Lacey Louwagie's Reviews > River's End

River's End by Nora Roberts
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's review
Oct 15, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: romance, mystery
Read from October 04 to 15, 2010 — I own a copy

This book had a lot in common with Nora Roberts' book Black Hills, which I really enjoyed. Both centered around a romantic couple that met in childhood and fell in love as adults; both featured a female protagonist who threw herself into a career with the natural world to avoid emotional entanglements; both included long-distance relationships [in which the man moved for the woman]; and both had a psycho-killer who endangered the female lead as a main antagonist.

All felt handled with more dexterity in Black Hills, which makes sense since it was written about 10 years later. But River's End was an enjoyable read. Although the murder mystery plot wasn't my reason for selecting this book, it did keep me guessing right up to the end. I liked the main characters and thought Nora handled Olivia, the female protagonist, especially well, portraying her trauma-induced panic attacks and avoidance of human company believably and sensitively (Olivia was witness to her mother's murder when she was a child). Most of the central characters were well-developed, but a few secondary characters were so stock that they made me cringe, in particular the male lead (Noah's) "hippie" mother (tofu for every meal! save the whales! buy organic!) and his "crazy" ex girlfriend. But Olivia's father--the prime suspect in her mother's murder--is especially intriguing and oddly sympathetic, especially as he emerges from 20 years in prison.

Although Olivia's parents were both Hollywood stars, it's handled in a way that doesn't feel too gratuitous, and Olivia's own shunning of a life in the spotlight keep the story anchored in reality. I also respect how long Roberts spent developing the characters (over half the book) before giving much focus to the inevitable romance between them. However, there were a few nuances I found unbelievable, particularly Olivia having too many detailed memories from the young age of four. I also thought the story (particularly the romance, once it did get started) dragged out for a little longer than it needed to. So while it wasn't the best NR I've read, it was an enjoyable, quick read that felt a notch above run-of-the-mill fluff.
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10/06/2010 page 70

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