The Night Hope Died
18 years after her best friend Hope Lavelle was murdered, and her family made a hasty exit from town, Tory Bodeen (Claire Forlani - Shadows in the Sun) returns to the town of Progress to set up shop, despite certain people not happy to see her back. But Tory has always had a supernatural ability, she has visions, and ever since the 23rd August 1989 she has had reoccurring visions of the night Hope died and as the anniversary of that day rolls around those visions are getting stronger. At the same time she finds herself becoming romantically involved with Hope's brother, Cade (Oliver Hudson - Journey Back to Christmas), who has always had a soft spot for her, whilst Hope's sister, Faith (Josie Davis - Secrets of My Stepdaughter), also returns to town and starts carrying on with Tory's cousin Wade (Chad Willett - The Locket).
"Carolina Moon" is in many ways very similar to another Nora Roberts' novel, that of "Tribute", as they both focus on a young woman who has visions of the past and in doing so tries to unravel a mystery from the past. In this case we have Tory returning to her home town of Progress 18 years after her friend Hope was murdered and accusations of who was guilty were doing the rounds. And having returned to the family home not only does she meet plenty of objections from those not keen on seeing a Bodeen back in Progress but she also has to deal with the visions of that night and what happened to Hope. There are also some sub plots as we learn that Tory's father was physically abusive back then, Hope's sister, Faith, whilst also feeling guilty over the night Hope died has a thing for Tory's cousin, Wade, plus of course there's some romance as Hope's brother Cade makes it clear he loves Tory.
To put it simply "Carolina Moon" is typical Nora Roberts because we have Tory trying to solve the mystery of what happened all those years ago whilst falling in love with Cade who supports her in trying to uncover the truth when his Mum is trying to run her out of town. And as such there is a side to this movie which is very obvious, all of this drama plays out in a less than surprising manner as Tory's fears cause her romantic issues, self blame also gets in the way whilst these visions grow in intensity as she gets ever closer to solving the mystery. But then there is an extra element and the actual mystery of what happened all those years earlier is not as clean cut as you might first think and it does make for a different angle.
The trouble is that when it comes to solving what happened all those years earlier and who is responsible for the death of Hope it suddenly jumps from not knowing to knowing. Basically it doesn't do a solid enough job of pointing the finger of suspicion causing it to feel like it has suddenly been picked out of the blue. Yet ironically the person who is to blame is the one you can guess when we meet all the people in the town of Progress when Tory returns, if that makes sense.
What this all boils down to is that "Carolina Moon" is a typical adaptation of a Nora Roberts' novel. As such it is almost a case that it is more interested in delivering screen appeal than the story and that means whilst the likes of Claire Forlani and Oliver Hudson look good the actual storyline ends up a little weak.