Paperback Published: April 2001
I put off finishing Caroline Moon for as long as possible while still wanting to devour it. This is not my usual review where I share what I like and what I didn't like. This is mainly going to be some gushing about the wonderful story telling that Nora Roberts produces on a consistent basis. Roberts was my first real taste of romance writing. I love a good story with developed characters; Ms. Roberts is one of the best story tellers and Carolina Moon is a perfect example of her skill. Our heroine, Tory, is a strong, intelligent, scarred, honest woman. She has survived a horrid childhood and has become a successful business woman, opening a store in her hometown. Returning was something she felt she had to do in order to heal and grow. I haven't been to my hometown in a while and I'm not sure if I want to return anytime soon. I enjoyed watching Tory work through her misgivings.
Ok, I feel like I'm going to give a spoiler on the plot, so I'll give you the Goodreads synopsis. Then I can gush some more.
Tory Bodeen grew up in South Carolina, in a small run-down house, where her father ruled with an iron fist and a leather belt --- and where her dreams and talents had no room to flourish. But she had Hope, who lived in the big house just a short skip away and whose friendship allowed Tory to be something she wasn't allowed to be at home: a child.
After young Hope's brutal murder, unsolved to this day, Tory's life began to fall apart. And now, as she returns to her hometown, with plans to settle in an open a stylish home-design shop, she is determined to find a measure of peace and free herself from the haunting visions of the past. As she forges a new bond with Cade Lavelle --- Hope's older brother and the heir to the family fortune --- she isn't sure whether the tragic loss they share will unite them or drive them apart. But she is willing to open her heart, just a little, and try.
Living so close to those unhappy memories will become more difficult and frightening than Tory could ever have expected, however. Because Hope's murderer is nearby as well ..
Cade Lavelle and Hope's twin, Faith Lavelle, are layered, interesting characters. Cade may be a bit too perfect, but he's still believable and lovable. Tory deserves someone that may be a bit too perfect. The secondary characters including Mrs. Lavelle (the mother), Cade's boyhood friends, and the townspeople are interesting and add to the depth of the plot rather than detract or irritate. The two love stories are fun and sweet and the mystery is surprising. I usually see the "bad guy" a mile away, but I was so involved in the lives of the characters that I completely missed it. I like that, a lot.
If you haven't read a Nora Roberts book, or you haven't read Carolina Moon, you are really missing out. Go read it, now! Go...go on...run to the bookstore!