Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review: Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Title: Whiskey Beach
Author: Nora Roberts

Read copy: Paperback
Published: April 16, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Adult
ISBN: 039916460X
ISBN-13: 9780399164606

For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore - and its secrets.

To summer tourists, it's the crown jewel of the town's stunning scenery. To the residents of Whiskey Beach, it's landmark and legend. To Eli Landon, it's home...

A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigation after being accused of murdering his soon-to-be ex-wife. And though there was never enough evidence to have him arrested, his reputation is in tatters as well as his soul. He need sanctuary. He needs Bluff House.

While Eli's beloved grandmother is in Boston, recuperating from a nasty fall, Abra Walsh has card for Bluff House, among her other jobs as yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist. She is a woman with an open heart and a wide embrace, and no one is safe from her special, some would say over-bearing, brand of nurturing - including Eli.

He begins to count on Abra for far more than her cooking, cleaning, and massage skills, and starts to feel less like a victim - and more like the kind of man who can finally solve the murder of his wife and clear his name. But Bluff House's many mysteries are a siren song to someone intent on destroying Eli and reaping the rewards. He and Abra will become entangled in a centuries-old net of rumors and half-truths that could pull them under the thunderous waters of Whiskey Beach...

My rating:

Second winner in a row, I'm really on a roll here. 😉

I can always count on Nora Roberts (in all her incarnations) to deliver a solid, gripping read that will keep me entertained, guessing, sighing, cursing (sometimes), and flipping the pages yearning to know what happens next.

And this new installment in her writing opus sure didn't disappoint. Actually it surprised me. Surprised, because she chose a different path to her story. In the way of the hero being the center point of the plot, in the way of the hero being the main character, in the way of the hero being in danger, in the way of the hero being the most damaged, the most brooding, the most hurt of the pair. That spot of the 'main' character the plot revolves around is usually (in mostly all romance novels, be it straight romance or romantic suspense) reserved for the heroine.

Not this time and I'm really glad for it. This 'new' offered a nice respite from the template, if I dare call it that way, and it offered a nice respite from being constantly stuck in a female's mind—this story is (mostly) told from a man's point of view through a third-person narrative, so we get to see what the not knowing, being in danger, having the world turned upside down, having the rug pulled from under the feet...feels like from a male perspective. I'm not sure I make much sense with this, but hey, I felt (read) the difference.

Also, Ms. Roberts also freshened up her story by not having her usual 'I'm tough, I don't need anyone, I don't lean on anyone, leave me alone' type of heroine. Those were starting to get a little old and tiring, so Abra was truly a breath of fresh air. She was bubbly, optimistic to the point of being slightly annoying, new-age-y, pushy, adorable, slightly know-it-all type of person that one cannot help but love from the get go. And I did love her. I'm not saying I wouldn't slap her (tenderly) if she was a real person and I knew her, because she did have a tendency to be annoying at times with her optimism and her positive energy and positive thinking and her mothering, but still she was endearing and adorable and a complete opposite of Ms. Roberts' other heroines.

And I'm more than thankful she didn't turn her hero into one of those heroines. Yes, he was broody, yes, he wanted to be left alone at the beginning, but being accused of murder, being dogged by an asshole detective, being the center of gossip and media attention for a year, probably does that to a person. He didn't keep being a broody-leave-me-alone kind of guy, he let the heroine push, mother, and annoy him, he let her in, and he let her help him heal her.

God, I loved the story, as you've probably realized already. 😉

Enough with the romance aspect of the story, which was sweet, sexy, adorable and fun to read, let's get to the suspense part of the story. Which was also great, let me tell you. I had no idea who did it, though I had a pretty good idea who the other one, the intruder was, but I had no idea who killed Eli's wife. And I still have no idea how he figured it out, and that bugs me a little, but I'll get over it, because I'm glad I didn't spot the murderer from the get go. I always suspected the lover, but I was wrong, and I'm very happy about it. I also felt the other sub-plot, the intruder, the obsession, etc. remained a little loose around the edges, I needed some real closure on that, but hey, it helped solve the real question, the first murder, so let's not nitpick.

All in all, a great NR story, gripping, intense, sexy, suspenseful, romantic, 'tight'...I could've done without the large print though, but that's on me. I learned my lesson, read the description thoroughly before purchasing a book online. 😉


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