Monday, April 18, 2022

Nora Roberts - The Obsession

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.
Now, at last, she has decided to put down roots. The beautiful old house on Point Bluff needs work, but Naomi has new friends in town who are willing to help, including Xander Keaton - gorgeous, infuriating and determined to win her heart.
But as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret - and won't let her forget it. As her new home is rocked by violence, Naomi must discover her persecutor's identity, before it's too late.

Comment: Another title from the author which is now out of the pile... I do try to space them because one day I won't have any more to read until the next release...

In this story the heroine is Naomi Carson who, as a 12 year old, found out her father was a serial killer. Although this didn't affect her life completely, she still couldn't escape from the unwanted attention and turned her life into something behind a camera, becoming a photographer. Now an adult, she decides it's time for a grown up step and she buys a house on the west coast, which needs renovations and that is how she sees herself slowly becoming part of the community, including Xander, someone who wants her to be something more, as well as content with her life. However, there is a person who stalks her because of who she is and who her father is. Will Naomi have any peace?

As with any prolific author, it's inevitable some books are better, some are less appealing, some are more engaging, others only seem formulaic and I'm putting this one among those who are comfort reads for the author's style, meaning they are clearly hers and that is both good and slightly boring, in the sense that to me it felt just like a simple addition and not something out of the ordinary.

I don't think this is a bad book, in fact I had a good time reading and there is something about the style's repetitiveness that feels like spending time with friends. At the same time, the story didn't feel special enough to stay in my radar so much and I feel I might not remember much about it, such as it has happened with other books. The ones that speak to us remain and I love that I still remember a lot of the titles I liked best. Anyway, I'd put this one in the average middle, not bad, not great.

Naomi is a classic heroine for this author, vulnerable but with determination and perfect flaws. It's quite a paradox but all her heroines do everything well, even if they face problems of difficulties... Naomi feels she can't truly settle but when she decides to do so, even in the middle of a renovation, all goes well, all goes smooth... I get it but it feels there isn't a real evolution to happen, you know.

Well, there is the romantic aspect, of course. Although even in that area, the way Naomi and Xander go from two people who meet over a tire problem on the side of the road to a couple in love felt very quick and without any real stress. It's not as if they jump into a relationship right away but the process felt very superficial, not like in the author's old romances, where obviously the focus on that element made them all feel special. I kind of wish the romance here had been more obvious in how they were thinking of one another. All the words were a little too like a pattern we've seen in almost al of her recent single titles.

Xander is straightforward Nora hero, totally commendable and with one or two issues in his life but perfect for Naomi and a great human being. I don't think anything about him makes him memorable, though, so I suppose that can count as a flaw for him. Pretty much everything he does is a cliché and I believe the author could have given him more depth. He is a good hero, but not great.

The story sets a lot of its focus on the house renovation, the things Naomi needs to deal with, the people she meets, the fact she adopts a dog without planning on it....again, a wonderful work by mrs Roberts in investigating researching elements, probably adapting many she learned throughout the years for other books... but it's impossible to overlook her dedication for detail, her sense of putting things correctly on the page in such a way that it's a pleasure to read about tidy and well planned scenes.

A very negative aspect for me in this book was the villain. Very two dimensional, more than obvious from the moment of the first time the character showed up on the page. I don't know if it wasn't meant to be more of a mystery, if it simply suited this specific plot, but it was weak, not very inspired and the motivation for murder and stalking Naomi as uninspiring as it could be. I suppose it can be believable from some psychological POV, but I don't think it added any strength to this book.

All in all, this wasn't a bad book, I can say it again, but it could have been much better and it does feel a little like a loss opportunity. This won't be in my favorite list by her, but I must say it did work better, it was still more engaging than what other authors out there do or I've happened to have read, so... I guess it depends on what kind of style readers like the best.
Grade: 7/10

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