Published by St. Martin's Press on May 29th 2018
Buy: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, Chapters !ndigo
It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.
The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, helplessly clutching her cell phone—until she finally found a way to pour the emotions of that night into her art.
But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait—and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.
No matter how many books she’s written or how many I’ve read, there’s something comforting and exciting about picking up the newest Nora Roberts novel. Though her books are often categorized as “romance”, Shelter in Place is so much more that. The story and the characters are just as important, if not more, than the romance. Shelter in Place is about life, specifically the lives of Simone Knox and Reed Quartermaine.
I was grabbed from the start as Ms. Roberts sets the scene with a mall mass shooting. Both survivors of the tragic incident, Simone and Reed have different approaches to dealing with the aftermath. Shelter in Place wouldn’t be nearly as strong a story if Ms. Roberts didn’t follow the characters from that tragic incident through their healing into the present. Getting to see their development side-by-side with the villain’s was necessary and helped build their stories as people and not just potential love interests to fawn over as they fall in love. Eventually though, life/fate/whatever you want to call it brings them home to the same place at the same time. Their chemistry is electric and sudden and completely irresistible.
My favorite part of this story, however, wasn’t the romance (no matter how adorable it was), but instead it was about the family relationships. Simone’s family relationship in particular was real and troubled. Some of Ms. Roberts older works featured boisterous, large families that argued and loved and felt so beautifully unrealistic to me. This family was the opposite. They were a reminder of how you can love your family even if you don’t understand them or vice versa. They were a punch in the heart.
If you’re looking for the story of people living life in the aftermath of tragedy, this is one to pick up. Shelter in Place made me cry and smile and sigh with joy. I have fallen in love with Ms. Roberts’ writing all over again.
Everything can be made better with a good book or some relaxing knits. 😀 Find me on IG @kimberlyh12 or on Twitter @enervated.