As a Nora Roberts fan, I looked forward to this book and I was not disapointed. It's rich and entertaining, a nice blend of suspence and contemporary romance. Lil is the owner of a wild-life refuge who's heart and soul are dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild animals. Cooper is her first love, come back after ten years apart to win his way back into her life and her heart. Lil's life and occupation are threatened by a deranged killer with a grudge.
The characters are well-fleshed out and compelling. We are given their basic histories, attitudes, flaws, etc--and I enjoyed learning about them. Lil was especially interesting--motivated, self-assured, and independent. She's an adventurer and a care-taker. Cooper is a strong match for her as a determined protector and lover. The romance between them is both realistic and sweet. Additionally, the cast of secondary characters add fun and depth to the story. Even the villian, a lone killer seeking imaginary revenge, is a well-written and complex character.
The plot is admitedly slow in points, perhaps a bit predictable. It's the people and their thoughts and emotions that really take center stage, and I felt that was for the better. The inclusion of the animals and their stories also help to fill in the slower bits. Wild life lovers will really enjoy this book. Furthermore, fans of Nora Roberts, and romance in general, will find this story satisfying.
The romance between Lil and Cooper is beyond romantic. The distance is hard on them - NYC and South Dakota are miles apart in both distance and culture. The everyday ups and downs of their relationship brings a dose of reality to the romance. These are characters that you can really dig into and enjoy their lives.
Lil's parents (Joe and Jenna) and Coop's grandparents (Sam and Lucy) are the definition of good samaritians. There isn't a mean or immoral bone in any of them. They are the family we all wish we had for their goodness, generosity, dependability, trust and faith in what we do.
What wonderful characters Nora Roberts has created for this stand alone novel.
Cooper - a child with indifferent/difficult rich parents and endearing/loving grand parents.
Lil - a huge animal lover who puts her passion for preservation to work for her. Here spirit guide - the cougar - always has her back.
Jenna, Joe, Sam, Lucy - fabulous familial support.
For all you animal lovers, the Refuge and its animals take center stage for a good part of the story. I'm a huge animal lover and really enjoyed the Refuge and all the activities involved especially pertaining to Baby and Cleo. When I was younger, I always wanted a black panther. No I see how impractical that dream really was.
Even when Nora Roberts isn't writing her traditional romance, her books are spectacular. This one has some dark moments but then again most of her books have some type of adversity between hero and heroine. It wouldn't be any fun if they didn't.
I have taken a break from reading Nora for awhile, but this peaked my curisoity and Nora did not disappoint. This was a great read.
I am a huge Nora Roberts fan, but I think this book is one of her best! Good romantic story-line, great supporting characters, mysterious murders, and superb story/information about animals, especially big cats. One of the things I like best about Roberts's books is her excellent research into an area. Her prose depicts not just general filler information, but actual, authentic references to flora, fauna, customs, architecture, etc. of the area in which the story is set.
Well, she has done it again. An excellent book placed in the Black Hills of South Dakota. You think you know what is going to happen, but the ending is a nice surprise! I must say I may be a little partial to this book since I do live in SD.