The Obsession by Nora Roberts
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 12th 2016
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Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.
Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.
Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.
Naomi is a few days away from her 12th birthday when she follows her father into the woods. At first she thinks that he’s going to the creek to cool off since it’s so hot outside but he goes into the woods and ends up in a root cellar by a burned out house. When he finally leaves she sneaks down thinking she’ll find that he’d put together the new bike she’d asked for for her birthday. What she finds is that her father is a monster. He had been kidnapping raping, beating and then killing women for a long time. Naomi becomes a hero that night.
After her father is arrested Naomi, her younger brother Mason, and their distraught mother go to live with their maternal uncle and his partner who Naomi and Mason grow to love (they had been cut off from him because he was gay). They all change their name to Carson, their mother’s maiden name, and try to live normal lives but the crimes of their father never were far behind them.
Naomi grows up to be a photographer and moves from place to place, getting attached to nothing and no one. She likes it that way until she finds Sunrise Cove when she’s 30 years old. She falls in love with the town and in one house in particular. She buys it and starts to renovate it and finally puts down roots.
She starts to become part of the community and starts a relationship with a local businessman and mechanic. Xander is wonderful for her and though he finds out her past he still treats her the same – not like she’s tainted because of who her father is. Unfortunately, there’s someone out there who has a thing for Naomi and it’s not all champagne and roses. When Naomi finds out about this villain she has to decide to put her past behind her and move on with the strength to help find the guy or to wallow in her past and let it beat her down once again.
This book was a great one. I really loved so many things about it. I loved seeing Naomi as a child and my heart broke for what she discovered about her father – seeing everything first hand. Then with her mother being broken she really had Mason and her uncles to rely on. They were always there for her, however, and I loved their strength and support.
Naomi’s relationship with Xander started off kind of strangely, imho. I didn’t really feel the attraction and quite frankly wasn’t sure if I liked Xander or not. I started to warm up to him when I saw how much he was falling for Naomi and soon really liked him. Naomi had closed herself off from caring for anyone except her brother and uncles. She felt she couldn’t get close to anyone for fear they’d find out about her background and she couldn’t take the attention. Once in Sunrise Cove it took her a while but she soon realized that she could be truthful and up front about her past and they would not think less of her. It took time for her to accept but most good things in life do.
The suspense aspect of the story was brought up near the end. Yes, the obsession had been going on for a while but we’re not made aware of it til later in the book. I personally thought it came to a kind of abrupt conclusion (I guess I just expected it to be a bit more drawn out) but it got the job done. Though the book is called The Obsession I didn’t feel like that was what this book was about. Yes, it was there, and happening in the background, but to me this was a romance novel through and through. That’s what kept me reading – along with Naomi’s personal growth.
Overall a really good book and one I’d most certainly recommend.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5