Some of Nora Robert’s romantic suspense books are hit or miss with me. Either I think the murder/suspense piece takes up too much of the book leaving the romance wanting, or the romance is great, but the actual murder/suspense feels superfluous with the plot. With “Under Currents” Roberts does a great job of building up the romance between the two leads and also making the overall plot (how abuse shapes and changes many people) worked well together. I loved the characters of Zane and Darby and how Roberts took a very good approach to developing the secondary characters in this one as well. I loved the setting of this book (takes place in North Carolina) and the strong community ties in this one. My only quibble, which wasn’t enough to have me drop a star was that I was a bit disappointed that Roberts didn’t jump back into showing us Zane’s sister’s Britt’s point of view after the first part of the book.
“Under Currents” starts off in the late 90s following the charmed lives of Zane and Britt Bigelow. Their parents are highly respected members of their community. Zane and Britt have a different story to tell about their family, especially their father when no one is around. One night things go tragically wrong for Zane, but he has his sister, and his aunt (Emily) are there to support him.
The book then jumps forward 18 years later and we see Zane returning to his hometown, ready to be a small town lawyer. Then Roberts introduces the character of Darby McCray picks this town to relocate to and to start up a landscaping business. She ends up meeting Emily who rents out bungalows and offers to landscape one of the bungalows for free to show her what she can do. At this same meeting she meets Zane and there they start off with the start of a friendship.
Most of the second part of the book is Darby setting up her business and explaining plants, flowers, and landscaping to people. We have Emily totally in love with what she has done and then Zane buying a house that Darby also has visions for. I can’t complain. It was pretty relaxing to read about though I wonder about people in the south not knowing what to do with their yards/gardens. I only live in Northern VA and they do a huge garden tour once a year in my area.
I loved how the friendship between Darby and Zane quickly turns into something more. And I loved there was no pretense between them about what was happening. And I have to say that for once I didn’t want to brain the hero or heroine for having dumb fights about things. None of that happens. Zane and Darby (gasp) actually talk about things and find that they are on the same page about things. Due to Darby’s past, Zane is quick to not push her to move faster than she wants, but then he is happy to move fast too when she realizes how wonderful Zane is.
The secondary characters in this one were developed well too. I loved the character of Emily and how we get to see the beginnings of her HEA in the first part of the book and then 18 years later we get to see the rest of it. As I said above, I wish that we got more scenes with Britt in this one. Zane’s father and mother though are a quick head shake to me. Roberts wrote them very well.
The writing really works and though the book moves slow at times, I thought the overall flow was good. I was worried at one point though when one resolution was quick to come and wondered what the rest of the book was going to be about.
The setting of the book is a well to do town in North Carolina. Everyone seems to know one another, and there is a discussion at one point about how when Britt was younger she had a crush on a boy who was not white, but other than that, the town seems very “white” which surprised me.
The ending of the book was good though some readers may go come on at the goings on with Zane and Darby after a while.