Click Here to Buy the Book

June 26, 2005
Reviewed by Susan Adams

Women Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places.

At age 36, Lavinia Gibbs realizes she is not in love with her fiancé and breaks off the engagement. To save her upper-crust family from embarrassment, she sets out for Paris. There Lavinia finally discovers the kind of unbridled passion that has eluded her thus far. In Twilight (HarperCollins, $24.95), Katherine Mosby has written an intensely romantic middle-age bildungsroman. After a drawn-out epistolary romance with Gaston Lesseur, the roguish, shaggy-haired banker who has hired Lavinia to catalogue a late relative’s property, the couple falls madly in love. In exchanging notes, Lavina and Gaston stage an elaborate courtship full of poetic double entendres. “Dear Mademoiselle Gibbs,” writes Gaston, “Are you keeping warm this winter? Le Figaro talks about severe cold yet I mistaking the radiator for the rasp of an adder.” But Lavinia’s charming paramour is not unencumbered. Lavinia’s struggle to resolve her feelings of betrayal and longing makes this novel all the more poignant.

Mosby’s style evokes the period in which the book is set: the late 1930s, as World War II is brewing. In some places her prose reads like poetry — specific, beautiful, full of rich, carefully chosen metaphors. As Lavinia and her lover dance together for the first time in a room lit by twilight, Mosby writes, “It was her favorite time of day, and the only one that seemed at all magical. Even as a little girl she had loved its hushed descent, transforming the world into a fleeting dream of beauty and blue shadows, full with unnamed possibilities.”

Copyright 2005, The Washington Post Company