Thank you Penguin First To Read for providing an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: April, 12th, 2016
Synopsis: 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 falling, 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.
I’ve been a fan of Nora Roberts for thirty-some-odd years, and with each book I read it continually amazes me that the quality of writing of this prolific author always is of the highest standard, even though she’s now coming out with several books a year: usually one romantic-suspense standalone, a paperback trilogy, and two in her In Death series under her pseudonym J.D. Robb. She also usually contributes at least a couple of short stories or novellas to various anthologies. I’m happy to say that in my humble opinion Obsession is a shining example of why Nora Roberts is a bestselling author.
The story immediately kicks into high gear, when an almost 12-year old Naomi discovers what her strict and controlling father has been doing in the root cellar. The plucky preteen shows more courage and determination than many adults would if faced with similar circumstances. She’s forced to grow up very quickly after her father’s crimes are brought to light, but she and her younger brother Mason are loved, cared for, and protected by their uncle and his husband. Sadly, their mother never truly recovers, and in many respects young Naomi becomes her caretaker.
When the plot moves to 17 years later, Naomi is a successful photographer who after years of being on the move, surprisingly finds herself buying a house, adopting a dog, and settling into the community of Sunrise Cove. It’s there she meets Xander: business owner, mechanic, singer, and book collector. Yep. A true renaissance man. Like all her male protagonists, Xander is definitely has an alpha-type personality, but that’s okay because so does Naomi. They both believe in telling it like it is, although Naomi is reluctant to share her family background for obvious reasons. Their romance and the way it develops is mesmerizing and utterly believable. They’re both the type of people you’d like to have as friends in real life.
Another reason why I love Nora Roberts is the way she fleshes out her secondary characters which usually makes me as emotionally invested in them as I am in her main characters. I found this to be the same case here, especially with Naomi’s brother Mason. While he doesn’t play as big a part in the story as Naomi, he’s intriguing enough that I’m hoping he gets his own story.
The actual mystery doesn’t really come into play until halfway through the book, and it wasn’t hard to guess the identity of the killer, which is why I’ve given this only 4 1/2 stars. But honestly, the characters are so engaging that it doesn’t really matter. Naomi’s backstory and how she’s trying to come to terms with what happened, while for the first time in her adult life she’s lowering her barriers and letting people in, makes for some pretty compelling reading itself.
Overall, Obsession is a fantastic read which should appeal to longtime fans of the author as well as readers who haven’t tried her before and are looking for a solid romantic-suspense novel. I always think it’s the sign of a great book when I’m still thinking about it several days after I’ve finished it and that’s turned out to be the case here. Obsession is full of the beautiful detail and compelling characters which are hallmarks of Nora Roberts and will pull you right into the story and not let go until you’ve reached the end. It’s a must read for any fan of this genre!