Nora Roberts is one of those authors who can do everything. And do everything really well. She has written fantasy, romance and thriller novels with a bibliography spanning over 215 novels! I picked up “The Obsession” on a whim, not knowing anything about the author and just thought the blurb sounded good… And it quickly became a favourite book of mine. Inside the back cover of this one was an advert for another book of hers called “Come Sundown”, so I bought it, read it and this confirmed that I enjoy her writing style and feel like I could confidently choose anything written by her and love it… she’s on my list of highly recommended thriller/suspense authors!
“The Obsession” has the first 100 pages filled with the tragedy of one family back in 1998, and in particular the effect it has on one of the two children. It seemed a little implausible to me, at first, that just after the first shocking crime seems to be behind them, another strikes the same family in 2002, but this does happen in real life and really makes your heart ache for all of them. I love Naomi as a strong female lead and I can feel a lot of similarities between myself and her, including the love of photography and North-West American States (I’d love to visit or live in “Big-Sky Country” Montana one day). Unlike me, Naomi upped and moved to a remote, run-down house in rural Washington State to start her life over and leave her old life behind her. Her determination and resilience is inspiring and you do will her to relax, let her walls down to her new friends, but her distrust is understandable and quite rightly founded. Things start going right for Naomi and you feel genuine happiness for her, but death seems to be following her wherever she goes and she won’t be safe until the person is caught…
I loved reading how Naomi grew personally and professionally over the course of the novel and getting inside her head and her home is such a major part of the book. There are a lot of pages (528) but I do believe that it is all essential to getting the tone ‘just right’ and building up to the climax. I did guess the ending about 2/3rds of the way through, but it was still so exciting to read and I raced along, turning the pages frantically with my heart in my mouth. The descriptions and imagery are beautiful and breathtaking and I completely felt like I was walking around with her. I could reread this book over and over and still be transported to the settings I’ve conjured up in my head.
Not being one for romance or chick-lit genre I wasn’t sure how I felt about the introduction of the mysterious local guy who would inevitably try and seduce Naomi, but I fell in love with Xander and the other characters too and I was truly invested in the whole community by the end. The writing is just great, I’ve never read a book where I can imagine myself entirely there (almost like an extra in a film – I felt like just another person sitting at the dinner table or in the background etc) but Nora makes you feel included in the story. This is true of both the books of hers that I’ve read, so her talent is widespread, not just a one-off here. If you want an American escape filled with tragedy, danger and ultimately heart-warming love, then “The Obsession” should be your next pick. Okay, I think I’m now obsessed with Nora Roberts… – GJ