Page Count: 564
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense Contemporary Fiction
Blurb as on Goodreads:
A decade ago, sculptor Clare Kimball fled Emmitsboro, Maryland, to take the art world by storm. Now she’s celebrated as the artist of her generation. But no amount of success can eclipse the nightmares that haunt her—or the memories of her father’s suicide. Just as her star is shining brighter than ever, Clare leaves it all behind to face her demons.
Emmitsboro sheriff Cameron Rafferty loved Clare from afar all through high school. Now that she’s back, they form a bond that grows stronger each day—fueled by an attraction that’s been simmering for years. But Clare’s past soon rises up with a vengeance, rocking the town with a sinister murder that is clearly linked to her return. As an investigation gets under way, Clare and Cameron will learn that evil can linger anywhere—even in those you love and trust the most. But it’s a discovery that may come too late to save them.…
I knew before going in that it won’t be a typical romantic suspense read for me – it’s not fantasy or paranormal but it deals with ‘evil’ powers and Satanic cult stuff – makes me feel a little uneasy/weird. But it’s a Nora Roberts book and I was going to pick it up and read it.
The writing was dark – very dark – and intense at times, slightly repetitive but that was required to set the scene and establish the patterns for the rituals. It was just a bit hard to read about all the evil stuff that was happening.
It is a very atmospheric read though. The temperature has been rising steadily here but while reading this book, I could almost feel a charge in the air around me. It was like my personal dark cloud shielding (blocking) me from the sunlight. It kept the worst of the heat out. 🤷♀️
I really enjoyed the plot and pacing of the story despite it being creepy and unbelievable at times – not that the events that took place are impossible to happen in real life but it was hard for me to imagine them being real even though I know such things do happen a lot more often than I get to know about them.
Regardless, I couldn’t stop reading it. Sometimes I would be so creeped out that I could feel something cold and wet slithering down my spine and want to take a warm bath but I also wanted to know who was behind it all.
The story was quite engaging – and the small town setting is one of my favorites to read about even though a certain type of characters ever-present in such settings annoy me a little – you know, the nosy busybodies and gossip-mongers that are characteristic of small towns where everybody has to know everybody’s business.
Why did she put herself through this? Each time, every time, it felt as though she had ripped out her feelings, her fantasies and fears and put them on public display. And it never got better, never got easier.
Clare Kimball is a famous sculptor who immerses herself in her work to get through the days. She’s been through a lot since she was kid plagued with nightmares that still haunt her. She returns to her hometown for a while to find some inspiration and maybe make peace with the past but the town isn’t as quiet and safe as she remembers.
Strange things have been happening and Sheriff Cameron Rafferty is uneasy about the whole thing. But he is amazing – returned to his hometown for a quiet life but now his cop’s instinct is tingling and things are getting worse is his quaint town but he’s smart, brave and kind and willing to do what it takes to protect his town.
He brought her hands to his lips, brushed a kiss over her knuckles in a quietly romantic gesture that brought tears to her eyes.
Clare, on the other hand, annoyed me a lot. It was frustrating to see her make the wrong choices repeatedly, hiding from the truth, keeping secrets, running scared. She does have a good heart, however naive she may be. She’s also, strong, fierce and loyal. It was nice to see how patient and sweet Cameron is with her and how much she grows throughout the course of this book.
He pulled her close again, ignoring her rigid stance. “I’ll just wait you out, Slim,” he murmured. “You can step back, build a wall, run away, and cover your trail. I’ll just wait you out.”
It was a hard book to read but had an engaging story-line. And I shouldn’t have waited so long to write this review. There were a lot of feelings floating inside me when I finished this book that I’m unable to recall them in their entirety now.
I will say that I’m not completely satisfied with the ending. I liked the twist, came out of nowhere. It just leaves room for an epilogue, a follow-up novella or even a full-fledged sequel but seeing as how long it’s been since this book was published, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Fans of adult romantic suspense or Nora Roberts, though you might want to avoid it if any of the following trigger you: violence, physical/sexual assault, rape, murder, animal cruelty, suicide, abduction, death.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Have you read this book yet? Does it sound like something you might want to pick up someday? Have you read any other book(s) by Nora Roberts? Let me know in the comments below!