From the outside view, the Bigelows of Lakeview, North Carolina look like the ideal family. Graham Bigelow is the chief of surgery at the local hospital; wife Eliza is the perfect stay at home, affluent mother involved in many charities; son Zane is a baseball phenom, destined for a sports scholarship and possibly the big leagues; and young Britt couldn’t be a more obedient daughter. But, behind the proverbial closed doors is a somewhat different and troubling view because Graham is mean, abusive and incredibly sly about it. The story begins here, in Zane’s voice, and continues for almost two decades. Then enter newcomer Darby McCray, a talented landscape designer who takes the town, and Zane, by storm with her incredible vision and infectious personality, though she’s got her own sad history.
It’s a three-part story with the first devoted to Zane’s harrowing childhood. The subject of abuse is addressed from all angles and perspectives, horrifying and educating me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. It was riveting stuff that was hard to listen to and imagine but I couldn’t put the story down because the outcome was too important. This part of the story needed a hero and I had to wait it out. The transition to Zane’s adulthood and Darby’s later introduction was the balm I needed for the next phase with its strong family and community themes. I could have stayed there much longer but the sense of foreboding for the last part of the story loomed. It was dangerous and the threat was always there, even though it lacked the suspense surrounding the sources of it all.
I loved this story, in large part because of Roberts’ skill in tackling a tough subject with honesty and forthright. She didn’t pull any punches even when I begged for it. Also, January LaVoy is one of my favorite narrators who delivered her expected outstanding performance. She put me into every scene. Lastly, I really liked Darby and Zane, individually and as a couple, their romance a slow but lovely burn. Even though the suspense was lacking, the quality of the story more than compensated for me. It is quintessential Nora Roberts storytelling.
- Release Date: July 9, 2019
- Narrator: January LaVoy
- Audio Length: 14 hours, 36 minutes
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio