It’s been a while since I liked a Nora Roberts book. She’s one of my go-to authors for good romance, but of late her writing has felt a bit… predictable to me. The last three stand alone novels before this one (The Liar, The Collector, and Whiskey Beach) were significantly less than stellar, and none of her other recent books have come anywhere close to Sea Swept (Quinn Brother/Chesapeake Bay #1), which is probably one of her best books.
Funnily, the thing I liked most about The Obsession was that the romance wasn’t front and centre. The plot focused more on the female protagonist, Naomi, who discovers and reveals her father’s crimes (trigger warning: rape, torture and murder) when she saves one of his victims.
The consequences of being the one to expose her father affect her and her family (a younger brother and two uncles) all the way through her childhood and into adulthood. Despite working hard to put it behind her and move on, Naomi is unable to truly become comfortable in any place, and is haunted by the extent of her father’s atrocities. She becomes a photographer, travelling from place to place without putting down roots, until a dilapidated house in a small town calls her to stay. But her newfound sense of belonging, and even peace, is shattered when women in her town begin disappearing and her past threatens to destroy the life Naomi is trying to make for herself.
The storytelling is good, and the plot is fast-paced. I did discover the identity of the killer very early in the book, but the author wove in just a tiny sliver of possibility that it could be one of the other characters, which kept the suspense and intrigue from entirely disappearing. The protagonists and supporting characters aren’t as annoying, one-dimensional and cardboard as those in some of her other recent books. My favourite characters were probably the dog and Lelo, one of the male protagonist’s best friends.
All in all, while not one of Nora Roberts’ best works, it’s worth a one-time read.
*Featured book cover image from Fall Into the Story, the official blog for Nora Roberts and JD Robb readers.
*Also published on Goodreads.