On that fateful night so long ago, when eight-year-old Hope Lavelle died, Victoria "Tory" Bodeen should've been with her. But her father had beaten her because of her particular gift, Tory stayed at home, and someone raped and killed her best friend.
No one knew who did it, the town suspected a drifter, and the killer remained unpunished, as life went on...
Yet Tory hasn't been able to forget her friend or what's been done to her. They were blood sisters, connected by an unbreakable bond, and she feels it's time to finally put the past, and Hope to rest, by finding her killer. And the best place to start is back in her home town...
I watched the movie based on this book, and I must say it didn't to it justice. At all. Not in story, not in characterization, not in suspense.
This book is proof of what Nora Roberts does best. Expertly crafted story with wonderful characters. You have your prickly heroine, a deceptively laid-back hero, and a great supporting cast with the, as far as NR stories set in the South, requisite bitchy matriarch, and the "crazy" relative, usually and aunt.
But the cast itself isn't enough, one has to connect them all together, some in friendship, some in blood, some in reluctant alliances, passing acquaintances, and of course, romance.
This book has two of those, the main one between the prickly heroine and the deceptively laid-back hero, and the second between the hero's seemingly flighty sister, determined to defy mama at all cost, and the hero's best friend and the heroine's cousin, the town veterinarian who's been pining after his love-interest for years before she finally saw reason.
Strangely, I must confess I was more invested in the secondary romance than the main one, mostly because of the heroine's issues and prickliness (justified, I might add) not really doing the main romance any favors. I liked the hero well enough, and the heroine as well, I just didn't like them that much together. It felt a little forced, fatalistic, even.
There was one relationship Tory was in that I liked. And that was the slow-building friendship between her and her childhood best friend's twin sister, Faith. It was lovely seeing these two independent, closed-off women, both with their own inner scars and issues, circling each other, slowly forming the strong bonds of friendship, until becoming a unit toward the end.
The story came full circle in that particular moment.
Speaking of full-circle, I'm glad the villain got what they deserved in the one spot where it all became, but the finale felt a bit rushed. It felt rather anticlimactic compared to the buildup with its suspense and lurking danger.
Still, a very solid story, with a nice plot, good characters, a smidgen of "paranormal", and some wonderfully suspenseful moments.