Book Critique - Come Sundown
Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: Finally Nora Roberts is back with her strong women and men with powerful story-line that takes the reader into the shades of light and dark of human mind, all along stringing them with romance, love and family dynamics.
Come Sundown is the 78th stand-alone book by Nora Roberts, published in May of 2017. The central plot revolves around Bodine "Bo" Longbow - manager of her family resort - and Callen "Cal" Skinner - her childhood crush.
I had bought this book while I was traveling to CA to meet one of my brothers and his family in June of 2017, when I had realized I didn’t carry a book with me on the plane, they were tucked in the luggage that I wouldn’t retrieve until I reach my destination. A quick survey at the book stores in the airport got my attention to the then newest book by Nora Roberts.
Lo! And behold, it was in my hand and I had voraciously read through it during the flight, although had only finished 25% of the book. But after I returned back from my trip, I never picked the book again until now - Partly may be because I was into 25% of the book and had already guessed who the killer was and partly because the flashback in the plot reminded me so much of her book, The Obsession, which was published a year earlier to this book.
Anyways, I finally gave the book another shot and thus my review this late.
Bodine "Bo" Longbow managed her family resort - Bodine Resort - in Western Montana. A normal routine day for her that gets interrupted by the arrival of Callen "Cal" Skinner, her childhood crush and now working for her on the resort. While she is sorting out her feelings for Cal, a murder happens on the premises of her resort. And suddenly forgotten past, hidden secrets and childhood feuds come to surface clashing with each other and fighting for a spot to stay on. And that is where Nora takes her readers in Come Sundown.
Nora has the plot again split into parts, like most of her stand-alone books, giving them a feeling of series of books bundled together. Here we have four parts - Part One titled "A Journey"; Part Two titled "A Purpose"; Part Three titled "A Sunset" and Part Four titled "A Return"
Nora's story goes back and forth between a past that was some 30 years ago and present in the time. However, at one point the past and present collided so suddenly that it gave a jolt to me as a reader.
Given the fact that the setting of the entire plot is in Montana with ranches and horses, I guessed Nora would bring in the cow boy movie references into the story. And she did not disappoint me. We get to hear about some of the famous movies such as A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014 film), Tombstone (1993 film), Quigley Down Under (1990 film). But she mentions one movie called Fourteen Acres which I couldn’t find it anywhere, Perhaps she made it up.
If you have been reading my reviews, you must have seen me ranting that Nora's books lately haven't been as powerful as her books from 2007 and prior to that. However, in this book I felt that it is truly written by her than a ghost writer, which I suspected so for some of her books in recent years.
Story line is strong, female and male characters are filled with spine and grit, the central theme being dark yet has tons of shades of oranges and reds blazing through and above all the language is exactly what Nora's books carry. Finally I feel she is back again.
Although it took me two years to pick this book again and finish it, I must say it is a very good read, with shades of dark and light, giving the dynamics of a family which owns business, hedged with romance and life, all along taking the readers into the dark underbellies of human mind. Looks like an easy light read, but a powerful one, none the less.
1) Plot Reveals:
a. Bodine's family included her mother Marueen Bodine Longbow, her father Sam Longbow, older brother Charles "Chase" Samuel Longbow, younger brother Rory Carter Longbow, her grandmother Cora Riley Bodine, her great-grandmother Miss Fancy and her long-lost and now found aunt Alice Ann Bodine
b. Romance sparks between Rory and Chelsea Wasserman - a new hire as an assistant in events at the resort; and also between Chase and Jessica "Jessie" Baazov - the resort's event manager.
c. Nora Roberts has one of her character Jessica make a Bird's Milk Cake for Thanksgiving event. However, it is called as Ptichye Moloko in Russian, where the dessert originates from. Interesting name and recipe, mostly looks easy. Perhaps will try one of these days.
d. Alice Bodine who was held in captivity for several years had given birth to six girls and one boy during that time. I would have wanted to know the fate of the girls but Nora has her character not wanting to know giving it a some kind of closure.
e. Nora has Alice and Maureen plant a sister garden as kids and then now after reuniting as adults. I was wondering what a sister garden was and only reference I got was about Three Sisters Companion method of planting involving winter squash, maize and beans. Perhaps that is what she was talking about.
2) Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:
a. On Pg. 81, Line 17, it should be "…hadn't taken that away…"
b. On Pg. 122, Line 1, it should be "…take you out of the house…"
c. On Pg. 399 and 400, Nora has a confusion between "wilted arugula" vs "wilted lettuce" in the conversations between Jessica, Bodine and Callen.