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Nora Roberts’ books are like cookies made with Grandma’s recipe: sweet, satisfying, and positively foolproof. There is no more surefire pick-me-up or slump buster. Her books sell like hotcakes because she knows how to give people what they want, and she somehow manages to crank out more than one a year. I guess it’s no wonder she’s so good, with that much practice under her belt.

Come Sundown is the perfect escapist read, set on a Montana ranch and resort owned by the kind of family you wish you were a part of. Multiple generations live and work on the grounds, and everybody has a role that fits their nature perfectly. They’re joined by a handful of outsiders who quickly become like family as well. Sound like too much of a lovefest to be believable? Enter the second storyline: Aunt Alice left home years ago in a fit of teenage rebellion, but ends up being held captive by a kidnapping sadist just a few miles away from the family that alternately misses and resents her. The descriptions of Alice’s captivity and her treatment at the hands of her tormentor are hard to read (trigger warning for sure), but I could deal with it because I knew Roberts wouldn’t leave a girl hanging. That bastard would get what was coming to him, and I couldn’t wait to see it happen. In the meantime, there are delightful, gentlemanly cowboys to swoon over, the tough but feminine gals they fall for, and one very talented horse who steals the show.

This was my first time trying Nora Roberts in audio, and I highly recommend it, with one caveat: the family only has about three or four ideas as far as names for their children, and they just keep using those names over and over, generation after generation. Thus you get multiple characters (I counted at least three) named Rory, some characters for whom Bodine is a last name and another for whom it’s a first name, etc. It’s confusing, but if you focus up a little bit when each character is introduced, you’ll be fine.

As an aside, I never thought I’d find a barfight sexy, but Nora Roberts knows there’s something deeply attractive about righteous anger. Right on, girl.