Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ARC Review: Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

Pub. Date:May 30, 2017
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Length:480 pages

I devour every J.D. Robb novel that comes out, but I don't often find myself grabbing the Nora Roberts books. I don't have any rhyme or reason for that, other than time and opportunity. I do have some of the Nora Roberts audiobooks lined up for a my road trip next month though, so I can at least start working on the backlog.

Come Sundown is a a modern western romance, set on a horse ranch and resort in the beautiful landscape of Montana. Between the horses and the detailed landscape, it really has me wanting to go spend some time on a dude ranch (and maybe rope me a cowboy)!

Roberts grabbed me right from the prologue where, in the early 1990s, Alice Bodine was abducted off the side of the road within a dozen miles of her home. As a wild child who had ran off to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune, Alice's family was totally unaware of her attempted return and dire circumstances. The whole situation raised the hairs on my arms and had me excited to find out what happened next.

Then we flash forward to the present day Montana where the extended Bodine-Longbow family is still running the ranch, but has also expanded operations to include a western-themed resort. The story dragged for a ways here while the characters and setting were developed, which took some time. There are a multitude of family members, ranch hands and resort employees that needed introductions and back stories. The story was still interesting, but the change in pace was a bit jarring after my adrenaline spiked during Alice's abduction.

The heroine of Come Sundown is Bodine Longbow, the twenty-five year old niece of Alice. Bodine is the resort manager for the family resort, and seems a bit like the manager and strong backbone of the family as well. She was a likable and relatable heroine, evincing maturity in relationships and capability in her professional life. She was matched well with the male lead, Callen Skinner.  Cal is the prodigal returned, back in Montana after his own jaunt to Hollywood working horses for the film industry. Cal and his fabulous horse, Sundown, have moved into one of the cabins on the Longbow ranch and will be helping out around the ranch and resort. A mild romance is sparked between Bodine and Alice, and the relationship is interspersed between family and work life as the story meanders along.

Flashbacks to Alice's time in captivity are sprinkled throughout the text, giving us a glimpse of the horror she suffered. Honestly, I was more embroiled in Alice's story than the romance, and the need to know what happened to her kept me turning the page to dang near 4:00am. I found the whole situation to be morbidly fascinating (and terrifying), and those flashback segments really helped to advance the plot in the midst of the humdrum daily life at the ranch. Once past events intersect with the present day, the story moved much faster (and kept me reading despite my tired gritty eyes).

I found this story to be an amalgamation of women's fiction, romance and suspense, and would recommend it to fans of same. My favorite characters of the story were Alice, Ms. Fancy (the 90 year old family matriarch), and the clever and charming Sundown.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, St. Martin's Press.