Over Manhattan
By Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: November 28, 2017
Reviewed by Janga
With her brother Daniel and Molly Parker planning their wedding (New York, Actually) and her twin Fliss and Seth Carlyle settling into newly-wed bliss (Holiday in the Hamptons), Harriet Knight’s life is changing. She has decided that it is time for her to overcome her shyness and step out from the protection with which her siblings surrounded her. The holidays seem a good time to begin her self-improvement program, so she has declared the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas a time when each day she will challenge herself to do one thing on her list of Things Harriet Knight Wouldn’t Normally Do. Online dating is one of those things, but thirty minutes into her third bad date, she is doing another of those things—climbing out the window of the ladies’ room with the help of her new best friend, the loquacious Natalie the waitress. Unfortunately, the jump landing Harriet’s escape requires leads to a twisted ankle, which forces her to visit the emergency room, another thing Harriet doesn’t normally do.
Dr. Ethan Black is the attending physician in the emergency room. His father and his grandfather are primary care physicians, and his mother is a pediatrician—all happily practicing in upstate New York. But Ethan prefers the city and the excitement of leading a team in a busy trauma center. Harriet is not his usual patient. Her smile, her gratitude, and her normalcy all make her different from his usual emergencies. He thinks she is lovely and interesting, but Ethan is not looking for romance. He never expects to see Harriet again.
Is he ever wrong! When his sister Karen has to leave town because of a family emergency, she asks Ethan to dog-sit. He is not happy with the idea, but he loves his sister and his niece and can’t refuse the favor. Karen promises that Madi the dog will be no trouble and that with her regular dog-walker showing up twice a day to walk Madi, Ethan will have little to do. To his shock, he returns home the first day of life with Madi to discover the dog, who doesn’t cope well with change and loneliness, has trashed his apartment. Dr. Hot loses his cool, shouting his frustration and making Madi cower and Harriet, who arrived on the scene just before Ethan, stammer, a humiliation that sends her fleeing with Madi.
Abject apologies smooth things over, and when Ethan pleads with Harriet to become his live-in dog-sitter, she agrees, although not without reservations. The workaholic doctor discovers how pleasant it is to come home to Harriet’s serene, nurturing presence. She even nurses him through a bout with the flu. Harriet is cautious, but she finds Ethan irresistible. Soon romance is blooming amid the December chill. But Ethan, with a failed marriage behind him for which he blames himself and the demands of his job, is convinced that he cannot be what Harriet needs. Harriet, scarred from her relationship with a verbally and emotionally abusive father, will not allow herself to settle for less than a full commitment. The situation looks dire, but with a little help from their friends and family, these lovers may overcome the obstacles.
This is the sixth book in Morgan’s From Manhattan With Love series, and it is another winner. Harriet is a dear--genuinely sweet, vulnerable, and innocent to a rare degree. It is easy to root for her to gain self-confidence, to become more of a risk-taker, and to find the kind of happiness her siblings have found. Ethan is a bit more difficult because he will not allow himself to become emotionally open, but his love for his family and his friendship with his colleague Susan give hints of the caring man he is beneath the image he has constructed. His fears may be better hidden than Harriet’s, but they are no less a force in his life.
Morgan has a gift for creating characters who have depth and believability. She does it again in what appears to be the final book in an excellent series. I loved Harriet before I started the book, and I learned to love Ethan. Fans of the series will be pleased that Daniel and Fliss are a natural part of the story without taking attention away from the central romance. Ethan’s friend Susan is a scene-stealer and a wonderful addition to the book. And the conclusion left me smiling as I wiped a tear from my eye.
If you like contemporary romance that is sweet and sensual and with enough Christmas trimmings to make it a satisfying holiday read, you should add this one to your TBR. I’m always sad to bid farewell to a Sarah Morgan series, but I look forward to How to Keep a Secret, a multi-generational story set on Martha’s Vineyard and scheduled for release on July 10, 2018.