Black Hills: A Novel
As I think I've mentioned recently, I've been reading a lot of Nora Roberts lately and have definitely found that I like the full-length, standalone novels better than the straight and shorter romances. This falls in the latter category and is definitely one that made me come to that conclusion. Like some other Roberts novels, this one starts out with the two main characters (Lil and Cooper) as kids, 9 and 11 to be specific. She builds their story gradually and believably, and she does so while expertly laying a foundation of strong family connections on both parts. When we finally get to present-day, Lil and Cooper have of course become estranged, but are now back in each other's lives. In what I've read of her, Roberts seems to have certain patterns, and this falls under the one where they'd been deeply connected, the ties broke, then they reconnect and the male lead (Cooper, in this case) is adamant that they'll be partnering up again whereas the female lead (Lil) is resistant. Other reviewers have indicated that they found Cooper to be too assertive and not very appealing; I didn't find that to be the case at all. I liked him, and I thought that, though adamant, he was entirely respectful of where she was coming from. I enjoyed the way they came back together (also part of the pattern) and I thought it was true to the characters and the story. My only real issue with this book came towards the end. At a certain point, the whole suspense story arc stopped working for me. I just didn't buy it in the way I've bought into other Roberts story lines; it didn't feel quite as cohesive. (Thus the 3.5 rather than 4 stars.) Several of the chapters just made me think, "Huh??" But once I decided to just suspend my disbelief and go with the writing, I was a lot happier. The only other complaint I had was that, after brilliantly building the suspense for a couple hundred pages, the final scene(s) between Lil, Cooper, and Lil's stalker were a bit of a let-down. I would have liked a little bit more of a one-on-one(-on-one?) chase to fully play out the tease. All in all, however, this is one that I'll probably come back to when I'm in the mood for a good, solid, romance with a cowboy thrown in.