The Book Gourmet

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



Professional Reader Reviews Published

Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts

Carnal Innocence - Nora Roberts

World renowned violinist Caroline Waverly has come to Innocence, Mississippi to recuperate, lick her wounds, and hide. But a small town, with its nosy inhabitants, isn’t an appropriate place to hide. Especially if that small town is home to Tucker Longstreet, the charming, affable, seductive and tenacious playboy that doesn’t take no for an answer...

But Innocence is plagued by a sick killer. His target so far had been three women rather generous with their affections...All three had one thing in common—Tucker Longstreet.

Despite its “age”, this was a great little read. Yes, there weren’t any cell-phones or e-mail, the FBI still used fax machines, and everybody smoked (which was a little bit annoying, to tell the truth), but it didn’t seem outdated, which pretty much comes down to the story’s appeal and the narrative ability of the author.
And yes, some have complained about the racial discrimination in it, but I believe such things are still very much present and alive in the small rural towns in the South.

The story was great, not a slow moment, despite its “laidback setting”, it flowed naturally, the pacing organic. I loved the vivid pictures Nora Roberts painted of the sleepy little town of Innocence and its inhabitants, where everybody knew everybody else’s business, gossip was abundant, and everybody was just so darn neighborly. The charming southern drawl was dripping off each page, and I loved every single minute of it.

The reader can easily “empathize” with the heroine, Caroline, the outsider in this small town, looking around with her eyes wide open in wonder at everything that goes on around her. And, just like Caroline, the reader slowly, yet surely, becomes accustomed to the atmosphere and the slower pace of the country...And cannot help but be charmed and seduced by Tucker Longstreet, the perfect hero for such a book.
He was just like his surroundings...Slow and easy, downright lazy when occasion called for it, but deep down, as with everything, there was a core of steel and determination, until the reader alongside Caroline, realizes the Tucker Longstreet he shows to the world is just a mask, a façade he presents, because it’s expected of him...And much easier to deal with.
The guy literally stole the show from the heroine, from the town, from the supporting cast, from the suspense, and from the villain.

Not to say, the rest was bad, far from it. Yes, I remained a bit aloof where the heroine was concerned, but I guess that’s my problem, but the rest of the cast was wonderful, especially Cousin Lulu (she was a hoot), alongside the setting creating a perfect backdrop for the story.
The suspense sub-plot was wonderful, intense, and gripping, keeping us wondering just who the villain is and what are his motives, offering us occasional suspects and red herrings, yet keeping that final reveal just out of our reach until the very end. Very suspenseful indeed.

The only problem I really had with this story was the annoying stick-in-the-mud FBI agent, and I missed one final scene with him having to admit how wrong he’s been...But, again, that’s just me.

Otherwise, this was a great story.