By Nora Roberts. A daughter the family believed turned her back on them has come back home, after being held captive 25 years. Though her family
is strong, will she or any of them ever be the same?
“Come Sundown” is No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and I know why. It is riveting. I freely admit Nora Roberts is one of my favorite writers, and one of the few whose books I still buy in hardback the day they are released. She has a way of creating a story that pulls you in from the first page and keeps you reading until the last word. Then, of course, you want to cry because it’s over.
In 1992, Alice Ann Bodine was trying to get back home to her family’s Montana ranch. She ran away the day after her sister’s wedding and hadn’t contacted anyone in years. It’s snowing, freezing cold, and she’s walking when a kind stranger stops and picks her up. Unfortunately, he immediately knocks her out, and she wakes up chained to a bed in a dismal basement.
It’s now 2017, and the Bodine family ranch now includes a resort and is a booming business. With more than 30,000 acres and four generations running the Montana vacation haven, it is a popular place. It is overseen by Bodine Longbow, the great-granddaughter of Miss Fancy, who still has a good seat on a horse and isn’t slow to give her opinion. Miss Fancy and Cora, who is Alice’s mother, live in the grannie’s place and mostly leave the running of the ranch and resort to Cora’s daughter and husband and their children, Bodine, Rory, and Chase.
Nora does a superb job of moving readers between the past and the present, giving them the full horror of what Alice suffered and how the family is still dealing with her absence. We get the full picture of tragedy, grief, and loss. When Alice finally escapes and comes home, we’re moved to a completely different story, but with the same family wit, wisdom, and love that has been there all along.
This book is a family saga, a murder mystery, and a beautiful love story because the family’s newest employee is Callen Skinner, who left Montana himself many years ago. Now he has come back and realized home is where he’s meant to be and the feelings he has for Bodine are more adult now.
You might think all these family members, staff, and outside characters would be a little confusing, but, as usual, Nora fully develops all of them and makes them come alive to you. You care about everyone from Alice to Easy, who mucks stalls and grooms horses. Though they may appear briefly, all of these characters have something essential to add to the story.
This is such a timely book, with the women who escaped their captor in Ohio and, of course, the amazing story of Elizabeth Smart, who actually confronted her captor before he was sentenced to life in prison and according to many press reports said, “I have a wonderful life now.”
Nora handles the ups and downs of Alice’s return with empathy and great care. She lets you know how it affects each family member without overloading the story with narrative. This book will keep you up at night. I know, because I was up until midnight reading on two school nights and was dragging the next day at work.
If you enjoy stories of strong families and mysteries that will keep you guessing, this is the book for you. I believe “Come Sundown” will be on the bestseller list for many weeks to come.
About the Author
Nora Roberts is the author of more than 200 books and began writing her first book during a bad snowstorm when she was stuck at home with two rowdy little boys. She was among the first authors of the Silhouette romances that had a 30-day shelf life and brought women to bookstores in droves. When she moved to longer fiction, her audience followed.
To provide something a little different from her usual romances and family sagas, she created the near-future characters Eve Dallas and Roarke, writing under the pseudonym of J.D. Robb for many years. J.D. Robb was finally revealed as Nora in the 12th book, and she continues to write two books in this series every year.
She also writes a trilogy every year, and they often have a paranormal or magical element to them. The first book in the 2017 trilogy is “Year One,” and deals with a loss of technology and science that is replaced by magic. Oh, yeah, I’ll be getting that one, too.