I have read many books written by Nora Roberts over the years. The writing of the story might seem similar in her book; sequentially I mean but she manages to keep things fresh with the characters and settings.
A story about an ambitious girl Lil Chance befriends Cooper Sullivan when they are kids; the first summer Cooper spends with his grandparents. He comes back every year regularly for the next few years. Lil and Cooper are close and as they grow up their feelings change and they end up in a romantic relationship. Cooper breaks Lil’s heart and she throws herself into following her career ambitions. Cooper moves to his grandparents’ farm after his grandfather has an accident; this brings Lil and Cooper into each other’s lives again.
The book begins when Lil and Cooper are kids and it focuses on their relationship with their family and with each other. This part is a little slow plot-wise because not much is happening but it is necessary to establish the bond that Lil and Cooper have. The setting of the story, the Black Hills in South Dakota plays a major part in the story as it is an important place for the characters, especially for Lil. Lil is a wildlife biologist and sets up a sanctuary for animals on her family’s land just as she wanted while Cooper struggled a bit with what he wanted versus his father’s expectations. I liked the cute, innocent love story they have in the beginning, and even when they reconnect the bond between them seems completely natural.
The story becomes suspenseful when Lil is stalked by someone who is threatening the life she has built for herself. Cooper is an ex-cop and he is adamant about helping her and keeping her safe till the person is caught. This is where the story picks up its pace and scary things start happening around Lil because of a man and his beliefs. I liked Lil’s characterization. She knows from a very young age which direction she wants to go in and she sticks to it which is in contrast to Cooper. She has made her dreams come true and she loves her work and life. She is bitter about how things ended with Cooper 12 years back because she believed that they were meant to be.
The first introduction of Cooper makes you a little sad with the things going on with his parents and the way he acts like an adult even though he is 11. He struggles with his family issues throughout the story and with himself too. The explanation he gives Lil about breaking up with her back then makes sense in a way but still not completely so Lil is right to be mad about it. The point of view of the stalker/murderer is downright creepy at times but intriguing because it made me want to find out who he was and it wasn’t an obvious choice.
I have to say this is not my favorite Nora Roberts book and like some of her other works I might not read this one again. I liked the love story and the suspense element of the book and the characters. The pacing was a little slow for me; even though the setting is important I could never completely get into it or imagine it which disappointed me a little bit. In my opinion, overall it is a good book but it didn’t match some of the other works by Roberts which I have read. It was a good escapist read for this weekend.