All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Whiskey Beach – Nora Roberts

on October 22, 2013

Whiskey BeachWhiskey Beach
Nora Roberts
Piatkus Books
2013, 484p
Read from my Nan’s stash

Criminal defence lawyer Eli Landon used to have the ideal life: successful career, wealthy and well connected family, beautiful wife and home. And then it all fell apart. His marriage broke down, he discovered she had been cheating on him and in the midst of their divorce, Eli discovered the body of his wife in their home, her head bashed in by the fireplace poker. The police believed that he did it, one detective in particular. But after a year, they couldn’t make anything stick enough to lay charges.

Now Eli has retreated to the family home in Whiskey Beach. It has always been inhabited by a Landon, most recently his grandmother but she recently had a severe fall down some stairs and is recuperating at Eli’s parents place in Boston. Eli’s notoriety has cost him his job and he arrives in Whiskey Beach to take care of Bluff House, get his life back together and maybe write the book that’s been circling around in his brain.

What he didn’t count on was his grandmother’s housekeeper, Abra Walsh, a woman of many talents and jobs who takes nurturing to a whole new level. Her close connection to Eli’s grandmother means that she has followed the case closely and believes in Eli’s innocence. She’s shocked and saddened by the man that shows up at the Bluff House and becomes determined to help him find himself again, providing nourishing meals, a sympathetic ear and employing her skills as a masseuse in order to help reduce Eli’s stress and get him enjoying life again. At first Eli is resistant but he soon learns that with Abra, resistance is futile and that she might just know what he needs, even more than he does.

But as Eli attempts to move forward with his life and perhaps find some happiness, it becomes obvious that there’s someone out there who doesn’t want that for him – who holds a grudge. And is willing to do whatever it takes to bring him down, the way that the police never could.

Back when I got almost all of my books from my Nan, I read a lot of Nora Roberts books. It’s been a while since I’ve read one but this one had some good reviews and Rachael Johns recommended it to me so after a few books that perhaps weren’t really doing it for me, I decided to give this one a go and see if I could sink back into something familiar. And for the most part, it worked.

Nora Roberts has always written interesting romantic suspense and this one is really no exception. Eli was wrongly accused of murdering his soon-to-be ex-wife and after over a year of being subjected to questioning, investigation, etc, he’s finally made a move away from his old life. He knows his innocent, the cops can’t make it stick and even though his ex-wife’s family are still making noises about a wrongful death suit, the general consensus seems to be that won’t eventuate either. But Eli is deeply scarred and damaged, both by the disintegration of his marriage, Lindsay’s murder and the investigation. He’s drastically underweight, he doesn’t sleep and he seeks to hide himself away from the world. Abra, the yoga-teaching-masseuse-cook-housekeeper-waitress with a devastating past of her own doesn’t let him, force feeding him in slow increments until Eli is eating proper meals and craving more of her cooking. The two of them bond slowly, carving out a friendship that is partially reluctant on Eli’s part and determined on Abra. She knows that she knows what he needs and I found that equal parts frustrating and well, good. Because she was right in the end, but it’s so annoying to have someone refuse to listen to your wishes and just do whatever the heck they want anyway. Abra was one of the few things in this book that I didn’t really love – she was okay but she was so flawless hippie with a heart of gold that I felt like she wasn’t fleshed out as well as she could be. She had all the answers, everyone loved her, she was gifted at everything and when you got into her past, it only emphasised even more how little Roberts had bothered to give her flaws or anything remotely resembling a real human personality like she did with Eli.

The mystery surrounding who killed Lindsay, Eli’s former wife was good but the other one concerning a rumoured treasure buried somewhere near Bluff House reminded me of a Roberts trilogy I read some years ago which also revolved around a shipwreck many years ago near a family home and a supposed treasure. There were some clear differences, both in the circumstances of the shipwreck/treasure and the characters but it still made the writing in this one seem a bit lazy, like Roberts was just phoning in part of the mystery because she didn’t have any new ideas. The book is also probably 50p too long but parts of it were really well written and I liked the way in which Eli took control of his life again and stood up for his rights and what he was entitled to and wasn’t going to let the police or the fear or Lindsay’s death hang over him anymore. He became more proactive and he and Abra did have a relationship where they supported each other. There is one instance where Abra keeps something from him but the way in which they worked it out was really well done and felt genuine.

Whiskey Beach, while not one of this author’s best, is still a pretty solid story with perhaps just a few minor drawbacks.


Book #271 of 2013


One response to “Whiskey Beach – Nora Roberts

  1. Malvina Yock says:

    I felt much the same! Enjoying your reviews. Malvina

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