The latest ARC this pedometer geek completed was Nora Roberts’ Come Sundown. It was received as a First Reads Goodreads giveaway. This was not the first of her novels to have been read by this reader, nor will it be the last. This pedometer geek reader has read some of her standalone novels like High Noon, and some of her series books like the Key Trilogy as well as some of the Eve Dallas series of novels written under her pseudonym, J.D. Robb. Here is the extended review of Come Sundown.
By Nora Roberts
Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2017
Nora Roberts is a prolific writer. Glancing over the list on the opening pages of the book, this reader quickly counted well over 100 novels published under her name, and more than 40 novels published under her pseudonym, J.D. Robb. Her writing is found in various anthologies as well. (According to her Goodreads author page, she is the author of over 200 works of fiction.)
Roberts writes in various genres: romance, fantasy, suspense, and mainstream fiction, yet her writing is always fresh. She deftly blends genres as well, and this is seen in the story, Come Sundown.
Without providing too many spoilers, it can be said that drama and suspense go hand in hand with this story of two “prodigal locals” who return home to Montana. Each individual has been gone for several years as the novel opens, yet their paths back couldn’t be any different.
The first is Alice Bodine, a young woman. On her way home, she is ready to be reunited with her family after her self-proclaimed emancipation and departure a few years earlier. Alice is kidnapped by a man who uses and abuses her over a period of years, forcing her into a “marriage” to bear him sons.
The second is Callan Skinner, a horseman who has wrangled horses in Hollywood for years. Returning home, he is hired by Bodine Longbow to help with the Bodine family resort and ranch. Dealing with old grudges, accusations of killing young women, and finding a love all play into his story.
Roberts flips between the past and present in telling the story. Their intertwining stories come to a head when Alice finally escapes her captor and finds her way back to civilization and her family. Her twenty-five years of abuse are slowly revealed, pealing back the layers of her brainwashing.
Can Alice recover after the many years of abuse? Will her past haunt not only her, but the present generations? Alice’s life in captivity and her return to her family were some of the most riveting parts of the novel for this reader. I found myself rooting for her, hoping that she might escape the abuse of Sir (this is what he expected her to call him).
With a large cast of characters, the novel is complex, compelling, and suspenseful. It also has enough romance between several characters to keep anyone who loves to read romantic suspense happy, yet the romantic scenes are tasteful and not particularly graphic. There were enough twists and turns to keep a reader reading late into the night, too.
The quotations from various writers (poets, novelists) before each part of the novel were thoughtful beyond the story. Of particular note was the quote from Robert Frost:
“You’re searching, Joe, For things that don’t exist; I mean beginnings. Endings and beginnings—there are no such things. They are only middles.”
Keeping the characters straight might require notes as the Bodine family line is multi-generational, (or at least it was difficult for this reader*), but don’t let this deter anyone from diving into the story.
* This reader usually has two or more books going at any one time and this was not an exception while reading this novel. Because of this, some details of the family connections were probably lost while reading. As a precaution, read it without those distractions.
Since I have several of Nora Roberts’ unread novels in my possession, I think I need to read them, and this time reading each without compromising enjoyment by reading any other book at the same time.