Fiona Bristow has built a new life for herself on Orcas Island, she has a successful dog training school and is happy in the small close knit community. The recently arrived artist Simon Doyle and his dog walk into her life, both in dire need of training and for the first time in a long while she starts to see glimpses of what could be. Then a shadow from her past rises up and threatens to destroy everything once again.
Another great romantic suspense from Nora Roberts! I am constantly amazed at the number of different subjects her novels cover and yet all seem to be well researched, allowing the reader to immerse themselves completely in the story. This one focuses heavily on canine rescue, dog training and interaction. The dogs are fantastic, adding a great dimension to the story - don’t get me wrong we don’t get speaking from a dog’s perspective but the way the dogs and their behaviours are included in the story is great. I am sure if you have a dog in need of training, you would pick up some useful tips from this book.
Enough about the dogs, onto the characters – as with all books by this author the characters are strong. No flowery words from Simon at all, and as for romance forget it. It suited him though, and the interactions between him and his dog ‘Jaws’ made me laugh out loud. This description made me laugh, especially since he seems the cutest puppy ever, “I got a crate. He ate the crate. Or enough of it to get out. I think he must flatten himself like a snake… I think maybe he is brain damaged or psychotic.” It would have been nice to have a bit more background on Simon because he really was unusually abrasive – how did he get like that? Fiona has been through a lot in her past but stays strong throughout, being older and wiser when trouble comes knocking she is much more able to deal with it - no simpering women here. It would have been nice to have a bit more romance but the characters did suit the story and as long as the happy ending arrives I won’t complain too much!
The suspense plot was good and as always I got totally sucked in, reading well into the night to finish it. I would say though that the dogs and romance were a bigger part of the story than the suspense angle. Unlike with a lot of thrillers we do not get to see much of the police investigation, as Fiona is so physically removed from the situation. So if you like the police investigation aspect of a thriller then this is probably not for you. The dogs are definitely the stars in this book, and if you love animals it is worth a read just for that.
Overall another strong book from Nora Roberts with the added bonus of canine friends; there is humour, a love story, suspense and sex – what more could you want!