Desert Isle Keeper
Angels Fall is a book to get lost in – which is exactly what I did over a long holiday weekend. Featuring fascinating characters caught up in events they can’t control and set in a remote town in the majestic Wyoming mountains, this big, meaty story represents born storyteller Nora Roberts at her incredible, storytelling best.
Once a hot, young Boston chef, Reece Gilmore’s perfect life and future were derailed when she was victimized in a brutal crime. Though Reece eventually recovers from her physical wounds, her journey towards emotional recovery proves to be far more difficult.
As the book opens Reece is fleeing her personal demons by living as a drifter. She travels from town to town working just long enough to make enough money to live, avoiding any and all emotional ties, and hoofing it off to the next town as soon as the urge hits.
When car trouble strikes just when she arrives in Angel’s Fist, Wyoming, Reece takes a job cooking in a diner in town. Understandably wary of letting her guard down in more ways than one, Reece eventually – and tentatively – settles into a routine and into an apartment above the diner.
Not surprisingly, in a remote town like Angel’s Fist, Reece and her reason for being there are a hot topic among the denizens of the town, many of whom Reece can’t help but begin to like. One of these turns out to be Brody, a city refugee just like herself and a former reporter who now makes his living writing mystery novels. Though Brody keeps largely to himself, he hardly qualifies as a recluse and he, in turn, finds himself intrigued by Reece.
But Reece’s brave baby steps towards a normal life are thrown into disarray when she sees something she can’t deny while out hiking in the nearby mountains. On a nearby ridge she witnesses a deadly struggle between an unidentified man and woman that culminates in what Reece is certain is the woman’s murder. The problem is that the sheriff can find no evidence that a crime took place, leaving everyone in the town – except Brody, that is – to doubt the story told by the admittedly emotionally fragile young woman.
Angels Fall is without question a story of romantic suspense, centering around the budding romance of Brody and Reece and the search for the killer, but it’s also just as much a story of a young woman’s journey from a life controlled by fear back to the land of the living. I have to admit, however sympathetic I was to her character, I became somewhat frustrated by Reece’s fears at one or two points in the book – I won’t go into detail her for fear of spoilers, but I think you’ll recognize the spots when you get there – but this is such a minor quibble that ultimately it doesn’t even really register.
Adding to the book’s appeal is an unusually lively and interesting cast of secondary characters. It’s hard to single out one since they all spring to life so completely, but I’ll admit a special fondness for Joanie, the owner of the diner and a woman who rose from single mother to the town’s resident (and extremely hard-working) entrepreneur. And can I also say that I was pretty smugly certain that I had correctly identified the killer about half way through the book, only to learn that I was…well, totally wrong?
I have to also admit that I don’t normally think of Nora Roberts as a writer of amusing dialogue, but a few of the exchanges between Reece and Brody did make me laugh out loud. Brody is a guy with a very dry sense of humor and his gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) teasing of Reece seemed the right way to handle a woman who is a bundle of nervees – not to mention darn funny. I do, on the other hand, consider Ms. Roberts as a mistress of realistic dialogue, but, even judging by her very high standards, the dialogue in Angels Fall rings exceptionally true.
Her biggest and best book (though I always feel compelled to point out that I don’t read the J.D. Robbs) since Northern Lights – and, heck, I’ll just admit that I like this one even better due to its focus on the heroine – I can’t imagine that fans of Nora Roberts will be anything less than enthralled with Angels Fall. This is a good one, fellow readers. A very, very good one.