Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review: The Obsession by Nora Roberts

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.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the 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 as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away. (Summary from Goodreads)

 It's probably ridiculous how many of Nora Roberts' books I've read. Under the influence of my mom, I've been reading them since I was in middle school. You can judge me all you want, but I think she's a terrific writer. She gets you interested in the story right away, makes you relate to the characters, fall in love with the tall, handsome, sarcastic guy, and raise your blood pressure during the final conflict. It happens, and you care. Every time.

Nora's newest novel, The Obsession, is no exception, but it is exceptional. She reels you in at the beginning of the novel as you meet young Naomi trying to make her father laugh by following him tot he creek at night. When she ends up discovering he has a terrible secret, she makes a quick decision that saves a life (and probably many more) and changes her and her family's futures forever.

As you continue reading you get little glimpses of Naomi's life as she deals with the consequences of her father's crimes. This progression provides all you need to know about Naomi's backstory and character growth, and boy does she grow.

The main part of the story finds Naomi in a small town in Washington state, a professional photographer who has spent the majority of her adult life as a nomad, living out of her car and hotel rooms, taking pictures all over the world. But something about the town and the ocean view has prompted her to spontaneously buy an old house, a house that needs a lot of work. She almost hits a dog on the side of the road and ends up taking him in, although it's definitely not her idea. Little by little she ends up setting down roots. Honestly, this was the only part of the story that I had trouble with. Most of it was needed, but Naomi's daily life got a little repetitive, slowing the pace of the story. I enjoy the sweet, slow romance as she falls in love with the dog, the house, the boy, and the town, but it went on slightly too long.

I knew long before the end who the stalker/serial killer was going to be, and I wish Naomi would have figured it out before the final face off. But I understood the point that he'd made such little effect on her that she had barely remembered him, hadn't even considered him as a possibility. And the scene made me perfectly anxious for the dog, for Xander, and for Naomi. Nora is much more than a cheesy romance novelist. She's brilliant, and if you need proof - it's right here, in this book.

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