I really enjoy Nora Roberts’ romantic suspense novels. She generally offers a great balance between the two genres. Her latest, Hideaway, is no different. She also gives us some delightful characters. Some less-delightful as well obviously. And the novel unfolds over a couple of decades so we get to know some of the players well by the end.
This was a little longer than I probably would have liked, but it certainly hooks readers from the opening pages.
by Nora Roberts
Published by Piatkus
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Caitlyn Sullivan, a daughter of Hollywood royalty, was already a star at ten, but still loved to play hide-and-seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.
Despite her glamorous background, Cate was a shrewd, scrappy survivor, and she managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the bruised and terrified girl huddled in his ranch house kitchen—but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge and comfort, reuniting her with her loved ones.
Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years away in Ireland, sheltered and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul. Then, finally, she returned to Los Angeles, hoping to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…
So this novel starts with a bang. There seemed to be a lot of characters introduced all at once which was a tad confusing… but we soon learn who’s important and who isn’t. Our lead character, Caitlyn, is only 10 when we first meet her. She’s playing hide and seek at her beloved great-grandfather’s (Grandda’s) funeral when she’s kidnapped.
So, the first part of this book is really engaging. It’s fast-paced and there are a couple of twists. Roberts doesn’t play around as we’re offered some surprises early in the book.
We then meet Caitlyn almost a decade later (which disappointed me a little as I was keen to spend time with Caitlyn and her grandmother… and assumed there was some relevance to the inclusion of Ireland in the book). She’s still struggling a little with the events of her childhood and her complete recovery is probably (both) helped and hindered by her well-meaning family.
I should mention I really appreciated the family relationships Roberts gives us here. We learn the Sullivans are a talented show-business family and I loved that there’s seemingly no rivalry or jealousy between generations or family members. It was actually really refreshing to be offered such authentic and ‘what you see is what you get’ relationships.
The pacing slows as we now spend time with the young-adult Caitlyn as she tries to work out what it is she wants from life. And at times I had to try really really hard not to eye-roll at the privilege she has in being able to eschew options in favour of others.
I realise this gives us time to get to know her but she eventually settles back at Big Sur; and yet there’s still a significant proportion of the book to go.
Although Caitlyn receives the occasional suspicious call and there are a number of reminders of the past, she goes about living her life. I think her story arc is kinda predictable but I enjoyed it anyway and was cheering her (and those around her) along.
Ultimately things come to a head and the past rears its ugly head in a more direct way but I have to say it felt a little under-done and there’s not really any ‘edge-of-your-seat’ suspense.
So, although I commented on Roberts achieving the balance between romance and suspense, it’s light on the latter. However… as I’m a non-romance reader, this was fine, as it also wasn’t weighted down by schmaltz. The unfolding romance isn’t drawn out interminably or overdone. And I found myself actually quite invested in the lives of those involved.
I suspect—if Roberts had kept the pace up a little more and ditched some of the contextual stuff in the middle—she could have skimmed about 100 pages off this book and it wouldn’t have suffered for it. It might well had stopped me continuing to check that there was still soooo many pages to go and being fearful it was being dragged out.
As a complete aside, I did also wonder if Dillon and his family had featured in a previous novel as there was some reference to his father’s death and I felt there was more to that story. I tried to remember if we’d met Dillon or his mother or grandmother in a previous book by Roberts.
Hideaway by Nora Roberts was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.