Bodine Longbow (I can’t get over this name) runs the resort side of her family’s ranch and when circumstances leave her short staffed she’s required to bring someone over from the ranch side of the operation. The only problem is that it’s Callen Skinner, who grew up in the area but has only recently returned. Normally Bodine wouldn’t fool around with someone she employs but she can’t help but notice how much Cal has grow up since they were teenagers. On top of this, Bodine’s long lost aunt, Alice, has turned up in the hospital — bearing a new name, a battered body, and a delusional devotion to a man named Sir.
Not one of the stronger Nora Roberts books. I will continue to read her work because I do genuinely love her writing but this was a bit of a miss for me. It’s one of her family saga type books and therefore it’s very long. There is a lot in this book and some parts are a bit slower than others or are focused on small day-to-day elements. This is pretty typical of Nora Roberts’ writing but does not appeal to all readers.
There are really several layers of stories going on here: the relationship between Bodine and Cal, a relationship between Bodine’s brother and Bodine’s assistant, the backstory of Alice being kidnapped and held captive, and a series of current murders of local women. I felt that Nora Roberts’ does a good job of weaving these all together but the largest focus is really on Alice, once she returns.
I liked both Bodine and Cal but I must say that they are pretty much perfect. Each is settled in their life, knows what they want, content in their positions and successful in work. Bodine is your typical Nora Roberts heroine — strong, competent, knowledgable about everything, and a little fiery. Cal is charming, handsome, and willing to bow to a strong woman. These are great qualities but they’re nothing new to a Nora Roberts’ book.
There was little conflict between Bodine and Cal and they pretty much settle into a routine of being together. Instead, we’re left with a story more centered on finding out who Sir is and who is killing the local women along with the dynamics of the women in the Bodine/Longbow family. In fact, there were times I completely forgot about Bodine’s father because the matriarchal family line is so strong in this one. The lack of any real conflict in their relationship makes them seem like a background story element. There was more conflict in Bodine’s brother’s relationship that made it feel more interesting.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Graphic rape and abuse scenes of secondary character
The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…
When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.
Published by St. Martin’s Press on May 30, 2017