Written by Nora Roberts
Published by Berkley, April 12, 2016
My star rating: 3.75
Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.
Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.
Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away (Goodreads)
So this review will be just a little different – but fun! I actually did a buddy read with my bookish sister Robin. I met her over on Books Amino where she is known as The Other Weasley. I started talking to her just over a year ago and we have talked every day since. Now one of the reasons we get along is that our reading tastes are so similar. I love talking details about books with her because we point things out to each other that we didn’t notice before. When we did a buddy reread of the ACOTAR series we had pages upon pages of our very detailed discussions! I would have posted it but, lets be real, it would have taken you all weeks to get through it! So the first part of this will be my review and then the second part will be hers 🙂
It has been a very long time since I’ve read a Nora Roberts book! I absolutely adore her and have read 12+ books she’s written. My favourites of hers are ones that include some paranormal elements. This one was about a women trying to live her life after finding out her father was a serial killer as a young child. And by that, I mean she literally found the woman that her father was torturing. I found this book both great and mediocre at the same time.
First of all and, as always, the characters were AMAZING! Nora Roberts has a way with creating these wonderful fully dimensional characters who you feel that you understand completely. You know their personalities, their emotions, just everything. Naomi was a really great character. She was raised in a mentally abusive and controlling home with a mother who was useless. If you can’t tell, I didn’t like the mother – at all. I know that her behaviour was due to her being controlled by her husband and then the depression afterwards. But she just made me so angry. But Naomi was written so well, allowing her fears and uncertainties change the climate of her day to day life. Her brother Mason was also great! So smart – so smart! Picking up on the small things that a kid of his age shouldn’t. Then later we got to see him as a professional and protective person which was wonderful. Naomi’s relationship with Xander was near perfection. The speed of their relationship threw me off but all in all I loved how the two of them worked together. Xander is my kind of guy! But how easily he handled her broken past was what made me adore him. Instead of letting Naomi run away from her past, he forced her to face it head on with his support, letting her know that it was awful but they can beat it together. She mets a woman named Jenny and I loved the female friendship aspect. It was so sweet how easily they fit.
But it was her uncles that I loved the most. Even though Seth had been cut out of their lives by the controlling serial killer father, he swooped in like nothing ever happened and was everything to raising the two kids. He and his husband gave them strength, stability, support, and love when they needed it most. I honestly wanted more of them!!!!
In the case of this book I found the characters to be the driving point. The plot was interesting but I felt the pace was a little slow through the middle. It could have been condensed a little more. There was just so much detail that I felt was a little unnecessary at times. We knew what they were eating, drinking, seeing, doing – every single detail. It was really well written so it wasn’t boring, but it dragged a little.
And the ending is where this book lost it’s stars. I was about 10 pages away from the end of the book and still hadn’t seen the bad guy yet. Then all of a sudden there it is, and two pages later it’s done. I wish a little less detail had been paid to the middle and more added to the ending. It was one of the most abrupt endings I’ve ever read! But all in all this was a really great read. Nora Roberts remains one of my favourites 🙂
The characters are well done – everyone you meet gives a specific impression and none are one dimensional. Naomi and Mason are amazing examples of perseverance even though they carry different kinds of baggage. I suspect that Mason has more fear about his genetics and his visits with his dad are a way to check in with himself and make sure he stays aware. I can see a book about him focusing on that angle
The Uncles are great characters and I love that Naomi immediately felt safe with Seth as a kid. She had a lot to process and I appreciated now Nora let her issues come up and be dealt with. She had the urge to run but when Xander challenged her, she worked it out for herself. I loved that Xander just told her when she was being stupid and let her tell him about her past. He figured it out but didn’t throw it in her face or stir up drama by telling his friends.
I liked the town itself and her desire to work locally. Her slowly building ties with people and finding her way. I also appreciated that the whole story didn’t revolve around the dad and the horrible things she went through. It was their beginning but not their definition.
I hope you enjoyed the first dual review with my book sister! We plan to do a buddy read every month and review it together. If you notice similarities between our reviews – that’s how closely we think sometimes! I had my portion of the review written before she even sent me hers and I laughed how we talked about some of the same things!
Are you a Nora Roberts fan? Which one of hers was your favourite?
Until next time, happy reading!