What a weird book. Someone commented yesterday that this was like a Nora Roberts book if JD Robb wrote it, and it's true. Switching back and forth between a woman who was abducted, raped, and forced to give birth multiple times over with the romance portion of the book did not gel well with me at all. I also think this book was overly long (we get way too many descriptions about how to run a ranch, about horses, etc.) and I thought that the ending wasn't very well thought out in my opinion. It made no sense and made me scratch my head for a bit.
"Come Sundown" is about the Bodine/Longbow family. A highly successful family who all love each other and work at the family ranch/resort they are going about their day to day lives when an old family friend returns to the area. When he shows back up, women start turning up murdered. And in between wondering who is murdering these women, a long lost relative of the Bodine family's reappears.
One of the main characters, Bodine Longbow (named Bodine for her mother's side of the family) runs her family's ranch and resort in Montana. She has two brothers (Chase and Rory). When one of her local horse guides ends up not being able to work, she decides to hire an old family friend, Callen Skinner. Of course Bodine and Callen (Cal) start to fall for each other. While that is all going on, Bodine's brothers start romances of their own. When women start showing up murdered though, a local deputy starts to circle in on Cal thinking he must have something to do with it. And when Bodine's Aunt Alice is found 25 years after she left home, her story about being abducted and raped repeatedly has the family doing what it can to keep her safe from a man that she rightfully fears.
I liked the character of Bodine okay. She definitely knew how to do her job. I will say that it made no sense that she was put in charge of the family business though at her age. I don't think that Roberts tells us how old anyone is really in this book, but I hazarded a guess there. I discussed the age/timeline thing further down below.
I am also going to say that Bodine's romance with Cal didn't ring true at all. They had absolutely no chemistry with each other. If anything, it would have made more sense for these two to just be friends. Maybe a deputy or someone else could have been the one to romance Bodine.
I didn't find the other romances that her brothers had in this book to be believable either. I just don't think Roberts had enough "room" so to speak to include all of these people and make you think that they all somehow found true love at the same time. It's typical Roberts though, she does love her 6 couples in most of her romance books, so I don't know why I was surprised at Bodine/Cal, Chase/Jessica, and Rory/Chelsea. Also I didn't need dialogue between Jessica and Bodine with Jessica telling Bodine how great her brother was in bed. I think that happened. I maybe went la, la, la at some point. The three women and men don't really make sense to me in a friendship type of way either. There is a terrible scene where they all show up to watch Cal fight someone (yes that happened) and at that point I wondered why I was reading this mess.
There are other characters in this one. Alice and her story was heartbreaking. I really think that Roberts should have made this two separate books. Maybe the main reason that I couldn't get into the romance was reading about the things done to Alice in the past and then seeing her struggle so much in the future. And it was weird how Roberts showed her being selfish in the present and the two sisters fighting. I don't know, everyone acted like it was normal and I thought once again it was odd.
We hear about Sir (the man who abducted Alice) but you are able to put two and two together and realize who must have been behind abducting and killing the other women in this story.
The writing was just okay in this one. I think the biggest issue is that the majority of the book is taken up about business and the day to day running of the ranch. You get that broken up with descriptions of what Alice had to endure. So you get present events mixed up with past events and I still have to wonder how old some of the characters were in this book since we find out that Alice was abducted 25 years ago. Does that mean that Bodine is somehow running a ranch and being a highly successful businesswoman in her early 20s? She's not the oldest member of the siblings so I had to hard pause at that point and do some math and then just gave up. After reading the JD Robb books for many years, I am just resigned to the face that Roberts doesn't pay much attention to dates/timelines.
The flow was not good at all. The first 1/3 of this book drags. The 2/3 picks up a bit, but the final 1/3 of the book drags again until the very end when all is revealed in a ham-fisted way.
The setting of Montana is one that Roberts has written about before. I was curious about this book, since I initially thought it may be a sequel to Montana Sky. Of course it's not a sequel, but the character of Willa in that book reminded me of Bodine a lot.
The ending goes from murderous rampage and death to a happily ever after that still felt weird to me. I wonder if the book would have worked better if we had Chase/Jessica as the main romantic leads or what.