His life began deep within the mountains of North Carolina. Edward Caulfield was a dedicated craftsman who appreciated the finer things in his life. As a young man he fell deeply in love and married a beautiful young woman he did not want to live without. Fate took her from him early in his marriage and he lived the rest of his life as a shrine to her. In the twilight of his years he met a troubled young woman and their relationship turned the tide for them both. In his efforts to help her, their lives were changed forever learning from each other. In a world filled with romance, deceit, and sorrow Edward left her a legacy fulfilled with the promise of finding, "The Perfect Rose."
I loved this tale of undying love and dedicated friendship
Tracy Rive of Midwest Book Review
Michael Rivers does an extraordinary job with his modern fiction Moonlight on the Nantahala. It is evocative and it captures so thoroughly the spirit of this part of the Appalachians that I found it easy to picture the setting the around me. I may have an advantage some readers don't have; I am from outside of Asheville and so the areas Rivers speaks of are in my proverbial expanded back yard. In fact, this is part of what drew me to the book, but it was the storyline that made me stay.
Edward is elderly man, still very independent and living on his own with the help of a live-in housekeeper. He lives in a bungalow in town, but walks every day to the house he once shared with his wife Celia on the banks of the Nantahala. One day there is a young woman along the banks. For a time, three years in fact, she and Edward share the space along the bank, each in their own little area, until one day she finds out the property belongs to Edward, and belatedly asks his permission to be on his land.
Over time Lena, Edward and Edwards's housekeeper, and friend, Betty Curtis all begin a wonderful friendship, which includes in a strange fourth, Celia, Edward's long departed wife who he mourns every day and who occupies a place of honor in his daily conversation. The love Edward felt, and still feels for his beloved wife comes across clearly on the page as does his respect and affection for his housekeeper Betty. Also, the relationship between Edward and Lena grows and he sees her like the daughter he and Celia never had.
Lena is married to a philandering no-good man who could care less about her. He is more interested in the power she brings him through her family and the way she looks on his arm. To him it is all about control, control of Lena, control of the family business and unquestioning loyalty, even in the face of dire circumstances from those around him. Needless to say, his actions hurt Lena and that hurts Edward who has a desire to shelter and protect her from the cruelty of the world, especially when that cruelty comes in the form of her husband.
I loved everything about this story. The characters are interesting and are typical of small. They may seem stereotypical to some, but most of the people, especially of the older generation and the generation behind them all know each other, and who is sick, who needs help, and how to reach out to their neighbors in love and friendship. It is a dying tradition, but it is still alive here and there in small communities throughout the area, and it made me want to go searching for the real town Rivers based his fictional town on, even though I live in a relatively small town myself.
Edward is not what most of us picture when thinking of an elderly person, walking four miles a day, round trip to go to his old house and sit on the bank of the Nantahala River. He longs for a glimpse of Celia, whose ghost others have seen, but it is not to be for Edward. Instead of a view of his deceased wife's ghost, he finds a warm friendship that adds to the lives of all who are part of it. I highly recommend this work of modern literature. It is well worth the time it takes to read it and it is not overly long. It can be read in three or four short sittings, or two long ones. Trust me, once you start putting it down will be one of the harder things you will have to do.
Everything comes full circle.
Wonderfully written. The author captured love, friendship, loss, and sorrow beautifully.
The book was a refreshing reminder that true love exists in many forms.
Moonlight on the Nantahala will haunt your soul!
This novel stirred my soul and left me moved beyond belief. The story is almost a memoir of Edward Caulfield's life and the love he had for his beautiful deceased wife, Celia. He shares his haunting tale through visits with a lonely young woman, Lena. Lena has her own troubled past that is detailed within. I felt as if I walked through every memory and heartbreak with the characters.
Timeless and beautiful, almost a romance with a remarkable intertwining of the spiritual world included as well. Five stars is truly not worthy enough to rate how this story spoke to my heart. Rivers has created a book that stands the test of time and I can see his work being enjoyed by other readers for generations to come.