Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Piatkus (18th May 2017)
“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.”
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.
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I had heard so many great great things about this book, and in particular about this author. Nora Roberts is a household name and I was excited to continue my psychological/thriller binge reading with The Obsession - but alas, it wasn't meant to be! I wish I had loved this book, but there were a handful of things that stopped it from being great for me.
Having not read any of her other books, I don’t know if her writing style is the same in every book - but I just really couldn’t connect with the writing in this book. To me it felt extremely choppy and disconnected - I thought at the beginning maybe it’ll get better once I’m further into the book, but sadly this stayed all the way through to the end. There were too many instances in this book where I had to stop and re-read sentences and whole paragraphs, which meant this book took me longer to read than usual and I just kept thinking I really really don’t like the writing.
The storyline and plot of the book itself is something I have read before and that’s not an issue with me, as long as the writing and the characters stand out and I can enjoy the book. Sadly, given the writing style, and the characters (which I’ll move on to in a second) didn’t do this for me at all.
The main character Naomi felt bland, lacking any real pull, yet she is portrayed as being very different from any other woman in the new town she’s moved into. This portrayal comes from the viewpoint of her love interest Xander, who’s views on her, comments about her, really niggled at me on being borderline sexist. Things Xander found extremely attractive about her - the fact she didn’t need a huge purse anywhere she went, the fact that she knows a little bit about cars, or that she can get ready within 10 minutes and not take ages and ages. These finer points that he appreciates about her would have been fine, if it weren’t for the fact he made it sound like a negative and unattractive thing if any females did that.
With Xander himself, he started out as a promising character, and a good love interest for Naomi but then you know.. the above happened and I kept rolling my eyes at him. He was probably meant to come across as strong, unafraid, protective, but instead to me he felt really confrontational and rude at times in the way he addressed Naomi, in telling her to “get over” certain things and be honest about what she really wants to say. There’s nothing wrong with nudging someone to be honest, but it’s not a right for you to have and not something you should verbally force someone else to talk about - and these scenes with Xander and Naomi really annoyed me. The only character I really did like was her brother Mason, who came across as a sensible character. The rest just blended into the background for me.
Another thing that I didn’t quite enjoy was the sheer amount of time and description was spent on the renovation of the house, the interior and work etc it took away from the story - you could literally take all that out and it wouldn’t make a difference to the book in the slightest. The final nail in the coffin for me with this story, was the predictability of who the killer was, I had, like many it seems, already guessed from the start who it would be - the culmination of this book though, the ending and the final scenes including the revelation, was just so rushed and anti-climatic, literally over and done with, within a few pages.
All these little things took away from the book overall, as it meant there was no real build up or suspense, though this book is a thriller, for me there were no gripping, edge of the seat moments. The romance was lacking, the writing wasn’t my cup of tea, and the characters and storyline didn’t stand out. The main points that should have made this story amazing, just weren’t there for me and though it’s a shame my first Nora Roberts book was a huge disappointment, I will check another one of her books out and hope for a better story.