21 July 2015

Black Hills by Nora Roberts - Book Review

Black Hills is the last book to which I gave a full 5 stars on Goodreads. 

My attention was immediately caught by its beautiful cover - as you can see from the picture, it's got this beautiful shade of colours, from purple to green, which gives it both a mysterious and cheerful aspect, which I interpreted as a reflection of the mixed book genre. I was right: the book is a mixture of romance and thriller, even history to a minor extent.
The story is set in South Dakota, US. In the summer of 1989, Lil meets Coop, an awkward teenager staying at his grandparents while his parents are going through divorce. The two become best friends, playing at the cattle ranch of his grandparents' and on the black hills. Later on, their friendship turns into a love story, until Cooper suddenly disappears back to New York. Years pass, and even though Lil's broken heart is still sore, her career is amazing: her passion for the wild is now tangible thanks to the set up of Chance Wildlife Refuge, her dream since she was a child. After a trip back from the Andes to study its wildlife, Lil goes back home and finds Coop there, again. Though her heart still belongs to him, her head doesn't. In the mean time, someone has been keeping a close watch on her and she risks to lose everything: her refuge and loved ones.

This is a book you need to read! It's perfect for the summer (even though I think I would love to read it at any time of the year) as it's initially about romance, but it also catches you through its thriller which comes along halfway in the book. I love the book dedication as it's for the reader, and not someone close to the author whom we don't know, and it reflects a strong aspect of the book:

To those who protect and defend the wild.

The book is divided into three sections which also reflect important themes of the book: Heart, Head, and Spirit. Every section is introduced by a beautiful quote. My favourite one goes:

Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Anyway, back to the book plot. The story is so good! I loved the beginning, it made me think of Nicholas Sparks's Notebook but in Nora Roberts's unique style. The love story between Lil and Coop is so real and characterised by the features of a love story between teenagers, then adults, without fake aspects. There is another love story in the book which is nice, but not as involving as the two heroes' one. On the other hand, the thriller part isn't as great as the romance one: you can tell which one is Roberts's specialty. But I enjoyed the narration from the killer's viewpoint which doesn't always happen in thrillers. In this way you can understand the antagonist's mindset and his or her plans. The narration is all in third person but gives insight into the various characters' mind, so that involves the reader a lot. (I think we called that 'omniscient' at school. Hehe). The way I imagined the plot was like a rollercoaster, but with all ups - no downs. There are many climaxes but not a single moment where you might think: I'm so bored of this chapter. Nora Roberts definitely knows how to keep the reader's attention up.

As for the style: wow. I can't describe how much I enjoyed the style of this book. This, I wasn't expecting when I first started reading it (perhaps for the romance element). It's so smooth and consistent. The description of love scenes is never vulgar or ridiculously detailed. The dialogues are direct and sharp. I think that if the book had to be read out loud it would sound great!

My main challenge with this book was its length: it's very long, but now I wish there was a sequel. In the future I will try and read longer books. Ah, so hard!
I don't have anything else to add - this was a long review. I can just say that if you don't know what book to buy next, choose Black Hills. It's truly amazing and I can't wait to read some other book by Nora Roberts.

My edition: Nora Roberts, 2009. Black Hills. London: Piatkus. Pages: 538. The font is big enough; it's just a bit heavy to carry as it's a long book. Beautiful cover!!


  1. I got copies of Black Hills from World Book Night to giveaway and kept a copy for myself (of course). I'm nt so much of a fan for thriller or crime but at the moment I really need a book to get me back into reading. I started two last month but none could really grip me to continue reading. I haven't read Black Hills yet but it is on my list.

    Caz | Style Lingua

    1. In this case, I think you might enjoy Black Hills like I did. I don't like thrillers or crimes either. This book is mainly a romance and thriller novel but without the typical crime elements of Agatha Christie's style - as an example. The only thing you might not enjoy is its length as it's a very long book and sometimes gets slightly repetitive. :)

      Assia x