Sunday, January 29, 2017

Review: The Reef by Nora Roberts

Title: The Reef
Author: Nora Roberts

Read copy: Paperback
Published: September 1, 2009
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425231844
ISBN-13: 9780425231845

Marine archaeologist Tate Beaumont has a passion for treasure-hunting. Over the years, she and her father have uncovered many fabulous riches, but one treasure has always eluded them: Angelique's Curse—a jeweled amulet heavy with history, dark with legend, and tainted with blood. In order to find this precious artifact, the Beaumonts reluctantly form a partnership with salvagers Buck and Matthew Lassiter.

Having to share this dream is more than Tate can bear, but she has little choice. As the Beaumonts and Lassiters pool their resources to locate Angelique's Curse, the Caribbean waters thicken and darken with shadowy deceptions and hidden threats. Their partnership is placed in jeopardy when Matthew refuses to share information—including the truth behind his father's mysterious death several years earlier. For now, Tate and Matthew continue their uneasy alliance—until danger and desire begin to rise to the surface...

My rating:

Eight years ago, when she was twenty and full of optimism and naivete, Tate Beaumont gave her heart to Matthew Lassiter, the man she met searching for wrecks in the Caribbean, only for him to throw that heart back to her, broken.

Now, a respectable marine archeologist, Tate hates to see her parents being charmed by Matthew and his uncle once more, in their pursuit of the elusive gem Matthew's father gave his life for, Angelique's Curse. Despite what Matthew's uncle might think, there is no curse, but what people bring onto themselves by being foolish.

But there is someone, beside Matthew's uncle, who believe the legend and myth of the mysterious necklace. Someone who's determined to do anything to possess it, someone who's already killed once...

First: the blurb is beyond deceiving. Second: Nora Roberts is at her best when she's mixing and matching her genres. She's incomparable when it comes to just the perfect amount of romance, drama, and suspense...And characterization. I love her heroines with all their issues, their stubbornness, their independence, and their hidden vulnerabilities that only the right man can put to rest and cherish at the same time. And yes, Nora Roberts can write just the right man for the job, with his easy-going façade that hides strangely-layered depths and a core of steel. Some call her heroes Betas, I call them Alphas in disguise. Yes, her stories are always centered around the heroine, true, but every heroine needs a hero to walk beside her, or stand in front of her when needed.

And this novel is no different. Both Tate and Matthew were complicated, deeply-layered, deeply-scarred creatures that somehow perfectly complimented each other in every way. They shared a past—as I started reading and discovered Tate is only twenty, I feared I'd be disappointed with both the hero and heroine barely in their adulthood, but I should not have fretted or doubted—a past the reader is privy to, beside all the (good or bad, depends on the point of view) decisions they'd made. And it was that past that shaped them, turned them into who they were in the present, and who they'd become in the future.
Yes, they each had their share of issues, problems, and demons, and yes, they needed to confront all those issues and talk them through (it took a while)...But it was all those layers, and issues, and problems, and their shared past that made them real, realistic, not only figments of a writer's imagination, and not merely fictional characters.
I loved them together, and I loved them apart. They both had agency outside of their romance, they were separate entities, driving the plot and story forward, either individually or as a couple.
And the rest of the supporting cast, few as they were, were an entity themselves, adding layers and depth to an already full-bodied, engaging story.

The suspense was spot-on, the villain nicely evil and just the right amount of crazy, the added pinch of paranormal hitting just the right spot, the writing amazing, with the images of underwater life and hidden treasures vivid and enthralling, making the reader believe he/she was there alongside the treasure-hunting party, and the pacing wonderful, although not entirely "spotless".

A truly wonderful story.


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