For Both Zane And Darby, Their Small Town Roots Hold A Terrible Secret Now, Decades Later, They Ve Come Together To Build A New Life But Will The Past Set Them Free Or Pull Them Under Zane Bigelow Grew Up In A Beautiful, Perfectly Kept House In North Carolina S Blue Ridge Mountains Strangers And Even Zane S Own Aunt Across The Lake See His Parents As A Successful Surgeon And His Stylish Wife, Making Appearances At Their Children S Ballet Recitals And Baseball Games Only Zane And His Sister Know The Truth, Until One Brutal Night Finally Reveals Cracks In The Facade, And Zane Escapes For College Without A Thought Of Looking BackYears Later, Zane Returns To His Hometown Determined To Reconnect With The Place And People That Mean So Much To Him, Despite The Painful Memories As He Resumes Life In The Colorful Town, He Meets A Gifted Landscape Artist Named Darby, Who Is On The Run From Ghosts Of Her Own Together They Will Have To Teach Each Other What It Means To Face The Past, And Stand Up For The Ones They Love. 4.5 starsYES YES YES This book checked all of my boxes.I read it over three days, and I WISHED I could have curled up on a Saturday and read it all in one piece This book deserves your uninterrupted attention that s how good it was.First of all, at 17% I already teared up.The book was a motional powerhouse, well written, and as always very well plotted, Under Currents was one of my favorite Nora Roberts books to date.Different than other books, the deeply developed characters carried the entire story They were through the roof and awesome in every sense The author took the time, and built a backstory that wove throughout the entire book It wove in and out, until it all came full circle and was much than expected.Under currents literally all the small things that bubble under the surface, hard to see until they explode and bring the ugliness to the foreground and for everyone to see.What I loved about this book was numerous.I loved how much time Zane and Darby had as a couple It s not often that a relationship is getting enough time to really establish itself Half of the book was all about Zane and Darby, their relationship, and their connections with his family and the Lakeview community I loved it all.Some of the side plots really surprised me by the way they were resolved I was Half of the book was all about Zane and Darby, their relationship, and their connections with his family and the Lakeview community I loved it all I was always wondering what was to come next this is not all, is coming It really kept me on the edge of my seat.Zane and Darby were fantastic together Their trust in each other, to accept the other s independence, to support and build each other up it truly was the heart and soul of the entire novel They were a couple that worked for me from beginning to end I m a big lover of banter, well written dialogues, sarcasm and quick retorts and this book had it all.Also the community, and especially Zane s family, their friends and the supporting cast was exceptional I loved them ALL If these kind of small towns really existed in real life I would be moving STAT The underlying message was powerful, important, and never gets old.Abuse in any way, verbally, emotionally or physically is just not ok, and this book covers it all It s heartbreaking at times, but there is always a hopeful and uplifting message right along The entire plot was beautifully crafted From the suspenseful to the emotional Under Currents had it all.A true winner if you ask me, and one of her best one yet. Wherein Ms Roberts delves a bit deeper into mystery suspense and casts diabolical characters with few redeeming qualities Balanced by the easy to see, beautifully landscaped backdrop and admirable characters that the reader wants to be friends with, Under Currents is the quintessential drop everything and bury your head in a book read. Nora Roberts has a gift for writing stories that portray all the intricate dynamics of family the good, the bad, and the ugly Her stories often demonstrate the power of family to either destroy or save lives and frequently deliver a theme of nature vs nurture that I find fascinating I love knowing when I open one of Roberts books that the human spirit of a character may be sorely tested, but the will to survive and persevere over evil will triumph in the end And I appreciate that she often tackles sensitive subjects such as child and spousal abuse with grace, respect, and empathy as she does in Under Currents.I ll briefly touch on the storyline, leaving readers an opportunity to experience this book firsthand as it should be Under Currents is divided into three parts with the first part taking place in the past and the second and third parts picking up the storyline in present time In part one, readers meet Zane Britt Bigelow a brother and younger sister who appear to have it all a picture perfect family living in a picture perfect mansion in a picture perfect part of town But looks are deceiving, and readers quickly learn all is not as it appears as these two children are silently suffering the ultimate betrayal at the hands of those charged with loving and protecting them their parents Until one explosive night when everything changes.Fast forward about twenty years and readers are introduced to Darby McCray a feisty, spirited newcomer who s opening a landscaping business in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mtns of North Carolina After the recent tragic hit run death of her mother, she s looking for a new start far away from an abusive ex husband This is the first time one of Roberts romance suspense heroines has reminded me in mannerisms actions of Eve Dallas, the heroine of her In Death series written as J.D Robb When Zane returns to his hometown to open a law office, the two meet and a slow burn romance begins to flourish And now everything is picture perfect in their lives until ghosts from the past rise to stalk and threaten them Someone is on a mission of revenge, but who s the target As always, Roberts flawlessly weaves family and community and the routine of daily life into a story with emotion, laughter, tears, love, and a strong sense of belonging The characters are relatable and well developed, each playing their role extremely well I will say I would have liked a little reader insight into the inner thoughts of the villain, but I guess the vagueness of him her adds to the suspense for some The setting is authentic I live in N.C and know the area well and rich in details that tease the senses I like the way the title is reiterated in the story as under currents are always present in one form or another, running beneath the surface as evident in this story There are several twists and turns to keep readers on their toes and guessing until the very end While you may or may not be shocked by the final reveal, I think you ll enjoy the journey as this book is an addictive Must Read A special thank you to St Martin s Press for a paperback copy of this arc Reviewed at Cross My Heart Reviews From the outside view, the Bigelows of Lakeview, North Carolina look like the ideal family Graham Bigelow is the chief of surgery at the local hospital wife Eliza is the perfect stay at home, affluent mother involved in many charities son Zane is a baseball phenom, destined for a sports scholarship and possibly the big leagues and young Britt couldn t be a obedient daughter But, behind the proverbial closed doors is a somewhat different and troubling view because Graham is mean, abusive and incredibly sly about it The story begins here, in Zane s voice, and continues for almost two decades Then enter newcomer Darby McCray, a talented landscape designer who takes the town, and Zane, by storm with her incredible vision and infectious personality, though she s got her own sad history It s a three part story with the first devoted to Zane s harrowing childhood The subject of abuse is addressed from all angles and perspectives, horrifying and educating me in ways I hadn t anticipated It was riveting stuff that was hard to listen to and imagine but I couldn t put the story down because the outcome was too important This part of the story needed a hero and I had to wait it out The transition to Zane s adulthood and Darby s later introduction was the balm I needed for the next phase with its strong family and community themes I could have stayed there much longer but the sense of foreboding for the last part of the story loomed It was dangerous and the threat was always there, even though it lacked the suspense surrounding the sources of it all I loved this story, in large part because of Roberts skill in tackling a tough subject with honesty and forthright She didn t pull any punches even when I begged for it Also, January LaVoy is one of my favorite narrators who delivered her expected outstanding performance She put me into every scene Lastly, I really liked Darby and Zane, individually and as a couple, their romance a slow but lovely burn Even though the suspense was lacking, the quality of the story than compensated for me It is quintessential Nora Roberts storytelling 4.5 stars Nora Roberts is a word magician I love the way she can make the reader step out of reality and into her stories, embark in the suspense and tension and love of her imagined characters.That said, I enjoyed this story very much, but I can t say it was amazing save for part 1, that one was a real jaw dropper I could have read that part as a stand alone and I d have rated it a five star.But the rest, I don t know I think there were many parts that could have been deleted without changing the story, save for the overall appeal I think the suspense in part 3 and part 4, along with the tension and action could have been made into one part, trimmed down so that the plot would ve been what s the word A page turner That s not the word I m looking for, but let s keep it, as I think the reader wouldn t have been able to put the book down But then again, maybe things would have seemed hurried, so I can t say that d work.Well, put that aside, and we have here a book, an incredible read that could have been a real life story simple, adorable, witty, filled with love and pain and the darker realities of life This author holds back no punches 1.5 stars.I don t really have much positive to say about this It started strong but as we left part one it soon became a snoozefest and to be blunt, if wanted to read a book on landscape design and gardening, I d go help myself to my Dad s copies of Grow Your Own.Predictable and with dialogue which was at times clunky, the characters were actually likeable enough and clearly something kept me reading although I think it was wishful thinking and stubbornness, plus it does have a tight knit small town feel but it could have been half the length to little detriment If I were to recommend a Nora Roberts book though, it would unlikely be this one CW physical and mental abuse of minors and adults including marital rape I don t usually make a point of mentioning and although the blurb does very loosely suggest some violence, the opening part in particular was seriously hard reading I m made of fairly sturdy stuff but it was graphic, quite brutal and won t be for everyone. 4.5 stars. This is the first book I ve read of Mrs Roberts Of course I ve read over 20 of the In Death books which she writes under the pen name J.D Robb and I m perplexed by it because this book doesn t remind me at all of the style, or pace, or plot complexity of her In Death books I know that they are in totally different genders but still this book felt less Let me elaborate Under Currents is divided in four parts The first part The Cruelty of Lies is autonomous and tells the story of Zane the Hero and how he and his sister were abused by their parents It s very powerful and heart wrenching and IMHO is the best part of the book I would give this book 5 stars only for that part alone.The second part Homecomings is taking place 18 years after the end of part one and introduces Darby the heroine as she comes to settle in Lakeview Zane s home town This part is really slow, it contains TMI about landscaping and ends with Zane and Darby being in a relationship The last two parts From Roots to Blooming and Healing Truths is what I like to call A blast from the past And I leave it at that because I don t like to spoil the story In overall, the story unfolds in average pace which apart from the landscaping info overload was enjoyable But the plot was totally predictable and I missed the complexity of J.D Robb s villains view spoiler I mean how stupid were these bad guys to fail from their first attempts The first one had his ass kicked by a girl and the second one by a baseball hide spoiler I have always enjoyed Nora Roberts writing She has written some of my favorite Romantic Suspense stories Her books are normally riveting and always seem to keep me on the edge of my seat For me Under Currents didn t give me either of these things BUT I did enjoy it I found it exciting at time and one of the things I loved was the banter between the two main characters and all the supporting characters It was quite the cast characters and I thought they were all great Such a strong sense of family.The two main characters Darby and Zane truly were meant for each other Kindred hearts I guess you could say Since the book was made up of four parts Nora gave the reader ample time to get to know these two separately No one should experience what they did My heart broke for Zane and his sister Britt It broke for Darby What unfolded between them wasn t insta love And I appreciated that It was sweet to see them naturally fall in place together Part one and part four is what hade me enjoying this book The middle parts were good but for me it wasn t the strong suspenseful writing NR usually gives us There was quite a bit of landscaping going on LOL Zane and Darby were surrounded by a wonderful family and community There were fun moments, sad moments and a few oh goodness moments but none that kicked things up a notch for me And that is what I was missing.While this wasn t my favorite Nora Roberts book I did enjoy it The storyline kept a difficult topic in the forefront She handled that carefully It was early on that I figured out where Nora was going to take things It didn t ruin to book for me because the suspense came in the how and when Definitely give this one a go if you are a NR fan This review can also be found at Carole s Random Life in Books.I had a great time with this book I read quite a few books written by Nora Roberts years ago but had not picked up any in recent years I am now questioning my decision making skills because I have clearly been missing out This was a book that started with a bang and was nearly impossible to put down I honestly enjoyed the experience of reading this book.The book opens in Zane s childhood He is a teenager that shows a lot of promise in baseball He hopes to use his skill in the sport to escape his home life Things are not as perfect at home as they might appear to be to others in their little town His mother has served as the school s PTA president and his father is the chief surgeon at the area hospital Zane, his sister, Britt, and their parents live in the largest home in town and have a very large lifestyle Unfortunately, the reality of their family includes child abuse and domestic violence.I was completely captivated by this book at the start The descriptions of everything Zane and Britt had to endure in their home were so vivid that they felt real to me I felt the pain right along with this group of characters and prayed that things would work out for them The book then jumps in time and it was nice to see Zane and Britt as adults Well adjusted adults with new problems to face.Darby is ready for a new start She is a skilled gardener and landscaper and wants to start up a new business in town Her first client happens to be Zane s aunt Darby forms bonds with the people in town very quickly and is soon an important member of the community When she starts working on Zane s house, things heat up quickly.I really liked the characters in this book Zane and Darby have both overcome terrible events from their past They seem to fit together almost perfectly and have great chemistry I liked how honest these two were with each other and how they seemed to know when to give the other some space Zane is part of a huge family and I really enjoyed seeing those characters both in the early scenes during his teen years and the section that took place in his adulthood This book was exciting Maybe a bit too much in a way I really did enjoy the story but I felt like some of the things that happened were just too unlikely I guess everything in the book could be possible but it felt like was going on than was necessary It is a work of fiction so I just ran with it but I couldn t help but think about how remarkable it would be to have all of these things happen in such a short time frame.I would highly recommend this book to others This book does deal with both domestic violence and child abuse so it might be a difficult story for some readers I thought that the situations in the book were vividly told and handled very well I definitely plan to read from Nora Roberts I received a review copy of this book from St Martin s Press.
- 436 pages
- Under Currents
- Nora Roberts
- 03 February 2018 Nora Roberts