Kelsey Byden has spent 23 years of her 26-year-long life thinking her mother was dead. Imagine her surprise when she receives a letter from one Naomi Chadwick, her mother, back from the dead.
Despite the objections of her grandmother and stepmother, Kelsey decides to contact the woman who gave birth to her, and soon moves to the woman’s horse ranch.
As she slowly gets to know her mother, Kelsey finally realizes the life before moving to the Virginia countryside was no life at all, and her moving from hobby to hobby, and job to job, was merely searching for her true goal in life. A goal she’s finally found.
But as Kelsey gets accustomed to her new life, her true purpose, and the possibility of a long-term relationship with her mother’s charming neighbor, Gabriel Slater, a ghost from the past is slowly rising, determined to ruin all Naomi, Kelsey, and Gabe have accomplished.
My “experience” with Nora Roberts’s early books is hit-and-miss, unfortunately. And as I started this one, I honestly feared this would fall under the “miss” category, mostly because I didn’t particularly like the heroine or her actions and behavior. She sounded selfish, shallow, and, yes, spoiled.
I could not have been more wrong, though, and after a few chapters, and once Kelsey was out of the grasp of her blue-blooded family for whom appearances were everything, no matter who suffered for them, and moved to the country, I realized the spoiled brat was just the veneer, a mask she used to keep up those appearances, and to keep doubts about what her true place in life was, at bay.
Everything, not just the heroine, was different in the country, actually. The narration was different, the descriptions more vivid, the pacing steadier, the characters well-developed and realistic, the emotions stronger, the intensity higher.
I loved the relationship between long-lost mother and daughter. It built up slowly, steadily, its progress organic. The romance between Kelsey and Gabe, on the other hand, was much quicker to develop and progress, yet didn’t feel rushed, but just perfect, the tempo of it very much suited for both their characters. Despite their different upbringing these two were quite similar in lots of ways, leaning new things and how to adapt in the way they were complete opposites.
If Kelsey were truly that woman we got to know at the beginning, the polished, flighty socialite, their romance would not have worked, but since deep down she was just as passionate, just as emotion-driven, and just as stubborn as Gabe, they worked together more than nicely.
But what drew the story forward, what fueled the intensity, what kept me turning the pages, was the suspense. The twists and turns of it all, the danger both to humans and animals, the horrible ends people were willing to go to accomplish a goal, be it keep someone in line, punish someone, get rich, or simply to get rid of an unwelcome individual, were chilling, and strangely fascinating.
Some of those got their comeuppance, but I was sorry the biggest sociopath (the behavior and utterly remorseless responses made me think of that word) came through it without a scratch. This main villain, the one who put things in motion all those years ago only to repeat the process twenty-three years later, was rather predictable, but I didn’t mind, I was looking forward to the discovery and the punishment, only to be disappointed the punishment was lacking.
Oh well, the other baddie got what was coming, so I’m happy.
This book had it all; great characters, explosive chemistry, wonderfully sexy romance, mystery and secrets, suspense, danger and drama. Loved it.
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
This was a lot of fun. I am not really someone who reads a lot of fairy tale retellings but the idea of this one really appealed to me. I really don't know a whole lot about the original Peter Pan story besides what I know from Disney which was probably one of the things that made me want to pick this book up. It did start out a bit slow for me and I was able to set it aside but once I really got going, I didn't want to put it down. This was really a great read.
I have a weakness for villains but Jamie really doesn't feel like a villain in this story. I really enjoyed seeing Peter Pan, the island, and the other boys from Jamie's point of view. Jamie was the first boy that Peter brought to the island and he is the favorite. He takes care of the others and keeps things in line. For a boy that will never grow up he is really very mature.
Peter wasn't the lovable innocent child that I know from the Disney movie. Not at all. Peter was cunning and thought only of himself. He brings boys to the island so that he will forever have playmates and he wants them all to love him. That doesn't mean that he cares about them all that much because if they die or get hurt he can just go and get more boys. Peter wants things the way that he wants them and he has all of the power on the island so the boys follow his lead.
The story had a lot of exciting moments. I was happy to see the things that I remember from my limited knowledge of Peter Pan including the pirates, the tree, and mermaids. I was also thrilled to see a few surprises along the way. This was definitely not a Disney movie and some of the scenes were actually quite violent. There were plenty of characters to like and a few to hate. Once the book hit the mid-point the action really didn't let up until the final page.
I would recommend this book to others. I thought it was a really well done story with great characters. This is the first book by Christina Henry that I have read but I hope to read more in the future.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.
I don't really know much about the Peter Pan story besides what Disney has shown me. I must say that I really did enjoy seeing this other side of Jamie and Peter. I will have to check out some of Christina Henry's other books.
@TLClarkAuthor, #Contemporary, #Romance, 4 out of 5 (very good)