“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.”
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.
Nora Roberts has this amazing way off making thrillers a complete comfort read. Some of my favorite aspects of this book were the moments that focused on the house, and ways in which Naomi was building a life for herself in (). The mystery was long, drawn, and detailed–but I found the final confrontation slightly rushed. The first pages of this book were so atmospheric, eerie, and disturbing–I wanted an equal feeling for the climax of the novel and I found myself a little disappointed. I did figure out, around the right time the reader should if they will, who the killer was and why they were motivated to commit crimes tied so closely to Naomi and her family’s heinous past. The romance was sweet and realistic, and I happened to like that Xander was just a GOOD guy, although there were times when he said just the wrong thing to the heroine. Some examples: “are you stupid?” (more than once, unfortunately) and “just simmer down” (when the heroine found out she was tied to several murders dating back ten years). The rushed ending and sometimes off-putting male dialogue are why I knocked it down a star. But all in all, much like always with Nora’s stories, I loved the mystery, the setting, and the heroine. I’m excited to comfort read more of her romantic suspense novels.