Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: The Obsession by Nora Roberts

The Obsession by Nora Roberts
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 9780399175169
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

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. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly 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 the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

Nobody mixes light and shadow quite like Nora Roberts. The Obsession is a compelling story of the terrifying evil humans are capable of and the incredible strength, courage, and heart it takes to survive and thrive even after facing that darkness.

The Obsession is a story that’s easy to fall into, thanks in no small part to its heroine. Naomi went through hell as a child, discovering that her father was a serial rapist and murderer. We spend a significant amount of page time with Naomi in the past, seeing how her life changed because of her father’s crimes. This is important, because it sets the stage for who Naomi becomes as an adult. She’s strong, so incredibly strong, but the past hurts her, causing her to throw up walls right and left. Naomi has never fully healed from the traumas of her childhood because she tries to keep the past behind a firmly shut and locked door. What I loved about The Obsession was watching Naomi grow as a character. She comes alive over the course of the story and faces her demons to come out stronger. I’ll also add that her love for photography is almost a story in itself, and “watching” Naomi work was one of my favorite things about this book. Her artist’s eye is what makes Sunrise Cove irresistible to her, and that leads to Naomi putting down roots for the first time in her adult life. This move is the catalyst for her change, though the timely arrival of a lovable rescue dog and a handsome mechanic don’t hurt.

Xander is a classic Nora Roberts hero. He’s a sexy, talented mechanic with a successful business, a good nature, a love of books, a protective instinct, and has good, solid roots in his hometown. In other words, he’s irresistible. Somehow, even though Xander is pretty much the perfect guy, he never feels like a cardboard perfect hero. He takes one look at Naomi and is intrigued, and though she resists the idea of falling for him, it’s pretty clear Naomi’s fighting a losing battle. They fit one another like lock and key, and their smooth slide into love is by turns sweet and sensual.

There’s a solid thread of suspense that twines through The Obsession, rounding out the story well. The person obsessed with Naomi seemed obvious to me, but – for me – this doesn’t significantly detract from the story because the heart and soul of the book is Naomi’s personal journey. The romance and the danger were solid additions to this, as was the absolutely wonderful cast of supporting characters who charmed me from the very first page. Naomi’s brother, her uncles, and the friends she makes keep this story light on its feet even when times are at their darkest. All in all, I found The Obsession to be an incredibly interesting read that I absolutely hated to put down.

Trigger Warning: The Obsession contains scenes of violence against women from the perpetrator's point of view.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.