A lot of buzz usually surrounds a new release from author Nora Roberts and that was definitely the case with The Obsession, her latest romantic suspense title, which I started hearing about in late 2015. The plot sounded intriguing, so I decided to pick it up for review.
As a child, Naomi Bowes knew there was something different about her father. The secrets he kept turned him moody and often mean, but Naomi didn’t know the reason behind his strange behavior. One night, determined to discover what was going on, she followed him to a nearby root cellar and was shocked by what she found. Her father has been keeping a young girl prisoner there, and, after helping her escape, Naomi learns that he’s done it before. Suddenly, her family is thrust into the middle of a media frenzy, and life will never be the same for any of them.
Twenty years later, Naomi finally feels like she’s moved on from the horrors of her childhood. She is a successful photographer, and is living under the name Naomi Carson as a way of distancing herself from her father’s crimes. When she buys a rambling old house in the small town of Sunrise Cove, Naomi is sure she’s about to get the fresh start she’s always wanted. Unfortunately, someone from her past has other ideas.
Sunrise Cove is a charming town, filled with kind people and a sense of peace Naomi has never known before. A part of her longs to relax into her new life, but years of putting up emotional walls make this difficult for her. Slowly, a few of the town’s residents begin to worm their way into her heart, most notably Xander Keaton, a kind-hearted man who finds himself quite intrigued by Naomi and her secrets. Then, Naomi’s past comes back to haunt her in the form of a stalker who knows much too much about her family secrets.
While I found the story interesting, there were some problems with the pacing overall. The first quarter of the book is devoted to Naomi’s childhood, something which causes later portions of the story to appear rushed. It might have been better if readers learned about Naomi’s past through flashbacks instead of actually seeing it firsthand. Also, the suspense angle is introduced quite late, and as a result, the book lacks the kind of build up I usually enjoy in romantic suspense. The identity of Naomi’s stalker took me by surprise, perhaps due to the fact that I didn’t have a lot of time to figure it out.
The romance between Naomi and Xander is sweet and sexy. I often struggle to like Ms. Roberts’ heroes, as they’re frequently on the overbearing side, but while Xander has a few domineering tendencies, I found myself liking him quite a bit more than I expected to. I loved the way he respected Naomi’s need to ease into a relationship while still making his interest in her very clear.
While not my favorite Nora Roberts book, The Obsession will most likely appeal to many fans of romance that contains a bit of suspense. If you can forgive the sometimes uneven pacing and enjoy the blossoming relationship between Naomi and Xander, you will most likely find this to be an entertaining read.