Summary via Goodreads:
Olivia’s parents were among Hollywood’s golden couples…until the night a monster came and took her mother away forever. A monster with the face of her father…
Sheltered from the truth, an older Olivia only dimly recalls her night of terror – but her recurring nightmares make her realize she must piece together the real story. Assisted by Noah Brady, the son of the officer who found her cowering in her closet so many years before, she may have her chance. Noah wants to reconstruct the night that has become an infamous part of Hollywood’s history. He also wants to help Olivia and heal the longing in her lonely heart. But once the door to her past is opened, there’s no telling what’s waiting on the other side. For somewhere, not far away, the monster walks again…
I actually liked the first half more than my rating reflects.
The book took its time setting up the primary romance, starting when Olivia was only 4 years old, and revisiting her at her first meeting with Noah when she was 12 (no romance) yet. Their next meeting (when she was 19) was full of sparks, which lead to some burns, and a refusal of all contact for more years.
This also gave time to develop some secondary characters, particularly the family members. Noah’s parents were great characters. I did like Olivia’s aunt and grandparents, but they weren’t as intriguing to read about.
All of this building of the characters and the overall story was great. I liked both leads, I found the characters interesting, I had a guess as to where the plot was going, and it all worked for me.
Unfortunately, once the story kicked into full gear, I had a couple of problems with it that really got in my way.
The first is a common aspect of romance novels that doesn’t appeal to me. Olivia is unwilling to get involved with Noah, but he knows better. She tells him to back off, but he proceeds to physically overwhelm her and kiss her, and of course she discovers that’s what she really wanted all along. And then she backs off and thinks about it, and the whole thing starts over again.
I don’t like that message in general, and in this case, it didn’t fit with Noah’s character as I’d seen it to that point.
The second issue I had was my guess about the surprise direction the book would take. I figured out early on where it was going, but didn’t really see anything to support it through the book until the end. Either the reader is supposed to know what’s going to happen, and there should be more information about it through the book, or it is supposed to be a surprise, and I shouldn’t have guessed so early.
I still enjoyed the book, and if I’d gone in with lower expectations (I expect a lot from Nora Roberts), I probably wouldn’t have let either of these things bug me as much.
Production: I’m developing a personal pet peeve. I’ve listened to several books lately where they apply some sort of tinny sounding processing to the narrator’s voice when she (or he) is representing a character on the telephone. It’s not a big deal, but it always pulls me out of the story.
Other than that, no problems!
Print or Audio: This book was mostly very pleasant to listen to, not at all demanding. That’s what I wanted in an audiobook at the moment, so this format was a good choice for me. I don’t think there is anything about the book itself that lends itself one way or another.