Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: Birthright by Nora Roberts

Title: Birthright
Author: Nora Roberts

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: March 30, 2004
Publisher: Jove
ISBN: 0515137111
ISBN-13: 9780515137118

On a hot July afternoon, a worker at an Antietam Creek construction site drives the blade of his backhoe into a layer of soil—and strikes a 5,000-year-old human skull. The discovery draws plenty of attention and a lot of controversy. It also changes the life of one woman in ways she never expected...

As an archaeologist, Callie Dunbrook knows a lot about the past. But her own past is about to be called into question. Recruited for her expertise on the Antietam Creek dig, she encounters danger—as a cloud of death and misfortune hangs over the project, and rumors fly that the site is cursed. She finds a passion that feels equally dangerous, as she joins forces in her work with her irritating, but irresistible, ex-husband, Jake. And when a strange woman approaches her, claiming to know a secret about Callie’s privileged Boston childhood, some startling and unsettling questions are raised about her very identity.

Searching for answers, trying to rebuild, Callie finds that there are deceptions and sorrows that refuse to stay buried. And as she struggles to put the pieces back together, she discovers that the healing process comes with consequences—and that there are people who will do anything to make sure the truth is never revealed.


My rating:

When 5,000-year-old bones are discovered in a field in Maryland, archaeologist Dr. Callie Dunbrook is called to head the excavation project. Unfortunately, her ex-husband, and love of her life, decides to join as lead anthropologist.

Soon, though, the pain of the implosion of their marriage is forgotten, as a stranger starts claiming Callie is her long-lost, kidnapped daughter, and death starts plaguing their archaeology project.


This book was classic Nora Roberts. Wonderful, realistic, flawed characters, drama, explosive chemistry and passion, and intriguing suspense rife with mystery and murder.

I loved the two protagonists, and I absolutely loved their second-chance romance. It was obvious they cared deeply about one another, but never bothered to actually get to know each other while they were married, never bothered to talk things through, hence the implosion. This second time around, thanks to Jake's stubborn refusal to let Callie go a second time, their relationship finally got a chance to grow beyond the stage of sexual attraction and frenzy, and they finally managed to communicate.
I found the initial conflict (and what led to their separation in the first place) a little out of sync with everything I got to know about both characters, especially Callie. I didn't understand her inability to trust him, her inability to realize his feelings, even though he failed to verbalize them. It didn't really gel with her past, since there were no real issues connected to "the conflict" in said past. And since the reader never really gets a chance to see the two before the start of the story, this "mystery" was never resolved.
But their romance worked, because it evolved, it grew in front of the reader's eyes, as the two got to know each other better and maybe for the first time.
And as all NR romances, it had its sweet moments, its dramatic and angsty moments, it had its fights, and it had sizzling chemistry and passion.

The rest of the cast could've easily paled in comparison to the two protagonists, but that's not how Nora Roberts rolls. Each had their own personality, their own issues, their own demons, and their own things in common with the rest, making their relationships and interactions shine no matter what.
The secondary romance was cute and sweet, especially compared to the main one, and the intricacies of the connections between the cast a real pleasure to read.

And then we come to the suspense. It could've easily worked without it, but the suspense added that extra layer of intrigue, mystery, and yes, danger. At first, it looked like two random sub-plots thrown into the story together, until, in the end, it turned out it was all connected.
The subject matter was chilling (and once again easily translated into out every day "normal" lives), and the lengths, the culprits went to to keep the truth buried, even more so.
The suspense elements kept us guessing, kept the characters on their toes, and kept the two protagonists occupied with more pressing matters than fighting. ;)



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