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Under Currents Under Currents by Nora Roberts is a 2019 St Martin’s Press publication Tense and Edgy Nora Roberts style This is an intense novel of suspense from start to finish However it is also a novel about resilience and the power of family and love Zane escapes from his abusive parents with the help of his aunt who then gives Zane and his sister a loving home life Blossoming into a well adjusted and successful adult Zane builds a wonderful life for himself But then the shadows of the past rise from the ashes and Zane realizes his battle with pure evil is not yet overNora Roberts is so prolific and versatile I read my fair share of her books mainly her romantic suspense novels before Goodreads but with so many authors and genres to sample I rarely reach for a Nora Roberts book any Yet I know that when the mood strikes any book of hers will be a dependable solid storyUnder Currents is exactly that solid and dependable The good versus evil theme is hard to beat The bad guys are truly horrifying and some passages are hard to read I loved Zane and his family and their values and ethics The first few chapters are difficult and riveting but from there the suspense comes from the knowledge that evil lurks in the corners and shadows our heroes can’t see However an ultimate showdown is comingWhile much of what transpires here has been done before at least to some extent in other novels of suspense Roberts manages to keep the predictability at bay hitting the reader with a surprise or two they probably won’t see coming The subject matter is one that is than relevant and breaking the cycle is an important messageThis was a pretty uick read for me because I had a hard time putting the book down I am also reminded of how much I enjoy reading Nora Roberts’ books and will try not to wait so long to add another one to my list 4 starsPossible triggers domestic and child abuse as well as a little out of context language Wherein Ms Roberts delves a bit deeper into mysterysuspense and casts diabolical characters with few redeeming ualities Balanced by the easy to see beautifully landscaped backdrop and admirable characters that the reader wants to be friends with Under Currents is the uintessential drop everything and bury your head in a book read My reviews can also be seen at Stars The past never forgets I thought this was another great read from Nora RobertsFrom the outside everything looked perfect but sometimes there are monsters where you’d least expect1998 It's two days before Christmas and Eliza Bigelow has just had a lovely lunch with friends Eliza is happily married to Graham the chief surgical resident of Mercy Hospital Eliza drives home thinking about her family's upcoming annual ski trip She has everything she could ever want Her job is to look beautiful take care of her husband and raise her two children wellIt’s a perfect lifeEliza pulls into the garage and notices that her husband Graham’s car is already there He’s in the kitchen and she greets him with a kiss Eliza chatters on about her lunch shopping and her friend Jody “Do you think I give a damn about Jody?” His voice is calm but Eliza knows that he’s anything butFourteen year old Zane and his younger sister Britt are dropped off after school They are excited about Christmas vacation Zane and Britt tease each other good naturedly as they make their way towards the house But the second they open the doorthey know Zane tells Britt to go upstairs but she runs towards the noise instead Zane sees his father heading towards Britt and does something he’s never done beforeAnd what comes next is horrifying“You’re nothing until I say you are Everything you have including the breath in your body is because of me“After that horrible night Zane starts keeping a journal Every night he writes detailing everything that happens in his life and in that house He tells himself that one day he'd be strong enough and brave enough to stop pretending He tries to hold on to his dreamsBut then comes another terrible night where things go from bad to worse uicker than anyone could’ve imaginedThat night EVERYTHING changes“Under Currents” is an interesting story told from many different perspectives With a gripping plot and well developed characters including an awesome dog I had a hard time putting this book downI wouldn't classify this as a thriller though there were some suspenseful moments I did guess a few things ahead of time but was still very interested in seeing how it all worked outThe book is divided into four parts and takes place over two decades I enjoy novels where I get to watch the characters grow Nora Roberts has a knack for writing these kinds of storiesAt times this was an emotional and gut wrenching read but also heart warming and upliftingAn excellent domestic suspense novel about family strength cruelty resilience and the power of loveI'd like to thank St Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel All opinions are my own Oh man Don't read this if you are sensitive to abuse All abuse This book has triggers than a gun showNot that kind of gun show Although that does trigger me Read a book dude Stop being a doucheThat metaphor worked so well that I will also tell you that this book has drama than a llamaOkay that was pun than metaphorI'll try another oneThis couple has been kicked around so much they are like a hacky sack at a Phish concertGah There is so much wrong with this picture that the hacky sack is the least offensive thing here That's an accomplishmentSo now that the terrible metaphoranalogypun portion of the review is over maybe I'll just tell you about the bookOkay so the first part of the book is rough A kid is growing up with an abusive father and gets the shit beat out of him on a regular basis It is really horribleThen we fast forward to years later and we meet a lady who was abused by her husband and is trying to start a new life in a new place She ends up meeting our now grown guy They start a friendship which turns to a romance and that should be about it But no There are too many people who want to hurt them and have all of these revengy plans So they get the shit kicked out of them some Over and over againAnd that's the book It is slow placed in general with occasional bursts of shit kicking It is NOT in any way believable And there is too much on gardening if you hate gardening which I do I pay a dude to mow my lawn to keep my homeowners association happy That's my extent of gardening Oh and I recently bought a plaster gnome and painted it in blues and reds to put in my yard But that's only because it freaks my family out Plus I want it to get kidnapped and have someone send me photos of my gnome in cool places That way I can feel special That's my real extent of gardeningOverall if you are a huge Nora Roberts fan and don't mind the continual abuse and gardening you will like this Otherwise skip itunlike leg day Never skip that This author really knows how to tell a story and never fails to grab at the readers emotions Keep a box of tissues handy if you read thisReading about domestic abuse is always uncomfortable but Nora Roberts tells the tales of three abusive marriages really effectively One of them involves children too so be warned if this is a trigger for you The pain of these issues is counteracted though by including other successful and happy marriages and by showing clearly that it is possible to escape the situations and lead a happy and successful life The author does not gloss over hardships but she does offer hopeI found Under Currents to be a very well written and totally absorbing book 15 starsI don’t really have much positive to say about this It started strong but as we left part one it soon became a snoozefest and to be blunt if I wanted to read a book on landscape design and gardening I’d go help myself to my Dad’s copies of Grow Your OwnPredictable and with dialogue which was at times clunky the characters were actually likeable enough and clearly something kept me reading although I think it was wishful thinking and stubbornness plus it does have a tight knit small town feel but it could have been half the length to little detriment If I were to recommend a Nora Roberts book though it would unlikely be this one CW physical and mental abuse of minors and adults including marital rape I don’t usually make a point of mentioning and although the blurb does very loosely suggest some violence the opening part in particular was seriously hard reading—I’m made of fairly sturdy stuff but it was graphic uite brutal and won’t be for everyone From the outside view the Bigelows of Lakeview North Carolina look like the ideal family Graham Bigelow is the chief of surgery at the local hospital; wife Eliza is the perfect stay at home affluent mother involved in many charities; son Zane is a baseball phenom destined for a sports scholarship and possibly the big leagues; and young Britt couldn’t be a obedient daughter But behind the proverbial closed doors is a somewhat different and troubling view because Graham is mean abusive and incredibly sly about it The story begins here in Zane’s voice and continues for almost two decades Then enter newcomer Darby McCray a talented landscape designer who takes the town and Zane by storm with her incredible vision and infectious personality though she’s got her own sad history It’s a three part story with the first devoted to Zane’s harrowing childhood The subject of abuse is addressed from all angles and perspectives horrifying and educating me in ways I hadn’t anticipated It was riveting stuff that was hard to listen to and imagine but I couldn’t put the story down because the outcome was too important This part of the story needed a hero and I had to wait it out The transition to Zane’s adulthood and Darby’s later introduction was the balm I needed for the next phase with its strong family and community themes I could have stayed there much longer but the sense of foreboding for the last part of the story loomed It was dangerous and the threat was always there even though it lacked the suspense surrounding the sources of it all I loved this story in large part because of Roberts’ skill in tackling a tough subject with honesty and forthright She didn’t pull any punches even when I begged for it Also January LaVoy is one of my favorite narrators who delivered her expected outstanding performance She put me into every scene Lastly I really liked Darby and Zane individually and as a couple their romance a slow but lovely burn Even though the suspense was lacking the uality of the story than compensated for me It is uintessential Nora Roberts storytelling 45 stars 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 underZane 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 backYears 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 Nora Roberts has a gift for writing stories that portray all the intricate dynamics of family the good the bad and the ugly Her stories often demonstrate the power of family to either destroy or save lives and freuently deliver a theme of nature vs nurture that I find fascinating I love knowing when I open one of Roberts books that the human spirit of a character may be sorely tested but the will to survive and persevere over evil will triumph in the end And I appreciate that she often tackles sensitive subjects such as child and spousal abuse with grace respect and empathy as she does in Under CurrentsI'll briefly touch on the storyline leaving readers an opportunity to experience this book firsthand as it should be Under Currents is divided into three parts with the first part taking place in the past and the second and third parts picking up the storyline in present time In part one readers meet Zane Britt Bigelow a brother and younger sister who appear to have it all a picture perfect family living in a picture perfect mansion in a picture perfect part of town But looks are deceiving and readers uickly learn all is not as it appears as these two children are silently suffering the ultimate betrayal at the hands of those charged with loving and protecting them their parents Until one explosive night when everything changesFast forward about twenty years and readers are introduced to Darby McCray a feisty spirited newcomer who's opening a landscaping business in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mtns of North Carolina After the recent tragic hit run death of her mother she's looking for a new start far away from an abusive ex husband This is the first time one of Roberts' romancesuspense heroines has reminded me in mannerisms actions of Eve Dallas the heroine of her In Death series written as JD Robb When Zane returns to his hometown to open a law office the two meet and a slow burn romance begins to flourish And now everything is picture perfect in their lives until ghosts from the past rise to stalk and threaten them Someone is on a mission of revenge but who's the target?As always Roberts flawlessly weaves family and community and the routine of daily life into a story with emotion laughter tears love and a strong sense of belonging The characters are relatable and well developed each playing their role extremely well I will say I would have liked a little reader insight into the inner thoughts of the villain but I guess the vagueness of himher adds to the suspense for some The setting is authentic I live in NC and know the area well and rich in details that tease the senses I like the way the title is reiterated in the story as under currents are always present in one form or another running beneath the surface as evident in this story There are several twists and turns to keep readers on their toes and guessing until the very end While you may or may not be shocked by the final reveal I think you'll enjoy the journey as this book is an addictive Must ReadA special thank you to St Martin's Press for a paperback copy of this arcReviewed at Cross My Heart Reviews SpoilersLet me preface this review by saying Nora Roberts was my favorite author for the past 20 years I can't begin to tell you how many times I've read The Villa Montana sky Sanctuary etc That being said I feel like ever since High Noon she has lost the heart of her earlier books The characters are all the same the dialogue is similar even the situations are similarI was pretty hopeful with Under Currents because the preview was fantastic And yes the first half of the book was stellar I was totally invested with the story the characters felt genuine I stayed up late to readHowever when Under Currents transitioned into the second half it's like a totally different book took shape Too many characters that had really no depth Roberts spent time describing an old lady who changed her will numerous time than the grandparents in the story who seriously should have had a spot in the storyAs for Darby seriously how many times does Roberts have to write about her hair color? And everyone in the book says REPEATEDLY how smart and in tune Darby is but she doesn't wonder if her twice imprisoned ex has something to do with her mother's mysterious death?? Or the break ins to her house? HmmmmmmAs for Zane which okay I'm being picky but his parents do NOT seem like the type to name their child that name he certainly didn't seem that deep either Very little about his regret for losing out on baseball and there certainly wasn't any writing about his deepening feelings for Darby My last complaint about the book was that there was SO MUCH info about landscaping Yes I like gardening but there were certain passages that I felt like it read kind of like a manual

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