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The Obsession

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2016)
“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.”

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

453 pages, Hardcover

First published April 12, 2016

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About the author

Nora Roberts

2,106 books49.2k followers
Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including Hideaway, Under Currents, Come Sundown, The Awakening, Legacy, and coming in November 2021 -- The Becoming -- the second book in The Dragon Heart Legacy. She is also the author of the futuristic suspense In Death series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

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5 stars
35,916 (47%)
4 stars
25,260 (33%)
3 stars
10,383 (13%)
2 stars
2,600 (3%)
1 star
1,332 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,958 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf).
445 reviews288 followers
May 4, 2021
Well, I haven't given a book such a low rating in a while... I am such a big fan of Nora Roberts! I don't know WHAT happened with this one!! Yet, I seem to be the minority as it gets shining reviews on GoodReads.

Naomi was only 12 years old when she saved a young woman from one of the most notorious serial killers the country has ever known. He was also her father. As an adult now, Naomi moves from place to place and hasn't been able to settle down because people find out her true identity - as the daughter of a monster. When she decides to buy a house in Sunrise Cove she finally thinks she has found a place to call home... But there is a new killer out there, and he has his sights set on Naomi.

Now, where to begin? It was off to a great start, Naomi as a young girl saving the woman and discovering that her father was a viscous serial killer. But when it skipped to her adult years it really dragged on for me. It was way too drawn out. I felt as though 70% of the book was discussing interior designing and colours of the house she was renovating and I actually began to dread when she walked into another shop to look at stuff to buy for the house.

The love interest was promising, until he started bossing her around, verbally abusing her and being a total a-hole to her at times because she needed to "get over it".

And the stupidity of the characters... "Oh there is a serial killer after my girlfriend? That's ok, I'll just go to work and leave her all alone..." or "Gee that guy over there looks suspicious, I've never seen him before... He matches the description of the serial killer who is out to get me, and he is staring straight at me... Oh wait its probably nothing, I'm overreacting" or "Its ok, you can leave me alone with a serial killer after me, I've locked these GLASS DOORS, nobody is getting in.." Sigh.

I think this book was a 3 star read for me up until the end with the dog in the hospital. I actually yelled "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" as I listened to that part and decided to deduct another star!

The audio version went ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON. The narrators monotone voice didn't help. I didn't enjoy her portrayal of the other characters, especially the males, which sounded exactly like the females and exactly like each other.

The killer was EXTREMELY predictable. My number one pet peeve!

I'm sorry Ms Roberts for this terrible review! I truly am a big fan! Just not of this one.

Would I recommend The Obsession?

Nope, see above...

For more reviews check out my:
Profile Image for  A. .
1,161 reviews4,170 followers
February 11, 2019
Pleeeeeeeeeeeease! Somebody put me out of my misery.

I almost died of boredom. It took me eleven days to reach the 50% mark. And I was reading it non-stop.

I. Can’t. Do. It. Anymore.

If, by any chance, you are planning to renovate your home, this book is perfect for you. Remodeling 101: A Home Remodeling Guide for Beginners.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a short summary of the plot:

Kick ass beginning.

Heroine’s new house description.

Rooms, plans and furniture descriptions. Everybody comes to see the new house.

Renovations ideas. Construction work.

Descriptions of the heroine painting a room. Construction work.

Furniture descriptions of the friend’s house. New ideas.

More furniture descriptions of the hero’s house. Taking photos of the said house.

Furniture descriptions of the heroine’s house. Yes, again.

The most anticlimactic kiss ever. He just puts his lips on the heroine out of the blue. No chemistry. No anticipation. No passion. The dialogue continues as if the kiss didn't happen.

Colors. Patterns. More furniture ideas.

Most anticlimactic sex ever.

More. Furniture. Descriptions.
(I forgot whose house it was this time.)

The icing on the cake?

Oh, WOW.

Excuse me, where exactly is romantic suspense in this boring to death renovation manual? Because it’s neither romantic nor suspenseful.

Moving on...


Enjoyment: 2/5
Writing style: 4/5
Storyline: 2/5
Hero: 3/5
Heroine: 3/5
Secondary characters: 4/5
Hotness/steam: 2/5
Romance: 2/5
Angst: 2/5
Darkness level: 2/5
Humor: 2/5
Depth of the book: 2.5/5
POV: multiple, third person

Profile Image for Alex is The Romance Fox.
1,461 reviews1,088 followers
June 28, 2017
1,5 stars

Let me start by stating that I've been a HUGE NORA ROBERTS fan for years and years. But something seems to be off with her latest books...........maybe it's just me, but the spark in the earlier books is missing!

And The Obsession had a "spark" missing for me!!!

The beginning was pretty good and I began thinking...yay....this is going to be a winner!!! But by the middle..........hell, forget the winner!!! It was downhill all the way. I just wanted to scream....
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The only characters I kind of liked were the younger version of Naomi and her brother, Mason...........but as adults........talk about idiotic characters!!!!

Long, boring......me just trundling along, yawning....but I just have to finish this one...it's Nora Roberts!!! Suspense...where??? Romance.....where??? Serial killer on the loose........oh yes, I knew exactly the identity...no big surprise there!!!!

Another peeve..........I felt as if I had read this plot before........somewhere!!! It felt old story again!!!
I know that the majority of the reviews are high but for me..........this one didn't do it!!!!

In fact, I'm seriously rethinking any future Nora Roberts books..........
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And the only reason for 1,5 stars is because the beginning was really good.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
April 26, 2016

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.

With that description, I was pretty sure I was going to be hooked on this one straight away. And I was.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up―especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Xander!! OMG, what was not to like? Tall, handsome, rides a motorbike, he sings in a band ... and sings cover versions of SPRINGSTEEN!!!!!! How perfect. He could serenade me all night long as he strummed his guitar, while I strummed .... OK, getting a bit carried away there.

Not sure if chest hair was mentioned. My review. My imaginings.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

He wore scarred motorcycle boots and faded jeans with a hole ...

He couldn't have stopped if the world ended.
When at last he thrust into her, he thought it had.
For an instant it stopped - sound, breath, movement.
Then it all rushed back, a tidal wave that battered and swept and pounded beyond reason.
He lost himself in it, in her, gave himself to it, to her.
When it broke in him, she broke with him.

"You should always wear sunlight. It suits you."

He leaned over and touched his lips to hers.
A life of sunrises and lilacs of friends and quiet moments.
And a really good dog.

"We're in a thing, Naomi."
"A thing?"
"I'm still working out the definition and scope of the thing. How about you?"
"I've avoided being in a thing,"
"Me too. Funny how it sneaks up on you."

Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,041 followers
April 28, 2016
4.5 stars!!

This book reminded me why I love Nora Roberts. And although I haven't picked up a Nora Roberts book in a long time, I still count her as one of the greats who really fed on my romance addiction. From the engaging plot to the cast of complex and layered characters, The Obsession grabbed my attention from the very first page. And when I say first page, I mean that literally.
Holy freakin' prologue is what it was. It was creepy and scary and had this sinister feel that really put the readers right into the middle of the action.

Naomi was about to turn 12 years old when she discovered the true nature her father and the extent of his crimes. It was one of be most gripping sequences in book and like I mentioned above, I was hooked. The plot moved quickly taking us through the aftermath of her discovery and how she and the remaining members of her family dealt with it. It showed readers how much her father's notoriety affected Naomi's view about relationships and her reticence in having people know about her.

Things get even more exciting the moment the book caught up to the present. The present being Naomi having just bought a huge house in the middle of Nowhere, America despite not wanting roots and all the responsibilities that come along with it. The present also brought us Xander "be still my heart" Keaton.

I'm going to go off tangent a little bit to say that Romantic Suspense is probably my least favorite sub-genre of romance because most of the time, it either has great suspense but weak romance or it has great romance but a weak suspense arc. And at first, I was concerned that The Obsession was going to be one of those great suspense but weak romance type of book. But boy was I wrong. So wrong because once Xander was introduced, the romance angle got really interesting and really fascinating. That is not to say that the book wasn't interesting prior to Xander's appearance because it was but there's nothing more exciting than reading about two people falling in love despite the eff up situation they're in.

Xander just blew me away. He's probably my most favorite among Nora Roberts' heroes. Roarke held that title for a while but Roarke's character feels remote and inaccessible at times. Xander has the swagger and the confidence that Roarke has but none of the standoffishness. He's laid back but he's definitely alpha with a capital A but he's not OTT, growly, caveman, "MINE pussy" alpha that's very common nowadays. He didn't overwhelm the story or overshadowed Naomi's development, which really worked for me big time.

Aside from Naomi and Xander, this book has so many characters that stood out to me. I really want Mason's story. Mason is Naomi's younger brother and like Naomi, his father's crime fundamentally changed him. Fingers crossed Nora writes a book about him.

Overall, this book definitely rekindled my love for this author's writing.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,164 followers
January 25, 2018
Nora Roberts' books all have the same kind of feel to them, so if you're an Eve Dallas fan, or liked other books of hers, you will like this one. I'm a fan. But, sometimes, okay - always, I armchair quarterback books and think about what I wish had been done differently, and in this one I really wished she had gone a different route. Maybe I'll write my own book - my way - someday. Then again, probably not.

All the good book ideas are taken...

In this book, we have Naomi, a photographer who just bought a giant-ass house by the beach and is completely renovating. When she was a young girl, she found out her father was a serial killer by rescuing his latest victim and seeing all of his photo evidence of his previous kills in a creepy cellar/dungeon he kept. It has haunted her all of her life, so this is the first time she has ever tried to settle in one place. She immediately meets a stray dog and not-stray man and things get complicated.

"You have to face it, Slim. You’ve got yourself a dog. What’s his name?”

“I’m not naming him.” If she named him, she was finished.

“What do you call him?”

“The dog.”

I understand where she's coming from. We once found a poor little kitten on the side of the road and I named it "Free Cat" until it fulfilled its name-destiny. But, Naomi is a bigger sucker than I am because that dog eventually gets a real name. From her.

Well, that's true. We really do.

The guy, Xander, is a mechanic in town and also plays in a band. He also sticks around way more than Naomi was expecting, and already had a stupid name. Which makes me want to bring up how NR loves to do the alpha male + commitment-phobic female thing. She likes using that formula as much as she likes making her females tall, thin, and with short hair. I don't mind - I just notice it a lot. I think if she ever had a chubby, short, long-haired female who's a bit on the clingy side as her heroine, I'd wonder if someone stole her identity and kept writing books in her name.

Sorry, angry cat. Identity theft is no joking matter.

Unfortunately, while Naomi is settling into domestic life with man and dog, there is a killer out there doing the exact crimes her father did and he happens to pick a girl who happened to pick a fight with Naomi the night she went missing.

Now, here's what I thought should have happened:
Girls keep getting taken and killed and the killer starts sending Naomi photos of them. Finally, the FBI figures out who the killer is and calls her, and it turns out to be the guy standing right next to her! He's in the house! It's the mechanic! Haha! That would have been sweet. That would fuck her up so badly. First, her father, then she finally lets a man in her life and he's a serial killer too. Oh, that's good stuff......

Kind of.

But, that is not what happened. Not at all. So, don't worry about spoilers.

I'll just stick to reviewing books.

Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,571 reviews191 followers
April 9, 2016
I have had the pleasure of reading many books by this author and she always has a wicked way with a story. It can be contemporary, futuristic or even occasionally more historical but you can always count on being entertained . This book threw me straight from the offset. It's divided into sections and the first part takes place seventeen years ago. Straight away there's something intimate about the writing. I felt I was with Naomi every step of the way. There's a sense of immediacy that held me riveted with descriptions that leapt into my minds eye. I could feel the hot oppressive night, sense things about Naomi's father that her young mind simply accepted as normal . Most of all her trepidation, actual fear and even her heroic efforts felt real.
Fast forward and Naomi has never been able to truly settle and hides who she is and the atrocities her father committed still continue to haunt her. Yet for some reason a dilapidated house that's truly a money pit calls to her artistic nature. It's a huge decision for this nomad but one she hopes will work out. Quiet town , no close neighbours and best of all her true identity is unknown. Naomi initially trusts and befriends her contractor and then of course there's his wife. It would look odd not to engage with locals and the last thing Naomi wants is to inspire curiosity . Then of course there's the mighty fine mechanic / musician Xander. Dreamy , yes but not on Naomi's list of projects to do but that guy certainly is persistent ! Somehow Naomi parts company with her quiet life with even a dog in the house! Then things start going pear shaped as young women turn up dead and somehow it all seems scarily familiar !
I really liked the characters in this story. It's a small town but ties bind so many . Xander has his work cut out as he slowly realises that this thing they have could be really important . Of course there is the big secret that Naomi hides casting it's shadow but it doesn't stop her starting to live again . Romantic and sweet moments even an ending that made my eyes well up . Best of all I want to try steak a la Tag! This was a solid story and yes I did guess but there was a huge clue given shortly after work in the house commenced but that didn't spoil my enjoyment one iota. This lady can write! Recommended to those who enjoy romantic suspense .
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,469 reviews9,634 followers
May 2, 2016
Poor little Naomi had to find out her father was a rapist and serial killer. But she saved one girls life. That's what matters.



"I know you had a hard night, and you're having a hard day on top of it. Do you know what's going on here?"
"Yes, sir. My daddy hurt Ashley. He tied her up down in that old cellar in the woods by this burned-out cabin place. He hurt her really bad, and he hurt other people, too. There were pictures of them down there. I don't know why he did those things. I don't know why anybody would do what he did."

I loved the first of the book. The character of Naomi when she was a little girl was very strong and grew up into an even stronger woman. The book tells the story of what Naomi, her brother Mason, and her mom go through with the dad going to jail. The mom was an idiot and kept seeing the father even in jail. But, she had 14 something years to be brainwashed by him.

Naomi's uncle Seth and partner Harry had the family come live with them. But..... the mom caused problems and they all had to move again.

I love the relationship with Naomi's uncle. He and even Harry were so good to the family. But the mom just had so many issues. I won't say how that all worked out.

A little later it moves on to when Naomi is an adult and buys a beautiful house in the middle of nowhere that she is doing up. She also finds a love interest and a sweet dog! I loved Tag the dog :-)

This is the part of the book that dragged me down a little because nothing really exciting happened. I mean a woman gets killed in the same way as the others when Naomi was little. But it just didn't keep me reeled in like the beginning of the book.

I figured out who the killer was during the beginning of the book. I think it was the beginning.... not far into it at any rate. Well, I had my thoughts of who it was and I was right. I just wonder why it took them so long to try to find her. I think I know but I won't say. Lol

Anyway, it was pretty good but that is my opinion so you can just decide for yourself.

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Alp.
736 reviews374 followers
August 29, 2017
A compelling romantic suspense story.

Needless to say, Nora Roberts is a master storyteller, with the plots that grab you from the first to the last page and the characters that you are interested to learn more about. And The Obsession didn’t fail me. In this book, I was not only impressed by the suspense aspect which made me unable to put it down, but also by the way the author smoothly blends humor into the dialogue. The playful and witty banter between Xander and Naomi totally hit the spot for me. I adored Mason, Naomi’s brother, and also her two gay uncles. The strong bond and the love between them truly touched my heart. The ending brought a big smile to my face. It was so lovely, heartwarming, and beautiful that I couldn’t have asked for a better one!

Even though it wasn’t difficult for me to guess who the bad guy was, the suspense was gripping and very well-written. It was retained from the beginning of the second half of the story onwards. And I can tell you that it gave me the shivers to read about this psycho villain and that absolutely had me on the edge of my seat many times.

I sometimes felt like I couldn’t read this book fast enough!

Anyway, however much I enjoyed this book, I had to drop my rating down to 4 stars due to my problem with the romance part. Not that it wasn’t sensual enough or anything, but somehow Naomi managed to ruin it for me. As you may know, one of my pet peeves is the heroine with commitment issues. So, I must admit that Naomi sort of rubbed me the wrong way every time she tried to push Xander away. That was quite annoying. Seriously? He was such an endearing guy! He was really into her and he cared about her. How can one say no to this man?!

Nevertheless, this was a very enjoyable read. Fans of romantic suspense definitely don’t want to miss out on this one.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,078 reviews13.3k followers
January 18, 2023
This was such a fun romantic suspense and I'm so excited for my Nora Roberts journey!! The heroine this book catchers her father torturing a woman and helps the woman escape. She turns her father in and it turns out he's a serial killer. Now, she's a photography living in a small town in the Pacific Northwest and she's renovating a house. She meets an infuriating mechanic and, I have to say, I was not a fan of him when we met him. But he slowly started showing layers to himself and I ended up falling for him and loving him for our heroine. The middle of this book was pretty slow with home renovations until we finally have some murders and suspense with someone killing women in the town the same way the heroine's father murdered the women he would take. I think the person behind the murders was kind of obvious, but then the story became about how they would stop/catch him, not about figuring out who he was. The romance was good and the suspense was solid, so I'm glad I read this one! I can't wait to pick up my next romantic suspense from Nora!!
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,938 reviews790 followers
September 30, 2017
I can honestly say that this book will probably conclude my Nora Roberts reading experience. After reading several of her books have I come to the conclusion that I'm not the right person to read her books. I still want to read her J.D. Robb books because they have proven to work better for me.

But, there is something about the way Roberts write her books that just doesn't work for me. And, I'm pretty sure I know what it is. First, the story is way too obvious. I figured out the killer's identity quite early (very easy to do) and then I spent the rest of the book waiting to see if I was right (and I was). And, that just takes away the enjoyment of reading the book. I did however like Naomi and the first 100 pages or so in the book was really good and for a moment I thought that this book would turn out good. Then Xander turned up in the story and everything went to hell.

Honestly, suspecting who the killer was could I have lived with when it came to this book. But I couldn't stand Xander Keaton, the main characters Naomi's love interest. For some reason, I can't stand the way Roberts write romance. It feels the same way every time I read one of her books. Up until Xander, the book was good (despite me suspecting and guessing right what would happen later on), but after that, the book quickly turned less enjoyable and I started to skim through the book so that I could get to the end. I did however like Tag, the dog, that Naomi found, and I also liked Naomi's brother Mason. I wouldn't have minded seeing Mason having a larger part in the book. His presence towards the end of the book made the book a bit better.

Unfortunately, there are no surprises in the book, I feel that Roberts has found a safe way to write and sell books and then she stuck to it. I wish the book could surprise me more, not just the typical woman meets a man that makes her feel safe and loved after a hard time and then they face trouble together before the happy ending. Some like that kind of books, I don't!

1.5 stars

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,518 reviews3,778 followers
March 2, 2019
3 Stars

Overall Opinion: I've been in a huge book slump lately, so when I was looking for my next read I thought "why not?" when looking at this suspenseful read. I have found success in branching out to other sub-genres in the past when looking to break a slump, but sadly I don't think it was the case here. The pacing and flow was ALL over the place (see pacing section below). I'm not quite sure how the publishers and editors that uber popular Nora Roberts has were okay with this. The book felt disjointed and did not have a good flow at all. There was a catching first section that drew me in. Then there was a super slow description of Naomi's life up until adulthood (which to an extent I understand was necessary), and then there was a ton of decor and photography descriptions/scenes. Then as if it was like "oh crap I gotta work in some suspense" and there was a side suspenseful aspect that felt way too rushed and not given enough attention (especially after the decor and photography stuff). It ended way too abruptly with a lot of stuff up in the air. While I do agree with other reviewers that the romance and suspense had a pretty good balance, I didn't feel like the romance was concluded like I needed it to be. An epilogue would've gone a long way here! Welp...on to the next 🤷🏻‍♀️

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Naomi and Xander's story. When Naomi was almost 12, her world was turned upside down when she found out her dad was a serial killer. She goes through life not forming attachments because she has learned that she can't escape her past. She eventually finds herself in a small Washington town where she fell in love with and bought an old house. For the first time in her life, she is wanting to settle in one place and grow her photography business. She meets Xander and he doesn't accept her excuses and they end up falling in love. Naomi's past comes back in a big way, and there are some suspenseful moments as well as some mystery...and they get a HFN ending.

POV: This alternated between focusing mainly on Naomi and Xander in 3rd person narrative with a few sections with a few side-characters.

Overall Pace of Story: My biggest issue with the book. It was all over the place! It had a fast paced start that grabbed me, then it seemed to slam on the breaks for about 3/5ths of the book, then for the last 5th it was in fast-forward with a suspense aspect and an abrupt ending.

Instalove: No, they take a while to develop stronger feelings.

H rating: 3.5 stars. Xander. I don't think we got into his character as much as I'd have liked -- it felt kind of surface level, but what I did get I liked!

h rating: 4 stars. Naomi. I liked her. I appreciated her strength through all the horrible things she had to go through.

Sadness level: Low, no tissues needed

Push/Pull: Yes

Heat level: Mild. They have some tension and a few scenes -- but not super descriptive and not very many scenes to where it takes away from the story.

Descriptive sex: Kind of. Not super descriptive but also not quite fade-to-black.

OW/OM drama: Yes, but mild

Sex scene with OW or OM: No

Cheating: No

Separation: No, once they get together they stay together.

Possible Triggers: Yes

Closure: This ended really abruptly with what I would call a HFN ending . I had a lot of unanswered questions and I think a glimpse into their future would've been really nice...some kind of epilogue!!

Safety: This one should be either Safe with exception or Not Safe for most safety gang readers depending on personal preferences.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,151 reviews192 followers
March 24, 2016
Omg! This is by far the best book I have read this year. I've always loved Nora's books and this one hooked me from page one. Once I started reading I couldn't put THE OBSESSION down. It took me almost until the end of the book to figure out who was obsessed with Naomi. I found myself cheering for her and hoping she could get past all the tragic things she saw in her life. Be prepared to do nothing once you start reading her heartbreaking tale.

ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.
Profile Image for Angela.
3,198 reviews368 followers
April 5, 2016
First things first: TRIGGER WARNING!!!

I wish I'd had a bit more of one going into this. Yes, you can tell from the blurb that something horrible happens, since Naomi is rescuing some woman from a cellar, but this is a central theme throughout the book.

Rape and torture happen, not just once or twice, but multiple times, and we experience these things from not just the heroine's speculation and memories, but from the perpetrator's thoughts. There have been a couple of times while reading this book that it's been a bit too much for me. I skimmed long sections detailing what the 'bad-guy' was doing, thinking, feeling and skimmed many sections where it was speculated on. This probably affected my reading and, consequently, how I feel about this book overall.

Nora Roberts' books and I have a long and varied history. The first thing of hers I ever read was Carolina Moon (still a favorite), and there have been many other favorites along the way. There've been just as many meh and do-not-like's as well, though.

This fell somewhere in between. Part of my problem is that the romances just don't feel as believable to me anymore. If I go back and re-read my favorite NR books, I LOVE the romance, I love the dance, and the getting to the HEA. It never feels rushed or too quick. It's always perfect. So, it's weird that now it does feel rushed and too quick and slightly unbelievable. Maybe that's my growth as a reader, wanting different things from my books. I don't know.

Xander was a mechanic/business owner, half-owner of a bar, book lover, nerd, and lead guitarist in a band (that's actually good). It felt like a little too much. And beyond naming him these things, and showing him within these environments it felt a little like window-dressing. I just didn't buy them all. He was a general care-taking, (nice) alpha with some domineering tendencies, but mostly loves that this woman is independent and smart.

Naomi had been through some shit. Seriously. And I loved that it affected her, that she wasn't just over it - or even able to get over it quickly. I loved that the book took us through her development and growth throughout her life, instead of just plopping us down with her to-be-HEA and showing how love heals all (don't get me wrong, I believe love heals a lot, but it's overused in romance novels, I think).

What lost this book the most love from me was the villain. 1) I figured out who he was very early in the book. 2) The time we spent in his head was incredibly disturbing. And considering he's the (majority of the) cause of the trigger warning up above, it was too much for me.

If that had been all, I probably would have still scored this a bit higher. But then there was all the times - in the first half - that I was pulled out of the story with irritation over some sexist, slut-shaming, or woman-bashing comment. It wouldn't have been so bad if there'd been some calling out on this sort of behavior and thoughts, but there wasn't. It was said, it was laughed about or brushed off, or just a normal part of conversation, and then it was over. I know these comments ("bros before hos," "she's a slut,") happen in real-life, a lot, but I'd have liked to see a bit better from my heroes, maybe just someone saying 'hey, that's not cool. Happily, after the half-way mark these sorts of things eased up.

Considering the above, color me surprised that this book passes the Bechdel Test. Not only does the heroine have a real passion and career, but so do other female characters in the book. AND they talk about things OTHER THAN men. Not just once, but several times. It was refreshing to actually see Naomi talk about her love of photography, and go about actually doing her job, selling her pictures, making business deals, etc. Jenny refinishes furniture - and is excellent at it. They haggle and deal, barter and trade. All of it without male influence. I love it.

Overall, I think if someone didn't have the issues with the type of crime perpetuated in this book it would probably be much more enjoyable. I've read, and loved, quite a few Nora Roberts' books in the past, and I'm sure I will in the future. I might have to start sticking with her series though, as they tend not to be as dark.

This review also available on The Book Eaters
Profile Image for Corina.
759 reviews2,128 followers
May 26, 2020
I might not 5star every book by Nora Roberts but I’ll definitly read every single standalone book that she writes. I’m not a big fan of her trilogies, those are hits and misses but her hardcovers are something I look forward to every single year.

Of course some speak to me more than others, but I liked this one a lot, enough to read it a second time this week.

If a book has either of these ingredients I’m a very happy reader….

A puppy or adorable dog.
An artist, like a photographer.
Flipping or remodeling houses.
A strong and manly guy that’s sneaky and determined.
And a happy ending.
And guess what, The Obsession had all of the above!!!! YAY!!!!

On top of al that, as an amateur photographer myself, this book had a wealth of ideas and information that were incredibly interesting to read about.

That’s usually something I can always rely on, Nora Roberts researches the HECK out of every theme/topic she writes about. Her books are incredibly well researched and go well beyond the typical surface information.

I truly appreciate her dedication to her work – it makes each book more appealing and captivating.

But, let’s get back to the book.

The Obsession was a suspense novel, and following the authors formula it guaranteed that someone was going after the books heroine, Naomi Bowes.

Naomi lived through a dramatic event when she was just twelve years old. Even then she was already a strong and independent person, one that stood up to evil and looked into it’s eyes. She was a fighter, with high morals and surrounded by a loving family.

What I loved the most about this book was the premise of her being a photographer who bought a HUGE house, that had been unoccupied for years, and needed some loving care.

Moving alone to a small town, starting a HUGE project by remodeling a house that had an insane amount of rooms, was a taunting undertaking. Fortunately Naomi met awesome people along the way. The typical small town characters that had a surplus of charm and eccentricities that made the story so much more interesting and appealing.

Her love interest, town mechanic Xander Keaton, was wonderfully swoony. He was well read, played in a band, owned his own garage, and was well liked. All in all he was a genuinely good guy!!

The second male character I LOVED was Tag – the dog.

Naomi found him at the side of the road, half starved and in need of some loving. He latched onto Naomi like velcro. Even so she had no intention of keeping him, she even refused to name him, but since he tagged along wherever she went – Tag stayed.:D

It was amazing how much the dog, house and Xander changed her. She felt more established and secure in her new life. Both, dog and man gave her peace and a reason to stop wandering. That big old house felt suddenly like a HOME.

While she remodeled and grew closer to Xander, someone from her past was lurking and casting his net closer and closer. Naomi’s brother, a FBI agent, was also taking a closer look, but maybe not close enough.

As usual, Nora Roberts kept me guessing until the very end about who the bad guy was. After so many books, she knows how to write solid suspense novels and is a master in diversion.

Her newest hardcover release Come Sundown will be out at the end of May – sooooon!!!! I can’t wait to read it. The blurb sounds amazing, the story plays on a resort ranch in Montana (would love to go there on a vacation) – again the topic is right up my alley.

Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog.

Find me on Bookstagram.
June 12, 2022
5.18.20 and 6.11.22
Still rereading some of my favorites

Blog Review: http://sweptawaybyromance.com/the-obs...

4 Suspenseful Stars!

As I started this book I was instantly drawn to young Naomi. Naomi is a couple of days away from her 12th birthday when she discovers what a monster her father is. As the story continues we see Naomi, her mother, and young brother Mason learning to live with the fallout of her father’s depravity with the help of her beloved Uncle Seth and his partner Harry.

Young Naomi is excited about her upcoming birthday and to see if she’ll get a new bicycle. Naomi wakes up during the middle of the night and sees her father heading into the woods, she thinks he’s hidden her bike in a secret place and is going to put it together to surprise her, so she follows him. Instead, the horrible secret that she uncovers will affect Naomi and her family for the rest of their lives….what she finds is truly horrifying but her actions make Naomi hero.

You come to truly care about young Naomi, who has grown into a woman still trying to outrun her nightmares, literally. Seventeen years have passed and Naomi has a career as a successful photographer, however, she lives her life without putting down roots, traveling frequently and never staying in one place for long. Then she visits Sunrise Cove, Washington, where she impulsively buys a huge old rambling former B&B on a bluff.

 photo 8C40EDF4-7813-4E18-A156-4BA8042FC905_zpsdlf4ch5h.jpeg

Xander is the owner of the local garage and body shop, part owner of the local bar, and the frontman of a garage band. Naomi has never allowed herself to become involved in a serious relationship until….Xander. He’s handsome, rugged, confident, and patient. Life for Naomi is definitely looking good, she’s making friends, finding love, blending into the community, and even adopts a dog. Then, women start disappearing and it looks like her nightmares may be becoming a reality.

I truly loved that Naomi and Xander didn’t get caught up in secrets and lies. They’re both straight shooters regardless of the fact that Naomi keeps her background to herself until she feels it’s safe enough to share with Xander and her new friends.

All in all, this was a great read, Nora Roberts did a fantastic job on the suspense element, but I had an inkling of the identity of the perpetrator. Even so I think fans of Nora Roberts will enjoy this story of mystery, intrigue, and romance. My only complaint is that there was NO epilogue, which reflects in my rating, had we had an epilogue this definitely would have been a 5 Star read for me!!

Originally read: February 2016

*ARC kindly provided by publisher via NetGalley
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,600 followers
July 21, 2017
The first word that comes to mind now that I've finished this audio book is 'chilling'.

It's dark, especially when we are in the mind of the killer. It's hard for me to believe there are really people out there who have these thoughts, who can actually justify and condone their behavior.

I enjoyed getting to know Naomi and Zander, and watching their relationship grow but, to be honest, I was mostly interested in the crime aspects of the story, and in them finding the horrible person committing the murders.

What a story! As I said, chilling and hard to take at times, but I wish I had listened sooner and can't wait to listen to more by Nora Roberts!
Profile Image for Carlos.
588 reviews289 followers
February 11, 2017
Interesting story, first romance I have ever read , I'll say it , I thought this book would be more centered on the mystery , but I hadn't taken into account who the writer was (turns out Nora Robert is a very known romance writer) . All taken into account , this book turned out better than expected once I found out it was a romance book. There are a lot of mentions of photography and construction, so if you don't like that then you will get bored , followed by a focus on the romantic aspect . The mystery itself is not the focus of the book so if you want to read this book then be aware of that . The first 100 pages are the best part of the book.
September 3, 2022
4.5 stars

I really enjoyed this story - this is now one of my fave Nora Roberts books! I alternated listening to the Audible version and the kindle version. The narration was well done, in my opinion, and I am picky.

Without getting into extreme detail, as a young child, Naomi Bowes follows her father one night on an innocent mission to see if he was hiding her birthday gift somewhere. What she finds is not even close: it is an abused woman along with evidence of multiple other women tortured physically and sexually at her father's hand. The h helps the woman escape, and when everything hits the fan, she is relocated with her uncle and his partner, given a new last name (Carson), and a new lease on life, though she does not let many people in and likes to keep to herself. Even with those precautions, she finds it is harder to escape her past when a book and movie about the now notorious serial killer, aka her own father, is released. So she moves to the other side of the country where no one knows her to start a new life and so that she can focus on her career as a photographer and artist. When she buys a beloved landmark in the small town and decides to renovate it, she starts to meet people and learns she can have friends again... at least she thinks she can. She even starts to let a man into her life: Xander Keaton. But there is an admirer of her father's "work" lurking in the shadows, and he is getting closer and closer to his ultimate target: Naomi. What will happen when she is confronted not only by her past but by a psychopath intent on ending her new life?

There were a few times where the story seemed to slow down a little bit towards the middle, but other than that, it was very enjoyable and hard to put down, at least for me! I did guess who it was about 2/3's of the way in (mainly process of elimination), but it was still well executed.

Plot --- 4.5/5
Narration --- 4.25/5
Main Characters --- 4.5/5
Supporting Cast --- 4.25/5
Steam Level* --- 3.5/5
Violence --- some (abuse and murder; not overly graphic but present)
Triggers --- descriptions of abuse (sexual and physical)
Language --- some
POV --- 3rd

*Note that steam level is not a rating so much as a how hot was it: 0/5 - clean; 1/5 - mild (nothing descriptive); 2/5 - 3rd base action/1 home run; 3/5 - now we're getting somewhere (a couple of full-on steamy scenes); 4/5 - yes please! (erotica territory); 5/5 - they did EVERYTHING in this one, y'all
76 reviews9 followers
April 23, 2016
Pet peeves: Psycho's POV, sexism disguised as compliments, multiPOV
Warning: I'm not being vulgar or anything bad, but this book made me angry and I may be itsy bitsy sarcastic. I tried to leave the emotion out of it, but the longer I wrote, the more it showed. I may come to this review and make it more presentable in later days, months or years, but I wouldn't count on it.

The story was OK. Nothing new or even resembling originality, but it was a good read.

I don't know, why it's tagged as "mystery" and "thriller", when there's the psychos's POV. I wish his POV was somehow marked, so I wouldn't have to read a few sentences before I realized I shouldn't read that part. Unfortunately, I read the last sentence from the first psycho POV, so any "mystery" left in the book was gone.

The Sexism. Everytime I forgot about it there was a reminder. Did you notice, how Naomi is special, because she's not like every other woman, except she's like every other women in romance books? She doesn't wear a giant purse with her everywhere she goes (like every woman, who's not Naomi), she oh's and ah's when she sees his amazing car (like no other woman, except Loo, would have) and even when she says "10 minutes" she means "10 minutes"! Oh and if a woman is upset, she runs to her girlfriend!
My point? Has the author ever heard the term "individual" as in everyone is different? As in there are no two women the same? As in there are no two men the same?
Now the idea of a manly man working as a mechanic, driving a beloved car, wasn't exactly sexist, but just too boringly overdone.
Oh, if you didn't realized - Naomi is cool, because she was raised by gays and one of them isn't even white!
Oh, oh and this one! Imagine a stressed woman in a bad mood. What? What do you mean they don't have those? Right, I forgot, it's called bitchy mood.

MultiPOV is bad, because there's no suspense. When you know what both sides think and feel, what's the point in 300+ pages? You could make it more interesting by leaving some mystery in the book.

Oh and I almost forgot
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,049 reviews3,459 followers
March 19, 2021
Hey I finally read a Nora Roberts book!!! It was about time and I enjoyed this quite a lot! I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly, but based on the cover I thought The Obsession would be more a fast paced thriller. It's definitely not that. Instead, this is a surprisingly cozy and domestic slow burn romance that also includes...serial killers? Yep, serial killers! Who knew you could have a cozy serial killer book?

The story begins when our heroine, about to turn twelve years old, discovers her dad has a woman tied up in the basement of an old cabin. Turns out he's a serial rapist and killer. Which is traumatizing for obvious reasons. Fast forward through her younger years, she's now around 30 and has purchased a big old house that needs renovation. She finally begins to open herself to love and friendship in this small town. Then women begin disappearing. While there is certainly some intense content in this book, I really loved it and has a great time reading it. I'm a fan of slow burn romance and books about healing from trauma, which this book certainly delivers. It is a bit on the long and slow side which might not work for everyone, but really enjoyed it.

I read this for a video project: https://youtu.be/HKou8ouOIOc
Profile Image for Mei.
1,881 reviews414 followers
September 1, 2016
I was so hoping this would happen...

...or at least this…

...but, unfortunately, Tag was a nice dog…

I must say that I loved this book because of the way it was written!
It’s divided in several parts where the first is a huge shocker, the next ones a nicely developing romance and the last one a bang!

While the first put me in killer mode, where I wanted to torture her father to death (a very slow one, though!), the next parts were beautiful!

We see Naomi, now grown up, as she finally stops her wandering around and stops and buys a house. A gorgeous house, but in bad shape. So she decides to renovate it and, one by one, many people come in her life when, except her uncles and brother, nobody was there before.

These parts are the healing, coming out from a cocoon, parts, where she learns again that she’s worth love and friendship, where she stars opening herself to others.

She rescues a stray dog, lately on named Tag for obvious reasons, who adds a nice touch to the story.

She also meets Xander… And Xander meets Naomi…

What to say? A slow building is all on Naomi’s part, while Xander knows what he wants since the first moment. But.. but he’s dead wrong! It’s not lust, but it takes him a while to get it, giving time to Naomi to understand her feelings.

I didn’t mind the slow pace, the descriptions of the house, of the forest, of the sunrises and sunsets – I loved them!

I also loved all the secondary characters.

I wanted to go live in Sunrise Cove myself! I wanted to get a dog, to go shopping with Jenny, to hang in Loo’s bar and listen to Xander’s band… I wanted to know how to make beautiful photos (I’m lousy at that… to my everlasting sorrow…)…

It was perfect … maybe a little too perfect, but I loved it nonetheless!

And then came the last part. During the last half of the book we get a small snippets of a killer’s mind and he’s just as disgusting as her father! A creepy, egomaniac, sociopath. And thus my pics on top of this review! They explain all I feel!

Anyhow, a well worth reading!
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books353 followers
January 1, 2022
Naomi Bowes was only eleven years old when she followed her father out into the woods on a rainy night and discovered the terrible secret he was concealing in the root cellar. After she rescues Ashley, preventing her from becoming the next in a long line of victims, her life is upended. As always, Nora Roberts does a fabulous job examining the psychological impact on the family. What would it be like to live knowing you had a relative who has done unspeakable things? Some relatives react by pulling together. Others fall apart. This was my favorite section of the novel.

As with most of her romance novels, this is told across a long time span, decades actually, and we also see Naomi years later after she’s moved across the country from West Virginia, to Washington DC, to New York, to Washington State, and changed her name for a fresh start. But when women begin disappearing where she lives, Naomi wonders if the past may have caught up with her. I thought this was well written and kept me guessing all the way to the end.
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews243 followers
December 19, 2016

A long and boring story about a house renovation ( look, for that there's "House Rules"... of which I'm fan), with a lukewarm romance _ the number of stereotypes in which the guy falls into is ridiculous _ and almost no suspense (with the exception of the beginning of the story), in a supposed thriller.
The only reason this doesn't get a one star is because the author obviously knows how to write.

I've read so many NR's books and lately it seems as if the author has fallen into this clinical writing style that annoys the hell out of me.
As for the romance, it is probably the weakest of them all.

A big meh for a big book.

How this got nominated for best romance _ by GR's _ is beyond me.
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,241 reviews296 followers
July 27, 2019
O carte emoționantă! O poveste despre o fetiță care își denunță tatăl, care descoperă că acesta este un criminal în serie. Povestea vieții ei, a evitării ieșirilor în evidență, a expunerilor în public.
Naomi este un personaj puternic, luptător. O eroină impresionantă, care face față provocărilor pe care soarta i le scoate în cale. Xander este un bărbat suficient de curajos încât să spargă toate zidurile ei de protecție si să o iubească.
Și nu doar atât! Când un ucigaș o ia în vizor urmărind tiparul tatălui ei, este dispus să facă orice să o apere. Și o face!
O carte pe care am citit-o cu sufletul la gura și un nod în gât de emoție. Deosebită carte!
Profile Image for Chris  C - A Midlife Wife.
1,511 reviews269 followers
April 5, 2016
I cannot even tell you how many Nora Roberts books I have read in my life I've been following her for so many years. It seems like every single one is engrossing and better than the next.

This book was an amazing read. I couldn't put it down and I kept sneaking back to it when I was supposed to be cooking dinner and doing other things. But it is so well written and as usual, Nora Roberts, kicks it up a notch with a wonderful romance and a twist of dark, suspenseful elements that just encourage you to keep reading.

While I knew and figured out "who done it" about 3/4 of the way through, it did not stop me or ruin the ending at all. In fact, I kept waiting for something to happen and when it finally did, I was surprised that it was very different than what I was expecting. I love when that happens!

This author is a remarkable talent that is unlike anyone else in the industry. She consistently gives amazing stories, with beautiful detail that just brings you right into the middle of it and doesn't shake you loose until the very end and this book, The Obsession, stayed with me for several days after I finished. The mark a truly great story. Not to be missed!
February 6, 2017
4.5 serial killer stars :D

“People don’t always know people close to them the way they think they do.”
- Naomi

* * *
“No, you couldn’t know everyone, and even when you did, you didn’t.”
- Xander

* * *
“I love you, Naomi. That’s the start, the finish, and everything in between.”
- Xander
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
November 5, 2016
An extremely captivating story. Although predictable at times, I still rate it 5 stars. Wonderful mystery and would recommend to anyone.
Profile Image for Wendy.
1,641 reviews557 followers
February 16, 2018
Whenever I want a page turning, feel good read Nora Roberts is an author I go to with many novels to choose from. The Obsession has to be one of my favourites.

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