Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Teaser: As children in the small town of Progress, Tory Bodeen and Hope Lavelle were inseparable until tragedy struck. One night, Tory ran to the Lavelle's door bruised, bloody, and screaming hysterically. A few hours later, Hope's battered body was found in the woods near the property.

Fast forward many years, Tory is returning to Progress to confront the demons she left behind and open up her own business. She quickly becomes the talk of the town and the target of many dangers.

Short Thought: A richly developed mystery with just a hint of the supernatural.

Expanded Thoughts: Tory Bodeen is a great main character with a unique gift. She just 'knows' things. She can find lost items, hear thoughts, and experience things through others eyes. It is like a curse to her. Her father is a abusive man who views her gift as a sign of the 'devil,' and he attempts to beat it out her throughout her childhood. Her mother is no better, she just stands by and blames the beatings on Tory herself. Despite all of this, Tory turns out okay and actually quite successful. Upon returning to Progress, after her parents relocated, she is a savvy businesswoman and builds a profitable retail store. She was truly I character that I loved following.

As for the romance element, both main couples were great. It has that nice 'love will help heal wounds' vibe that is fun to read. These four damaged people are brought together and made into better people for it. The relationships weren't overly gushy and were uncomplicated and easy to follow.

I also loved this novel because it touched on some hot button issues. Class (sociological and financial status) was a huge issue. Cade (and his late sister Hope) are heirs to the wealthiest estate in the area with an enormous house to match. Tory's family used to rent a house from them until they relocated into a trailer with a roof that has more holes than shingles. We are shown that both classes have struggles and scandals that differ greatly but are equally as damaging to someone brought up in it. It just adds another element to the story, scandal, and romance. It isn't cheesily done either, it is done well.

The mystery plot, as with most of Roberts' works, was done very well. It had me guessing who the real perp was until the end. It was also perfectly balanced. The love story didn't overshadow the mystery, and the mystery didn't overshadow the any of the other mechanics in the story. This is a wonderful novel to start into this genre, or positively change your opinion of it.

Additional Notes: This novel contains dark themes, violence, and sexual situations.

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