The Witness - Nora Roberts
I think there's something about reading a good book after being stuck in a reading slump (or still being stuck in it as the case may be, since I'm ignoring those books now). I just don't want the book to end even more than I usually do when reading a good book. I want to stay in that world and with those characters more than ever. I really liked reading this story and, in my opinion, it marks a departure from the cookie cutter plots Nora Roberts has fallen into with her romantic suspense. She is a tease, man. For the first 30% of this book it seemed as though she made up with conjunctions and rekindled her relationship with full sentences. But, alas, around the 32% mark the old feud reignited. Elizabeth Fitch was an abnormal teenager feeling a normal teenage desire: rebellion. From conception her life had been carefully planned and regimented by her cold, hard-hearted mother. Fed up with with living that cold existence she jumped headlong, unprepared, into a different world. She made a series of stupid choices and the unforeseen consequences of that night changed her life forever in ways she could have never imagined. Twelve years later, prepared to continue living her isolated life, Abigail Lowery meets someone who changes her life yet again. Overall, I really liked the pacing and progression of the story. However, I do think the the beginning part was too drawn out. Sure, part of it is because I have very little patience for teenage crap, but it truly was too long. At a certain point I wasn't sure that it was going to jump in time to adult Elizabeth, and the prospect was upsetting. The ending wasn't typical for a NR romantic suspense, which I liked a lot, so we didn't end up with a short climax. Still, even though everything wrapped up satisfactorily (no loose ends) it didn't feel that way. The ending felt as short as the beginning felt long. The plan they came up with in the end was quite smart. There's nothing I like more in my books than smart characters. I was convinced I was going to hate the HEA because I couldn't figure out how it could end the way it needed to with Abigail remaining where she was. I still question part of it. How in the world did she manage to stay anonymous when testifying? Even with the altered appearance she would have looked similar and since the whole thing was national news before it would be again. And reporters are assholes, they'd do whatever they could to get pictures of her. How did the people in Arkansas not see anything about this trial?I really liked Elizabeth/Abigail. She was a sweet kid and a sweet adult and even though she was a genius and could sometimes sound like a computer she came across as very human as well. After her bout of teenage stupidity (the majority of which, in this case, I blame on her terrible, terrible mother) she was very smart in how she went about living her life and keeping herself safe. There was only really one thing she didn't do that surprised me because it would have been the smart move (but it was a rather minor side story I don't get why she didn't have the ability to record the video feed on her super-fancy high tech security system. When Blake attacked Brooks she should have caught that on tape!). This character, at least, had reason to push everyone, including her love interest, away. Especially since it seemed that any time she had even a little bit of happiness, it would blow up in her face. But she managed to strike a balance between retaining her strength and independence and learning she could trust and lean on Brooks. That she deserved to be loved and that she could love.To be honest, I imagined Emily Deschanel a lot while reading this. I swear Roberts was watching Bones while writing her. The way Elizabeth/Abigail speaks is so reminiscent of that character. I liked the "very" tick a lot. It could have easily been annoying seeing the word said so much, but I thought it added a lot to the character. I absolutely loved Brooks Gleason. He was so sweet, caring, loving, romantic and best of all, smart. I can't think of anything about him I didn't love (well, other than his rude, pushy family – who meant well but were a bit cringe inducing). He was such an honest, intelligent cop. I may or may not have fist pumped a few times at some of his choices, especially in dealing with the scourge of their small town. It was great. He was so patient with Abigail, he let her come to him in her own time. He was everything she needed and he loved her. Not some ideal, but the actual woman. And, oh, the final scene was so romantic my heart may have melted. I adored reading about him and the two of them together.And I can't forget Bert. Abigail's adorable, giant (133 pounds!) dog. He was well trained and her bodyguard but he loved her so much and she him. I just loved his part in this whole story and he could not have been more sweet and lovable. The Witness is up there as one of my favorites from NR. While I may skip over a lot of the beginning I can definitely see myself reading this again.