Nora Does It Again!
Anxious Noraholics will be pleased to learn that the prolific New York Times bestseller has come up with her most stirring and memorable story yet in her latest romantic thriller. Carolina Moon tackles that age-old question: Can we go home again? And Roberts complicates the answer by throwing several difficult issues into the mix, pitting the tender mercies of childhood innocence against the evil of a deranged killer, and the grace of southern living against the pettiness of small-town attitudes.
As an eight-year-old child, Tory Bodeen's life in the small town of Progress isn't easy. Her family is dirt-poor, and they live on the wrong side of the tracks. Her father regularly preaches fire and brimstone, driving the lesson home with the end of his belt while Tory's mother does nothing to interfere. Plus, Tory was born with a strange gift, a sort of second sight that enables her to touch the minds of others and see their private thoughts, an oddity that serves to make her feel like even more of an outcast.
The only source of happiness in young Tory's life is her friendship with Hope Lavelle, one of the twin daughters of the rich Lavelle family, who own most of Progress, including the land and the house where Tory and her family live. When Tory and Hope make arrangements for a secret late-night meeting in the marsh, Tory is unable to make it after yet another round with her father. Hope, who does go, ends up dead, raped and strangled by a vicious killer.
Come morning, Tory is able to "see" what happened to her best friend the night before and leads the Lavelle family to Hope's body. Several people end up blaming Tory for Hope's death, claiming she abandoned her friend and left her alone to die. Tory blames herself, as well, so when her family moves away a short while later, it's almost a relief.
Sixteen years later, Tory decides to return to her hometown in hopes of laying to rest several ghosts and coming to grips with her past. Amid the curious stares and whispers of the townsfolk, some of whom still blame her for Hope's death, Tory opens up a gift shop and moves into the same home where she lived at the time of Hope's murder. Although Tory's reasons for returning home were to lay some ghosts to rest, what she does instead is resurrect several new ones.
Once again a member of the Lavelle family is Tory's only source for salvation, but this time it comes from Hope's older brother, Cade. And it seems he is the only one in the family who is willing to give Tory so much as the time of day. Faith, Hope's twin sister, has long resented Tory's closeness to Hope. Cade's mother, Margaret, not only blames Tory for Hope's death, she finds Tory's white-trash background offensive to her genteel sensibilities. When Margaret discovers the romantic interest developing between Tory and Cade, she pulls out all the stops to tear the two apart. But that is only a small part of Tory's worries, for she soon realizes that Hope's killer is still in Progress, watching, waiting, and killing again. And Tory may well be his next victim.
Roberts spins this tale of romance and suspense with her usual magic, weaving passion and pleasure with pain and depravity. For Noraholics, this one won't disappoint. For the handful of people on this earth who haven't yet sampled the Roberts magic, Carolina Moon would make the perfect introduction, an unforgettable tale that pulls no punches.