Nora Roberts has scored again with the latest release of “Hideaway”, a multigenerational and richly layered family saga featuring Caitlyn Sullivan, already at age ten an accomplished actor in her own right with a presence and wit that is astounding of one so young. Cate, as she is called by the family, is the victim of a botched kidnapping. Botched because she’s smarter than her would be kidnappers, who snatched her out of the tree where she was going to hide in the game of hide and seek she and her cousins were playing at the life celebration of her late great grandfather. She manages to escape by tying bed sheets together to lower herself from a two story window to drop the rest of the way and take off running through the woods before her captors returned. Cate runs blindly through the night until she stumbles onto a farm house with a light in the window shining like a beacon, guiding her to safety. Finding the front door unlocked, she slips into the kitchen, grabs an apple off the counter and tries to hide when twelve year old Dillon Cooper decides to raid the refrigerator for some leftover fried chicken. His family is astonished by the account of her ordeal.
And thus begins a tale of family betrayal by the person that society says should always, always put us first and protect us from outside harm. But through it all, her father, grandparents and other family members were there, watching out for her and doing their best to make her feel safe again. First in Ireland, back to L.A., then living in the relative anonymity of New York City and finally back home to Big Sur. A real homecoming where Cate has found her voice, or voices that her calling requires. She’s happy to have reconnected with Dillon and his family and she’s content with her life. Until the evil that had shaped and shaded so much of her existence raised its ugly head and again threatened her peace and tranquility.
As a long time Nora Roberts fan I’m delighted to see her dialogue come back to a smoother, less sharp and cutting style than her last few novels exhibited. The plot is complex and intriguing but the pacing is a bit plodding for the first half of the story. I’ve dubbed Roberts the Queen of Romance but “Hideaway” doesn’t really hit the romantic mark. It’s honestly more of a romantic thriller with the romance decidedly low key, almost an afterthought. That said, the story is rich with characters and backstories that buttress and strengthen the familial bonds that guide Cate and the Sullivan clan through the generations. Four stars.
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