SYNOPSIS: Tory Bodeen grew up in South Carolina, in a small run-down house, where her father ruled with an iron fist and a leather belt—and where her dreams and talents had no room to flourish. But she had Hope, who lived in the big house just a short skip away and whose friendship allowed Tory to be something she wasn’t allowed to be at home: a child.
After young Hope’s brutal murder, unsolved to this day, Tory’s life began to fall apart. And now, as she returns to her hometown, with plans to settle in and open a stylish home-design shop, she is determined to find a measure of peace and free herself from the haunting visions of the past. As she forges a new bond with Cade Lavelle—Hope’s older brother and the heir to the family fortune—she isn’t sure whether the tragic loss they share will unite them or drive them apart. But she is willing to open her heart, just a little, and try.
Living so close to those unhappy memories will be more difficult and frightening than Tory could ever have expected, however. Because Hope’s murderer is nearby as well… – via Goodreads
This was a recommendation from my bestie, Natasha, who is a massive Nora Roberts junkie. This novel, however, is one that I liked far more than most that I have read. There was less hanky panky crap clogging up the pages, and this actually had more of a story to tell. There were places where I felt things were not fleshed out properly, or a jump was made in the story, but other than that it flowed quite well. I liked Cade’s character eventually, though I really do have to wonder what is up with Roberts writing about these pushy males, who all pop up, fall for the girl, and refuse to accept that the girl’s not interested. It has been like this since pretty much the second book onward for me. Initially, Faith was a character I could not stand, and while she remained childish and annoying at times, she was also the character that lightened the story up quite significantly at times. To read about Tory’s childhood was very sad, there is nothing as awful as growing up in an abusive home. Ugh, it was terrible to read about it, but truly gave more weight to the story and all that happened. The villain is not a shocker at all, and the “investigation” so to speak is relatively non-existent. If you are going to read this for a serious, in depth “whodunnit”, you are going to be sorely disappointed. If you are looking for a read with a character battling her past, moving on, making things happen for herself, this would be the one. It’s like… this dramatic little soap opera on paper, and it was exactly what I needed. Not too much romance and sex to irritate me like the others (think of the forest fuck fest of the last one I read), but not absolutely nothing happening to frustrate me, either. It was something that kept me busy and entertained, and I enjoyed it. It was nice to read a novel set in the South of America again, though I cannot say that Roberts captured it as successfully as other authors, and there were some things that were said/done that even had me wondering about how accurate it was. Maybe I have been spoiled by reading so much Anne Rice, and she lives in and loves the South, and it comes through in her work. There were also too many loose ends right at the end, but I suppose you can’t have everything. Oh well. I did appreciate the darker tone that was set in this novel, it gave rise to more different characters than she usually writes about, and I liked that.