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on December 19, 2003
It took me a long time to finish this book because I bought
the audio version, as I do with many books and have for years.
I have to say that I have heard all kinds of narrators on these
books, some obviously better than others, but this was the
worst I have ever heard. A horrible, grating, scratchy voice.
Not the slightest change in inflection or voice from one character to the next. It was often impossible to follow when
a different character was speaking so that the whole process of
trying to determine this was distracting. But the worst part
was just the voice. I finally gave up, something I've never
done before, since I was enjoying the plot of the book. I wasn't about to buy the paperback, already feeling like the
publisher had cheated me by making the audio version unlistenable.
Finally, a friend loaned me the paperback to read.
I generally enjoyed it, there were several interesting characters, although I'm still at a loss about the confusion
regarding the different dates stated about the murders, especially since the killer said Hope was the first, but
the book states the first murder took place 7 years before
her death. Huh? I did think the killer was a bit far-fetched
and i think the book needed an epilogue. I'm not sure
what it is, but lately especially, I've noticed a real trend
with some established writers like Roberts, Sandra Brown, and
Stella Cameron, to name a few, that they seem to totally rush the endings. A lot of these books need an epilogue, but I guess it's just too much work for the authors to take the extra time?
Anyway, other than that, it was a good book. I liked the main characters well enough and the mystery was a good one.
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on October 26, 2002
Tory and Hope were constant companions, twins of the soul even though Hope already had a real twin sister, Faith. Faith always resented the bond. Then one night all their lives were shattered. What was to be a midnight camp out by two 8 years olds bent on adventure, sees one girl beaten severely, another raped and dead in the swamp. Tory and Hope were to sneak out and meet late that night, but Tory's brutal father took a belt to his only child because she had the devil in her, she was born with 'the sight'. Bruised mentally and physically, she was unable to meet Hope as they planned. And it may have cost Hope her life. Though unable to go Hope's aid, Tory suffered the torment of 'seeing' her true friend murdered in a brutal fashion.
Haunted by the dreams of Hope, Tory knows she must return to face the nightmare of what happened to Hope, and to stop the man who killed her friend, for he was killing still now 20 years later.
Being back in lazy Southern town causes problems, for there are those that wish she had never returned to stir up old scars and memories. Faith still resents that her twin sister was closer to Tory. Cade, their older brother,wants answers about his sister's death he knows Tory holds, but he also want Tory.
Is the mad man killing on August 23 the man that fathered Tory? Or one of the other upstanding citizens of Progress.
This book won't let you but it down!!
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on November 20, 2001
Nora Robert scores big with this contemporary Suspense. Tory and Hope were constant companions, twins of the soul even though Hope already had a real twin sister, Faith. Faith always resented the bond. Then one night all their lives were shattered. What was to be a midnight camp out by two 8 years olds bent on adventure, sees one girl beaten severely, another raped and dead in the swamp. Tory and Hope were to sneak out and meet late that night, but Tory's brutal father took a belt to his only child because she had the devil in her, she was born with 'the sight'. Bruised mentally and physically, she was unable to meet Hope as they planned. And it may have cost Hope her life. Though unable to go Hope's aid, Tory suffered the torment of 'seeing' her true friend murdered in a brutal fashion.

Haunted by the dreams of Hope, Tory knows she must return to face the nightmare of what happened to Hope, and to stop the man who killed her friend, for he was killing still now 20 years later.

Being back in lazy Southern town causes problems, for there are those that wish she had never returned to stir up old scars and memories. Faith still resents that her twin sister was closer to Tory. Cade, their older brother,wants answers about his sister's death he knows Tory holds, but he also want Tory.

Is the mad man killing on August 23 the man that fathered Tory? Or one of the other upstanding citizens of Progress.

This book won't let you but it down!!
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on September 5, 2001
When Tory was only 8 years old she lost hope in 2 ways - her 8 year old friend, Hope was brutally murdered along with that she lost some hope for life - i.e. adventure, fun and just being a child.
Tory was a poor child, with a father who beat her to no good end, and a mother whom looked passed the beatings with fear of losing the man she loved.
Hope was a rich and happy child, full of adventure, determination and spirit. Hope was also a twin to Faith, a disobedient child determined to do exactly the opposite of her parents wishes. Hope and Tory were the best of friends they did everything together, until one night someone decided to brutally murder Hope.
When Tory was 18 she took all the money she managed to save up and started a new life, or at least she tried. But the only way she was going to get on with her life was to go back to the place where Hope was murdered and try to make sense of all that went so horribly wrong when she was 8 years old.
I gave this novel four stars because its pace was slow moving at times, but that aside, all and all it was an entertaining and very interesting read that had me captivated. Excellent romance, loveable & hate able characters, a magnificent ending not to mention a very interesting plot. A must read.
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on June 12, 2001
I just finished Carolina Moon late last night and was enthralled, as usual, by Roberts' plot and characterization. I have not read so many of her novels that I am disappointed as some of her fans. Yet, having read The Villa beforehand, I do see a strong resemblance in character types, as one reviewer pointed out. Still, I enjoyed CM due to its energy, especially.
Some negatives I found disappointing are the stereotyping of Southern people, the overworked setting of swamp vs. "culture," the cruel, alcoholic father and abused family. I recently read Fox's Earth and find a strong similarity between Roberts' writing and that of Anne Rivers Siddons. I have grown weary of Siddons' rehashing of plots.
I enjoyed the characterization of Faith the most. Cade was almost too good to be true, as was hero in Villa. Loved Aunt Rosie!
Why were the FBI even in this one? Plenty of characters without them. Also, I occasionally was confused by the switching of points of view!
Finally, the ending of this was surprising though not as shocking as that of Montana Sky.
I will read others by Roberts and continue to consider her talents. This one held my interest and I have recommended it already to others.
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on December 22, 2000
Tory Bodeen is blessed or cursed (however one may view it) with the gift of 2nd sight. Just about everyone in town is either afraid of her or fears her. Her best friend, Hope was murdered and Tory sensed her friend's demise. I've read many Nora Robert's books and this one was one of the spookiest. I like the way the author let Tory have conversations with Hope through dreams that didn't appear to be quite dreamy. There was one scene when Tory had fallen asleep while Hope's killer is nearby and Hope warns her. I felt a chill up my spine when Tory pops up out of her sleep like a jack-in-the-box. I liked Cade, too. He was able to empathize with Tory, even though his mother blamed her for Hope's death. He was earnest in his feelings for Tory, even though she's afraid to get close to anyone, thanks to Hope's death and past child abuse. Hope's twin sister even comes around, despite being jealous of Tory and Hope's friendship. If you like reading a story with a good mix of mystery and paranormal, this one's a good bet.
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on April 29, 2000
Victoria "Tory" Bodeen has come home to Progress, South Carolina, the place of her birth and scene of her worst nightmares. Her best friend, Hope Lavelle, was murdered in Progress when she was 8 years old and it was Tory who led police to the body. Tory has psychic visions and watched the murder in her mind's eye as she lay weeping in her bed after a particularly brutal beating at the hands of her father. Tory fled Progress at the age of 18 and looked back only once, when she went at age 20 to visit her parents. That visit was cut short when her father, Hannibal Bodeen, beat Tory up and her mother, Sarabeth, berated Tory for upsetting him.
Now, Tory has come back to be near her beloved grandmother, put her ghosts behind her, and open a store in town. The reserved, ultra-standoffish Tory's motives are twofold: to guage her own strength by putting the past behind her, and to unmask Hope's murderer. As a tenuous friendship emerges between straight-laced Tory and Hope's wild and irrepressible twin, Faith, a romance blossoms with handsome Cade Lavelle.
Soon, a young woman in town is murdered and Tory learns that there have been others over the years, all fitting a pattern of looking like Hope would have looked had she lived and being killed on or near Hope's birthday. All of the signs are pointing to the malevolent, half-mad Hannibal Bodeen. When Sarabeth Bodeen is murdered while Hannibal is on the run from a rape charge, that pretty well clinches his guilt in the minds of many. But is it true? Only after another couple of blood-curdling confrontations does the full truth emerge.
This book plays heavily on the romance angle, but is also full of mystery and intrigue to satisfy the suspense aficionado. Ms. Roberts's writing is strong and evocative; indeed, she chooses her words to paint South Carolina with the brush of a master. The settings feel real, the characters have flesh and bones, and the dialect rings true. One word of warning: this may be a hard read for victims of child abuse. All in all, however, this is a spellbinding tale, superb for whiling away a rainy afternoon.
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on April 10, 2000
I couldn't wait for this book to come out and I wasn't disappointed! Nora Roberts sometimes gets accused (sometimes justly so) of making her heroines weak and dependent, but Tory doesn't fit that mold no matter how much she herself feels she may fall apart. Which doesn't mean she doesn't come to need and depend on Cade, the wonderful brother of her childhood friend who comes back into her life. It just means that, having taking control of her life and become her own master, she's finally ready to share that life with someone who's not looking to control it. The relationship between these two was very realistic, very sweet, and a necessary part of Tory's healing process from her abusive childhood. As a murder mystery, there were few real "clues" as to who the killer was, but I did guess halfway through. This didn't diminish my enjoyment, it just made me want to see if I was right. I also noticed the screw-up other readers have mentioned that the author made in terms of the timing of the murders -- I wondered if in editing all the dates got mistaken by 10 years or so. After puzzling over the inconsistencies and then reading the reviews on this website where other people noticed the same thing, I let it go and didn't let it hinder my enjoyment of the book at all. It'll get fixed in the next printing. Lastly, I agree the ending was fairly abrupt. The book definitely could have used an epilogue or something so that the reader would get some payoff and see Tory and Cade happy, Faith restored (pardon the pun), and Progress healed. All in all, an excellent, page-turning story.
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on March 27, 2000
I have been a fan of Nora Roberts for a long time -- since the late 1980s -- and I try to read most/all of her novels. She has been a consistently decent/good writer. However, this story is somewhat similar to Linda Howard's After the Night, which I just finished. Therefore, I didn't find it very fresh or original. (After the Night is also set in a small southern town; the heroine is part of the "white trash" and the hero is the only son of the wealthiest family in town; the heroine had a tough childhood with parents who were physically or mentally abusive; the hero has a messed up sister; the hero's mother has an unhealthy hatred for the heroine because she attributes her husband's death to the heroine's family; the heroine grows up and comes back into town to open her own business and try to solve the mystery re who killed the hero's dad; certain small-minded townspeople won't let her forget her bad-seed "roots" -- sounds familiar? yup, practically identical to some of the plot elements of Carolina Moon, just substitute the hero's dad for the sister.) Actually, during the past year or two, I've begun to catch many recycled plots, characters, etc. in her novels. It seems unavoidable, given that she publishes so much (several mainstream fiction under her name and J.D. Robb each year; and numerous Harlequin and/or Silhouette novels each year)! The ending was just o.k. I figured that Roberts would use someone "unexpected" as the killer. But I wish the ending didn't feel as abrupt as it did. I'd go into my dissatisfaction with the ending some more but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who has not yet read the book. Still, it was an enjoyable read.
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on August 14, 2000
growing up a poor and abused child in a small town where her best friend...the only friend she's ever really had, was murdered troy couldnt wait to leave, but something always brings us back to our roots. returning as a strong woman no longer afraid of her past, nor the towns feelings of her and her physic abilities, troy opens a gift shop. aware of the few in town who blame her for the murder of hope, feel she knows more than she told all those years ago, she is determined to make it work...as well as determined to find the real killer. in small towns, everyone knows everyone...or at least they think they do. sometimes the people you cant stand turn out to be your best friend....and you best friends turn out to be your worst nightmare realized.
this was a great book! i always close a nora roberts book with a huge smile on my face, amazed that once again, shes fulfilled a day of two for me ::smile
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