Rating: 4 / 5
When I saw that Nora Roberts had a new book out on the recent releases shelf at the library, I picked up a copy to squeeze it into my current month’s reads as I needed something that seemed an easy read to balance out some heavier content. As it turns out, UNDER CURRENTS starts off a little heavier than expected (trigger warnings for some serious domestic abuse), but I still wound up enjoying it overall.
UNDER CURRENTS by Nora Roberts begins with main character Zane Bigelow as a teenager, growing up in a seemingly perfect house and perfect family. His father is a successful surgeon, his mother a happy housewife. Zane and his little sister know what the world doesn’t, that their father has a brutal and violent temper and their mother is a willing participant in exchange for her ‘perfect’ life. Zane and his sister finally escape, but it is not an easy road.
Jumping forward in time, Zane is now an attorney returning to his hometown and to the family he loves. Darby is the new girl in town, a talented landscape architect looking to make a fresh start of her own. Each has darkness in their past that they must confront, both figuratively and literally, and move beyond to find happiness.
I went into reading this book without having read anything about it, so I was initially taken aback by the violence of the first several chapters of the book. Nora Roberts paints a very real picture of the trauma that Zane and his sister confronted in their family and the hurdles they had to overcome to make allegations against a pillar of the community. I think this is important to Zane’s story, but it is probably best to go in aware if you are sensitive to such content. The book gives some of Zane’s father’s POV along with some other less than savory characters and they do bring trigger warnings for violence, homophobia, and language.
I’ve read some of the author’s works which are set in Ireland and know she writes beautiful Irish landscapes. Here she translates that into the landscaping done by an Irish woman! While I am not knowledgeable myself about the local plant life of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains where Darby is working, the descriptions really have me wishing that the bungalows she’s landscaping were really available for rent! While my garden is nowhere near what Darby lays out in this fictional paradise, I had to use my lovely squash blossoms for my photo!
Overall, this is a story of an idyllic town and a community of good people among the bad. It is an ideal place to face one’s past and set out a future with a happily ever after!