🎧 Under Currents by Nora Roberts #NoraRoberts @justjanuary @MacmillanAudio #LoveAudiobooks @4saintjude

Posted August 19, 2022 by KC in Book Review / 5 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

🎧 Under Currents by Nora Roberts  #NoraRoberts @justjanuary @MacmillanAudio #LoveAudiobooks @4saintjudeUnder Currents by Nora Roberts
Narrator: January LaVoy
Published by MacMillan Audio on July 19, 2019
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Length: 14 hours, 41 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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One StarOne StarOne Star

Zane Bigelow grew up in a beautiful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. Strangers and even Zane's own aunt across the lake see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children's ballet recitals and baseball games. Only Zane and his sister know the truth, until one brutal night finally reveals cracks in the facade, and Zane escapes for college without a thought of looking back...

Years later, Zane returns to his hometown determined to reconnect with the place and people that mean so much to him, despite the painful memories. As he resumes life in the colorful town, he meets a gifted landscape artist named Darby, who is on the run from ghosts of her own.

When I’m in between series or recovering from a book hangover, I’ll re-read old favorites or go to some reliable authors for satisfying standalones.  I guess it is kind of like an amuse-bouche for my brain.  Nora Roberts is one of my go-to authors for several reasons; the most important of which is that I’ve yet to read a book by her I haven’t enjoyed.  A close second is she has a massive catalogue so I’m certain to get my hands on one I haven’t read.  When I pick up one of her romantic suspense or family-centered dramas, I feel like I can jump right in.  Her plots are interesting and compelling, but not so complex that I spend the first half of the book trying to figure out where the story is going.  Under Currents popped up on my library search as available and appeared to be just what I needed to help me recover from a month’s long fixation on Nordic Noir.  While it was a good read, it was a little more complex than I expected.

Under Currents is written in four parts and reads a little bit like an anthology of connected novellas.  Part One might easily be subtitled “Terror and Triumph” where a young, teenage Zane Bigelow and his sister Britt suffer horrific abuse at the hands of their parents; eventually finding the strength in themselves and some caring community members to break away.  I’d caution anyone with triggers around domestic violence because the scenes in this part of the book were disturbing and graphic.  It was hard to read, but by the end, it was very clear who the villain of the book was supposed to be (spoiler alert, the diabolical father).

I’d call Part Two “Finding Love.”  18 years after the first part, the chapter opens with a new character, Darby, finding a fresh start in a small NC Town.  Coincidently, Zane returns from the big city to set up shop as a small town lawyer.  The two meet and dot dot dot.  Nora Roberts has a definite gift for character development and I totally loved Darcy as a lead.  She has issues but she isn’t paralyzed by them.  She’s enthusiastic and her love of horticulture and landscaping was infectious.  As a fellow survivor of domestic violence, she has a personal understanding of the abuse Zane suffered.  It is obvious that her triumphs help Zane heal the residual damage of his experience.

The last two Parts would be “Suspense Story 1” and “Suspense Story 2.”  There are two very distinct plots that unfold sequentially.  I thought this was a little disjointed and that they would have been better served to be intertwined.  The antagonists in each part are vile, bloodthirsty jerks.  It makes the other characters in the story so much more likeable.  Although I am calling these parts “Suspense” I use that term loosely.  I thought this portion of the story was pretty predictable but appreciated it for how it allowed Zane and Darcy to form and even deeper connection under adverse circumstances.  It also gave one very charismatic but terribly ugly dog a chance to shine.

Although there were personal victories for the characters at the conclusion of each part, Under Currents delivers a sweet HEA in the end.  Ms. Roberts doesn’t skimp on her descriptions of small town life, including both the bucolic and the grubby.  She peppers the story with interesting cameos, but makes sure to take her time developing the main and supporting characters so that we feel like we know them like neighbors.  I’d have liked to see more of a transition between the first part and the second part, but that could have been cut down for pacing and page count.  I almost wonder if there is another book out there that tell Britt’s story.  While Under Currents wasn’t exactly what I was expecting and had a few storyline issues, it was still a satisfying read.

Narration:

January LaVoy is just so good as a narrator in this book. I really loved the emotion she puts into the characters, especially young Zane and young Britt.  Her performance of Darby made me like the character even more than had I read her on a page.  It found the pacing perfect and it was easy to distinguish between the character’s.  I listened to this story at 1.25x..

Listen to a clip:  HERE

About January LaVoy

photo: Scott Sherratt

January (she/her) is an Atlanta-based actress, best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz-Stubbs on the long-running ABC daytime drama ONE LIFE TO LIVE. She has appeared on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters across the country, and guest starred on several prime time network series, including Elementary, Blue Bloods, and N0S4A2. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, and was a faculty member in the Department of Theater and Dance at Emory University from 2019-2021.

An Audiofile Magazine “Golden Voice” since May 2019, January has an extensive body of work in both narration and commercial voiceover. With hundreds of audiobook titles to her credit, she has received more than thirty Earphones Awards, eighteen Audie Award nominations (including seven wins), and was named Publishers Weekly’s “Audiobook Narrator of the Year” for 2013. Her voice has been heard in national campaigns for dozens of products, and she shares a 2020 Grammy nomination with Meryl Streep and the cast of the Charlotte’s Web audiobook, in which she plays the title role of Charlotte.

About Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, the youngest of five children. She married young and settled in Keedysville, Maryland where she worked briefly as a legal secretary. After her sons were born she stayed home and tried every craft that came along. A blizzard in February 1979 forced her hand to try another creative outlet. She was snowed in with a three and six year old.

Born into a family of readers, Nora had never known a time that she wasn’t reading or making up stories. During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write down one of those stories. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981.

Nora met her second husband, Bruce Wilder, when she hired him to build bookshelves. They were married in July 1985. Since that time, they’ve expanded their home, traveled the world and opened a bookstore together.

Through the years, Nora has always been surrounded by men. Not only was she the youngest in her family, but she was also the only girl. She has raised two sons. Having spent her life surrounded by men, Ms. Roberts has a fairly good view of the workings of the male mind, which is a constant delight to her readers. It was, she’s been quoted as saying, a choice between figuring men out or running away screaming.

Nora is a member of several writers groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist.”

Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Dialogue
One StarOne StarHalf a Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne Star
KC
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Posted August 19, 2022 by KC in Book Review / 5 Comments


5 responses to “🎧 Under Currents by Nora Roberts

  1. Good review. I thought this book was good (I read it rather than listened to it.) At the same time, the domestic abuse aspects were difficult for me to read about, and I probably won’t reread it. (Before you ask: I have no personal experience of domestic violence or child abuse, and grew up with kind and loving parents.)

    Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard recently posted: The Secret of Bow Lane, by Jennifer Ashley
  2. I enjoyed this one and I love January LaVoy as a narrator! This wasn’t really a favorite though – probably due to the disjointedness you mention.