I have read many of Nora Roberts’ books over the years. It’s something comforting and familiar to me to read her works. Carolina Moon is a paranormal romance set in a small town in South Carolina. The story focuses on Tory Bodeen, who returns to South Carolina years after her best friend Hope was murdered there when they were kids, and she left.
The beginning of the book is disturbing to read. It starts by showing the cute friendship of Tory and Hope when they are children. Then, Hope is murdered, and the way that scene is described and even Tory’s situation at that exact time is tough to read. Back to the present, Tory has returned to Progress, South Carolina years later. This is when she meets Cade Lavelle again, Hope’s older brother. They hit it off. Hope was Tory’s best friend and her solace. Her home life was unbearable, her father abusive, and her mother unconcerned about her at all. I think this is one of the reasons why Hope’s loss is felt so deeply by Tory even years later because she was her best friend and her family. Hope was the reason she had some normalcy in her life.
Tory has psychic abilities. She sees visions, premonitions sort of, and it is never dissected too much or treated as something odd. She is okay with it and has accepted it. I like that these elements simply blend with the story. Tory is troubled by Hope’s unsolved murder, and when she reconnects with Cade, there is a familiarity there. Understandably, Cade and his family have never been the same after Hope’s death, and the effects of it are still felt in their familial bonds. Both Tory and Cade, to an extent feel guilty about Hope’s death while it weighs on Tori more. Their connection is comfortable, and their relationship takes off quickly, but it makes sense because they do have some history between them.
I think the story mixes romance, mystery, and paranormal really well, and neither is side-lined for the other. Slowly, you realize that Tory has had a troubled life even after leaving Progress. Her family is still screwed up like before, but she doesn’t let her baggage pull her down. She is sometimes scared and insecure, but she is mostly determined and kind. Cade and Tory are perfectly suited for each other, whether it is healthy or not, both are connected by the grief of Hope’s death. Cade too, never looks at Tory any differently after knowing about her abilities; they communicate well with each other. The pace builds up as they try to find Hope’s killer, and the mystery deepens.
Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts has a good balance of romance, mystery, and paranormal in the story. It is slightly longer than necessary, but, in the end, it didn’t bother me. I liked how the characters and their relationships developed. Tory and Cade’s romance is simple and uncomplicated, I loved it. The identity of the killer was quite surprising, and the suspense kept me engaged. I finished this book over the weekend and enjoyed reading it.
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