Sunday, May 05, 2013

Spotlight Review:

WHISKEY BEACH - Nora Roberts
Putnam
ISBN: 978-0-399-16460-6
April 2013
Contemporary Romance

Whiskey Beach, Massachusetts - Present Day

For the past year, Eli Landon's life has been a nightmare. His amicable divorce turned ugly when he found out his wife was cheating on him, and after a public fight he went to retrieve a family heirloom from their house, only to find her murdered body. Both the police and the media believed Eli guilty, but without enough evidence to prosecute, he is finally going to try to get on with his life. His grandmother, Hester, asks Eli to live in her home while she is staying with his parents in Boston recuperating from a fall, and attempting to write a novel while staying in Bluff House sounds like a good idea to him. Though Bluff House has been in the family for more than two hundred years, there are some changes to it that surprise Eli, the biggest one being Abra Walsh.

Abra is a yoga instructor, house cleaner, and whatever else strikes her fancy or is needed. She and Hester have become friends, so when Hester asks Abra to look out for Eli, she's more than happy to help. She sees the sadness in Eli, and having gone through a traumatic event herself, Abra decides that in addition to feeding him, she will badger Eli back to life. As the days pass, Eli and Abra fall into a routine, and Eli slowly finds himself coming out of the fog he's lived in for the past year. His writing, which helped him through the rough times, is turning into a novel that he hopes will begin a new career for him, and a romance is brewing between him and Abra.

When a private investigator shows up in Whiskey Beach, Eli believes either his in-laws or the detective in charge of his wife's homicide investigation are once again trying to find evidence of his guilt. Then Abra surprises an intruder in Bluff House one night and manages to get away in spite of his attacking her. Suddenly he doubts that his grandmother's fall was accidental, and he can't help but wonder if any of this is connected to his wife's murder.

WHISKEY BEACH is a fun tourist destination in the summer months, but for Eli and Abra both, it was a place to escape the tragedies of their lives, and start over. Neither had planned for their “starting over” to include another person or romantic entanglements, but they come to see each other in exactly that way in this captivating novel. While there is a mystery about what happened to Eli's wife, as well as who broke into Bluff House, the story focused a bit more on the relationship than the suspense. Eli's had a really rough year, and his reaction to the investigation and the hounding of the police and the media was to withdraw, to the point where he was all but a recluse. He's determined to get back the man he used to be, but at first he resents Abra sticking her nose into his business. Abra's pretty much put her past issues behind her and has settled into a life in Whiskey Beach that is not only fulfilling, but makes her happy. She hasn't had any interest in men, but something about Eli keeps tugging her in his direction.

The cast of characters isn't extensive, and mostly includes Eli's family, Abra's best friend as well as her husband, and the police that are investigating the occurrences at Bluff House. Both humor and romance fill the pages of WHISKEY BEACH, creating a fun and fascinating tale.

Jennifer Bishop

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