I finished reading The Obsession by Nora Roberts last month and I’m re-listening to the audiobook again during this week. I just want to fangirl about this book. Roberts manages to make me fall in love with the characters once again, especially Xander who doesn’t push but won’t be pushed aside. I loved the background of the character, how the story developed, and the way we end up liking all characters – we even pity the mom, tho she doesn’t deserve it.
Things I loved:
- Naomi’s voice as a child. She wakes up and follows her father thinking he is doing something amazing for her birthday. She waits for him and even when her heart is telling her to run away she stays. The image of her father:
“She saw him in the next flash of lighting, and he looked wild to her – his close-cropped hair almost white in the storm light, his eyes so dark, and his teeth showing in a fierce grin.
Seeing him, half expecting to throw back his head and howl like a wolf, she felt her heart thudding with the first true fear she’d ever known.”– page 9.
- The realistic aspect of Naomi’s family. We see a father figure who has been almost perfect throughout Naomi’s life (even with his little quirks about male and females roles). He’s devoted to the church, he doesn’t beat his family even when he’s angry and may show his temperament, he has brainwashed his children and wife to be almost submissive but in a way, he didn’t break Naomi or Mason’s backbone. They may be still submissive in the way children are but Naomi was strong, did the right thing, and not in one moment she thought about leaving Ashley to feed for herself.
- I loved seeing Naomi grow up. She starts as an almost twelve years old child who develops into an amazing character. Brave, honest, and loving of her family.
- The side characters are well developed. They aren’t introduced to later be left on the side or be comic relief. They maintain a balance of fun, family-oriented, and support.
- I love Naomi’s house. She bought something for herself, to place roots one way or another. The construction, the scenery, the lake view, and her disposition to bring the old house to its glory yet modern at the same time. It was fun to almost SEE through the description of the house how everything looked.
- Now, let’s talk about romance. I loved the main pairing. There is something you see often in romance books – even those with mystery or thriller. You see misunderstanding, one main character pushing the other one away, and angst. Here, you do see angst but not towards the relationship. Xander, the male main character is handsome, funny, and caring. He owns a business, he has friends, a family who he loves, and his music. He is also straightforward, doesn’t hide, and won’t be pushed aside. What I truly loved about his relationship with Naomi was the fact he did not push her. He established his position in her life in a positive way – he was only pushy when it came to kissing her (especially when flirting, but not in a negative, non-consensual way). He is a character who knew what he wanted and moved with respect.
- Naomi’s new family – her brother and uncles. After her mother’s death, Naomi got a sense of a real family. Working in her uncle’s restaurant, having both their support and Mason’s. Mason was very cute – especially when he meets Xander, we see him respecting the relationship yet being a brother – the type who is not afraid to do background checks.
- The mystery was very good. The villain has a voice but we don’t get to know him until the end. And during the whole book, we don’t really see anything that makes us suspect who he is but we are NOT surprised at the end because one way or another it sneaks into your mind by the last chapters of the only person it may be.
- Naomi’s mother was placed in a real, believable situation. We meet this woman who has been the wife of a serial killer but in her mind, he’s the father of her children, her husband and under God, she’s obligated to love and respect him no matter what. In some scenes, you would almost see her open her eyes and realize he’s a monster, but then she would give up – like she did in the end. Her ending was almost predictable yet we didn’t see an immediate climb up to it, she was getting better – not in a way where you think happy ever after but in a way where you see hope for her.
- I love Xander with Naomi. Their relationship is not fast. Naomi doesn’t want attachment – she’s even surprised she has bought a house. She is not accepting of him right away and the stolen/quick kisses are blunt from his side but she still doesn’t give up easily. I like their conversations, their relationship, and the easy love that starts to grow between them.
- The scenery of the small town where they live. The descriptions are so vivid, so real!
What I would have liked to see:
- I would have loved to see more of Ashley. When we read the plot we see that this particular even changes Naomi’s life, so I was expecting to see Ashely a bit more. We see Ashely in Naomi’s life at eleven years old, we see her once again for a brief moment when Naomi is a bit older and then we learned Ashely is married with children but we never get to see her with Naomi. Not even a short conversation.
- Something else I would have liked to see was Naomi meeting with her father and maybe see the reaction of both of them. BUT, at the same time, the fact she didn’t meet with him was a good strategy, especially because of the ending.
This book is by far my favorite read this year – I know, we are only in February but my God it’s been an amazing ride. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants romance, family-centered, great characters, and mystery. (there are some sensitive issues such as murder and rape – not to any main character – but is an element throughout the whole book).