Come Sundown, Nora Roberts: Book Review

come sundown nora roberts book reviewSt. Martin's Press / Nora Roberts
Come Sundown Book Cover Come Sundown
Nora Roberts
St. Martin's Press
May 30, 2017

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined

Nora Roberts is an extremely well-known author in the romance genre, who has written over 200 books. It goes without saying that she has a massive following. On my own, however, I would probably have never picked up one of her novels. Not because I don’t like romance, but because I never thought that her novels would fit my preferred reading tastes.

A few years ago, a good friend of mine recommended I read Honest Illusions, one of Roberts’ earlier novels; and from that moment, I realized that she was an excellent writer. Too often, the romance genre is torn apart because it focuses too much attention on love and often times, sex. However, that’s not always the case.

Going off of what I knew Roberts to be capable of, having already read one of her works in the past, I signed up for a Goodreads giveaway for an ARC copy of her latest novel, Come Sundown. To be honest, I wasn’t immediately drawn into the synopsis, but, because I knew that Roberts has potential as a writer, and my friend loves her, I entered – and won!

This is an ARC review of Nora Roberts’ Come Sundown, which releases May 30, 2017.
*Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for allowing us to review ahead of publication.

To begin, I was surprised at how big Come Sundown is. In a larger than average paperback, the ARC was around 470 pages long. My first thought upon seeing it was that it was massive and that it would take quite some time to read. I was wrong. From start to finish, Come Sundown only took about three days to read.

Roberts pulls you in immediately with well crafted and incredibly detailed characters. From the very beginning, it’s incredibly obvious that she is an immensely talented writer that focuses on characterization. Although I wasn’t sold on the setting at all going in, I found myself lost in the quiet, country setting of Montana from the very first page.

Told from two different perspectives, Roberts presents you with an unbelievably dark story within the first 50 pages. Slowly two different stories begin to unravel, one through a series of flashbacks or shifts in perspective where we meet Alice, a young woman who disappeared from home, and another, that takes place in the present day on the Bodine Ranch.

The two separate stories slowly converge to tell an immensely powerful tale of love and the strong bonds of family that holds us together. Spanning twenty-five years, we slowly uncover the dark secrets hiding in the farmlands of Montana, as the truth behind Alice’s disappearance is revealed.

After an opening flashback that introduces Alice on her way home after a three-year journey to California, the story transitions to the present, where we meet Bodine Longbow, who plays an active part in running the Bodine Resort, an expansion of the family’s Ranch, that offers guests an authentic western experience. Focusing on the day to day operations of the Resort, which features meetings, plans, scheduling, and interviews, among a vast array of other duties and tasks, Come Sundown starts out slow and gives you time to connect with the location and the characters on an extremely intimate level.

As we watch Bodine face struggles at work and interact with her tight-knit family (which spans four generations), it’s hard not to become somewhat attached to the characters. Roberts provides us with so many details about their habits and personalities that it is incredibly easy to become a part of the family.

Underneath the busy, but satisfying life in the west lies an incredibly dark secret. Two women are murdered back to back on resort property without any sign pointing toward a possible killer, while Alice’s story hangs over the reader’s head, as it slowly unfolds in heart-breaking bits and pieces that are graphic, raw and full of immense pain.

Mysteries slowly unfold, romance blooms and the bonds of family are tried as Roberts’ novel comes to an extremely unexpected conclusion. Come Sundown is at once incredibly devastating, yet heartfelt and hopeful as the truth comes to light not only behind the murders but behind Alice’s disappearance.

Told with the beautiful backdrop of nature and wildlife that is Montana in the background, it’s hard not to love Roberts’ latest novel. Come Sundown unfolds through a series of twists and turns that culminate in an incredibly shocking reveal that will leave you stunned. All the while, the bonds of family and budding relationships continue to grow in the background and leave you feeling incredible joy as the novel comes to a close. Despite my initial hesitation at the western setting, Robert’s upcoming novel is definitely a must read for fans of the romance genre.

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Melissa Ratcliff
the authorMelissa Ratcliff
Senior Staff Writer

Reader, Writer & Translator. Cats, books and video games are my life.