Author: Nora Roberts
Published: May 2016 by Piatkus (first released in 2015)
Category: Family Drama, Romance, Mystery, Book Review
When her husband Richard dies in a freak accident, Shelby Pomeroy is devastated. But his death reveals a horrible truth – Richard was a liar and a cheat. Now Shelby is left with the consequences – huge, terrifying debts and mounting proof that her late husband betrayed her in every conceivable way.
The story opens with Shelby Foxworth dealing with the sudden death of her husband, Richard, and the huge debts he’d left her with. They’d been happy at first but after several years of being made to feel less than, Shelby realised she’d have to take responsibility and control of her life again. Her daughter was all that mattered now, and Shelby had to find a way out of the terrible situation she found herself in.
The lawyers and accountants and tax people explained it all to her, but they might as well have been speaking Greek when they went on about leveraging and hedge funds and foreclosures.
It was only when, as Shelby sorted through the Richard’s personal papers, she realised her married life had been built on a mountain of lies. Why? She reeled with each blow, each lie she uncovered. Despite Shelby’s disillusionment, despair and the enormity of the task that faced her, she began to sort and sell anything and everything she could, including the house and furniture, before returning home to Rendezvous Ridge, Tennessee.
When she caught sight of the mountains, the great green rise of them, Shelby’s heart jumped to her throat until her eyes stung. She’d thought she knew how much she wanted this, needed this, but it was more. It was everything safe and real.
Shelby might have assumed returning home would solve a lot of her problems but she had fences to mend after her sudden and unexplained departure. Her marriage to Richard was a whirlwind one, without her family’s knowledge. And her troubles are far from being left behind.
This is a long book at 550+ pages but I was halfway through before I even realised. The only downside was the predictable twist, which was fairly obvious from the start. But…I love stories that feature extended loving and supporting families and always, Nora Roberts’ characters draw me into her books. They’re engaging, relatable, realistic and there’s a good mix of endearing females and hunky males. I’ve been reading books by this author for long enough to recognise she has a certain style and yes, formula. I know what to expect and when the mood strikes, that’s what I enjoy. The small town atmosphere and setting were perfectly and vividly described, with the (mostly) pros and cons of living where everyone knows everyone else and news travels fast but most are supportive.
The suspense element didn’t really develop until the fast ending, so I’d class this more as a charming romance and family drama. If you don’t guess the twist there’s a mystery in there too. I enjoyed witnessing Shelby’s growth from the manipulated and belittled wife as she learns to trust again and rebuild her life, discovering strength she didn’t realise she had, even as the full and horrifying truth of her husband’s character slowly comes to light. It maybe lacks a little compared to other stand alones but it’s still enjoyable.
Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including The Liar, The Collector, Whiskey Beach, The Witness, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.