The Book Gourmet

Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.



Professional Reader Reviews Published

The Reef by Nora Roberts

The Reef - Nora Roberts

Eight years ago, when she was twenty and full of optimism and naivete, Tate Beaumont gave her heart to Matthew Lassiter, the man she met searching for wrecks in the Caribbean, only for him to throw that heart back to her, broken.

Now, a respectable marine archeologist, Tate hates to see her parents being charmed by Matthew and his uncle once more, in their pursuit of the elusive gem Matthew's father gave his life for, Angelique's Curse. Despite what Matthew's uncle might think, there is no curse, but what people bring onto themselves by being foolish.

But there is someone, beside Matthew's uncle, who believe the legend and myth of the mysterious necklace. Someone who's determined to do anything to possess it, someone who's already killed once...

First: the blurb is beyond deceiving. Second: Nora Roberts is at her best when she's mixing and matching her genres. She's incomparable when it comes to just the perfect amount of romance, drama, and suspense...And characterization. I love her heroines with all their issues, their stubbornness, their independence, and their hidden vulnerabilities that only the right man can put to rest and cherish at the same time. And yes, Nora Roberts can write just the right man for the job, with his easy-going façade that hides strangely-layered depths and a core of steel. Some call her heroes Betas, I call them Alphas in disguise. Yes, her stories are always centered around the heroine, true, but every heroine needs a hero to walk beside her, or stand in front of her when needed.

And this novel is no different. Both Tate and Matthew were complicated, deeply-layered, deeply-scarred creatures that somehow perfectly complimented each other in every way. They shared a past—as I started reading and discovered Tate is only twenty, I feared I'd be disappointed with both the hero and heroine barely in their adulthood, but I should not have fretted or doubted—a past the reader is privy to, beside all the (good or bad, depends on the point of view) decisions they'd made. And it was that past that shaped them, turned them into who they were in the present, and who they'd become in the future.
Yes, they each had their share of issues, problems, and demons, and yes, they needed to confront all those issues and talk them through (it took a while)...But it was all those layers, and issues, and problems, and their shared past that made them real, realistic, not only figments of a writer's imagination, and not merely fictional characters.
I loved them together, and I loved them apart. They both had agency outside of their romance, they were separate entities, driving the plot and story forward, either individually or as a couple.
And the rest of the supporting cast, few as they were, were an entity themselves, adding layers and depth to an already full-bodied, engaging story.

The suspense was spot-on, the villain nicely evil and just the right amount of crazy, the added pinch of paranormal hitting just the right spot, the writing amazing, with the images of underwater life and hidden treasures vivid and enthralling, making the reader believe he/she was there alongside the treasure-hunting party, and the pacing wonderful, although not entirely "spotless".

A truly wonderful story.