Nora Roberts delivers with Under Currents a fast-paced and well-written novel with a topic that is as cruel as it is unintelligible: Child abuse. No matter in what way a child must endure the horrible suffering that comes from it, it is NEVER right. The way how the author shows it in this novel is brutal but told in a sensitive way and that is what makes it way more insistent than any other writing style could ever achieve. 

Under Currents
by Nora Roberts
Publisher St. Martin´s Press on July 9, 2019
Genre Novel
Pages 436
Format Hardcover
Source Purchased 

Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina´s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers – and even Zane´s own aunt across the lake – see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children´s ballet recitals and baseball games. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong. As his father´s violent controlling rages – and his mother´s complicity – become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, and days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her to Be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away. When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good or triumph – and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves. 

Zane is counting the years until he is free to go and leave his brutal parents. His father, a famous and successful surgent knows how to keep control over everything he sees as his own belongings. His children included. After an especially brutal hit from his father, Zane starts to write down everything that has ever happened to him and is still happening with the hope that one day he might be able to get justice the way he and his sister deserve it. After years of abuse one day, Zane has had enough and hits back. Starting a process in which the famous façade his father was always keen to keep up is shattered in a second. 

The story itself starts with the cruel and bloody daily life Zane and his sister Britt know can´t be normal. I was shocked when I read the first brutal scene, though it was written in a very sensitive way. The fact, that violence between a man and a woman was shown in a very blunt way gave me the chills. But when the author started to present her readers with scenes where out of nothing, Zane´s father starts to torture and batter his son, I was shaken and not sure if I wanted to continue reading. 

I did. And it was totally worth it. Page after page Nora Roberts unfolds a story that thrilled me more and more. There is always a good part in such a novel, and the author delivers that in the most perfect way. Her writing style is soft and intense but still with ease. You are always aware of the importance and cruelty of the things Zane´s father did to his family but you also get to see how Zane and his sister found a peaceful way and to keep going and what life they both build from the cruel and bloody past.

Zane and Britt seem to be defenseless, but they are not. Within hours of the last violent hit through their father, they find help in a place they would never have imagined possible. And it turns out, that no matter what their parents had intended to do to them, they´ve failed. Zane and Britt are strong, though they had just escaped a living nightmare.

I was totally impressed by how the two teenagers coped with everything that had happened to them. How they kept their strength and will to stay good and that there must be more in life for them than an abusive father and the richness they were born into. 

Nora Roberts once again shows that she knows how to thrill and bond her readers. Yes, the topic is no fun and for sure not easy to write about. But the author shows with this book the highest level of style and elegance even though she writes about the cruelest behavior towards a child. And the way how she turns things around during the ongoing plot is not only very exciting but also very entertaining. Highly recommended. 

Happy reading

Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts ©Bruce Wilder

Nora Roberts, born in Silver Spring, Maryland, is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels. During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981. Having spent her life surrounded by men, Ms. Roberts has a fairly good view of the workings of the male mind, which is a constant delight to her readers. It was, she’s been quoted as saying, a choice between figuring men out or running away screaming. Nora is a member of several writers groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist.” She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.


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