Under Currents by Nora Roberts
ISBN: 9781250207098 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250213273 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781250219336 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07JBQTL3W (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
For both Zane and Darby, their small town roots hold a terrible secret. Now, decades later, they’ve come together to build a new life. But will the past set them free or pull them under?
Zane Bigelow grew up in a beautiful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Strangers―and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake―see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Only Zane and his sister know the truth, until one brutal night finally reveals cracks in the facade, and Zane escapes for college without a thought of looking back…
Years later, Zane returns to his hometown determined to reconnect with the place and people that mean so much to him, despite the painful memories. As he resumes life in the colorful town, he meets a gifted landscape artist named Darby, who is on the run from ghosts of her own.
Together they will have to teach each other what it means to face the past, and stand up for the ones they love.
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Zane and Britt Bigelow seemed to have an idyllic childhood with the perfect home and parents, but appearances are often deceiving. Their parents, the esteemed Dr. Graham Bigelow and Mrs. Eliza Bigelow, had what can only be perceived as a toxic relationship. Superficially they were perfect and doting parents, but Dr. Bigelow often belittled and demeaned his children in public and private as well as physically abused them along with his wife. He never hit them anywhere where it might show, until one particularly bad beating that ends up with Zane suffering multiple broken bones and being arrested and charged with beating up his sister and assaulting his mother. Fortunately for both Zane and Britt, Britt escapes the hospital, contacts her aunt, gets law enforcement outside of the city of Lakeview involved and Zane is not only exonerated but his parents are arrested for assault, child abuse, and a host of other charges. Zane and Britt are adopted by their loving aunt, change their last name from Bigelow to Walker and move on from their sordid childhood with their father imprisoned for the next 18 years.
Fast forward 18 years, Darby McCray is a divorcee who has recently lost her mother. Without any familial ties to hold her down, she sells her landscaping business and home, and decides to relocate down South. She ends up in Lakeview, North Carolina, immediately feels at home in this small town, establishes her business credentials by landscaping one of the vacation cottages owned by Emily Walker Keller (Zane and Britt’s adoptive aunt/mother) and makes this town her new home. Darby is new to Lakeview, but Zane is newly returned to his hometown and the two meet and sparks fly. Zane is a retired prosecutor and new small-town lawyer and Darby is his first client. Turn about seems fair play, so Darby takes on Zane as a client and provides him with plants and landscaping ideas for his new office. Before he knows what hits him, she’s talked him into buying the house he’s been thinking about and even has him agreeing to all of her landscaping ideas. Just when it seems as if things are smooth sailing for this newly minted relationship, Darby is attacked, then Zane’s house and law offices are targets of vandalism. Even though they know why they were the targets of both of these incidents, it seems as if there might be another party out there targeting them and neither of them knows why? Can they identify the culprit before someone else is injured or worse?
For those of you that don’t know much about me and my reading habits, let me confess now that I Love reading Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb books. How much do I love reading these books? Well, I generally reread the entire “In Death” series at least once every other year and I’ll re-re-read numerous Nora Roberts titles every other year (there are so many, so I try to rotate them). Having said all of that, I was ecstatic when I learned that I was going to be able to read Under Currents by Nora Roberts, thank you St. Martin’s Press and Edelweiss+. I sat and read this book in one afternoon yesterday even with an increasingly painful migraine headache looking to spoil the afternoon (hey, that’s what pain medication is for and I could still see and if I could still see I could still read!). I enjoyed reading about Zane and Britt’s childhood and the background was needed to provided context on their monster parents. And yes, their parents were indeed monsters. I loved Darby and her energy, think the Energizer Bunny without the drum but with plants and charisma galore. There are plenty of characters to love in this story, including Zane, Britt, Emily, Lee (Emily’s husband and former Asheville police detective), Roy (Darby’s first landscaping hire), and General Zod (Darby’s dog). And yes, there are bad guys, Dr. Graham Bigelow, Eliza Bigelow, and more. This story weaves in child abuse, spousal abuse, mental abuse, and much more along with the uplifting stories of love, acceptance, helping your neighbor, and standing up for what’s right no matter what. I enjoyed the characters, the action, and the romance. Although there’s a certain amount of formula to romance and romantic-suspense novels, as a reader you’re never quite sure what twists and turns the writer is going to take to get you to that HEA ending. Nora Roberts is a maestro at romantic suspense, in my opinion at least, and I found Under Currents to be topical, well-crafted, and a pleasure to read. (Can you tell I enjoyed this book?) If you don’t already have Under Currents on your TBR list and you’re a romance or romantic-suspense reader, I strongly encourage you to do so ASAP! If you’re not a romance or romantic-suspense reader, then here’s your opportunity to begin. I look forward to reading and re-reading more Nora Roberts in the future.