Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

A summer at his grandparents’ South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan’s idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he’s discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn’t as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop’s annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker’s body.

As the seasons change and the years roll, Lil stays steadfast to her dreams of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father’s demand that he attend law school and join the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked together hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold most dear need them most.

An investigator in New York, Coop recently left his fast paced life to care for his aging grandparents and the ranch he has come to call home. Though the memory of his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something . . . or someone . . . has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil’s beloved cougar, recollections of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe.
Lil and Coop both know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. But now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.

I don't know people, I've loved Nora Roberts forever but her latest offerings are just not thrilling me the way they used to. I liked this hardcover a lot more than her first Wedding Quartet book, but that's not saying a whole lot in my opinion. I did enjoy this story though, but I just can't put my finger on why I didn't love it. Hmph. Lil and Coop are too pretty good characters and I think the best part of this story is watching them reconnecting. Maybe that's why it irked me - the mystery elements might be superfluous to watching these two character try to trust their feelings for each again. Thinking about it that way helps to remind me that essentially Nora Roberts is a romance writer and if you're not reading her as JD Robb, everything takes a back seat to the connection between those two main characters - it has to in a way. Lil is very disillusioned because of the way she and Coop separated in the past, making it almost impossible for her to envision a future with the two of them together. Coop might have regrets that he had to leave her, but he has no regrets about the fact that it had to be done. It leaves the them both in intriguing positiona, because Lil belives that Coop disregarded her ability to make a decision about her own life and future, and Coop knows that the way he left her was really the only possible option.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. It might have taken me writing this review to fully realize the ups and downs of this book, but it's a good romance and you're rooting for their love and the bad guy's downfall in the end - and what's more fun than that?

Series - None