Author: Nora Roberts
Release date: 2009
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Crime / Romance / Contemporary
Target audience: Adult (explicit sexual content)
UK Publisher: Piatkus
Summary from Amazon:
Lil Chance fell in love with Cooper Sullivan pretty much the first time she saw him, an awkward teenager staying with his grandparents on their cattle ranch in South Dakota while his parents went through a messy divorce. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens - but then abruptly ends. Twelve years later and Cooper has returned to run the ranch after his grandfather is injured in a fall. Though his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something - or someone - has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks escalate into heartless killing, the memory of an unsolved murder in these very hills has Cooper springing to action to keep Lil safe. They both know the dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. And now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey ...
It isn’t very often that I have the desire to read an adult book but this is just what happened the other day. I’m looking for a replacement for Charlaine Harris as I finished the Grave Sight series and need a sort of romance and crime mash up fix. Whether or not it has a paranormal element is irrelevant. Anyway, I was also hunting for books about rookie cops but seeming as these seem non-existent – publishers take note! – I had to find a book that would meet my requirements. While I was in a supermarket, I came across Black Hills. I read the blurb and my interest was piqued. Could it be because the two main characters meet when they are kids and fall in love in their teens? I’ll leave you to speculate. Anyway, the blurb hooked me and so I bought the book. Me. Buying adult novels of my own feel will. Hmmm... An intriguing development...
Black Hills is a really cool mash up of a romance that spans decades and a crime novel. It is totally addictive and thank goodness Nora Roberts is a writing machine so I will not have to go through such a scary search for another adult author to love for a long time. Anyway...
Lillian Chance lives on a cattle farm in South Dakota. Her parents are liberal and her home life is a happy, loving one. Cooper Sullivan is an eleven year old boy at the beginning of this 500+ page novel and he has a deep inner sadness. He is shipped out of New York for the summer by his parents (whose marriage is failing) to stay on his grandparents’ ranch in the same town. Coop expects Lil to be a snotty girl who he will detest. But when they meet, Lil proves herself to be as tough as any guy and a hotshot when it comes to baseball. Over their summers together Lil teaches Coop to love the hills, the great outdoors and how to track wildlife.
Lil is a focused, driven girl who grows into a determined, successful woman. Coop is a lost boy who doesn’t know who he is and through the course of the novel goes on a journey of discovery. The novel is divided into three parts and each sees a change to their relationship. This is a romantic story. Completely, hopelessly and adorably romantic! Oh and there are some rather steamy scenes too. In the last few chapters there were tears in my eyes. I am such a dufus but I was 100% involved in this story.
The book is more than just a romance though. It is the story of a serial killer and some parts of the story are told through very sinister, twisted eyes. Those parts scared me so I couldn’t read Black Hills just before bed. It gave me the heebie-jeebies. I obviously can’t say more about that because of spoilers.
The setting for this book is a much a part of the story as the characters. The hills of South Dakota have so much meaning for the characters. They are home and yet they are wild. This is a theme that runs throughout the novel. Black Hills is a real edge of your seat read. It amazes me how much Roberts can pack into one novel. I can’t wait to read more from her. I have already ordered Chasing Fire. Is this a sign that I am growing up? Or just that Nora Roberts plots a really great story? Maybe both.