Hideaway by Nora Roberts
Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years away in Ireland, sheltered and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul. Then, finally, she returned to Los Angeles, hoping to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…
Synopsis from Goodreads
I love Nora Roberts and she tends to take up the most space on my bookshelf with her many, many romances, trilogies, and family series, so naturally I'm always excited when a new book is published. The long-standing "queen of romance", Roberts has always done a great job in writing her standalone novels that include romance, suspense, and a wonderful happy ending. Sadly, Hideaway just didn't seem to hit any of these marks for me...
Great Family Dynamic, Boring Romance
This was a great book about the Sullivan family and their beautiful relationships with each other (it made me really think about how I need to do better to keep in touch with my grandparents) and I love the way Roberts builds her family structures. However, the romance was so anti-climactic. We know that Dillon and Caitlyn will end up together, but the process of them becoming a couple was both fast and boring. Where was the build-up, the tension, the learning about each other? There was more love between Cate and her NYC boyfriend, Noah, than between her and the guy she's going to end up with. I just didn't believe Cate and Dillan's love story, and that was really disappointing because I liked both characters!
Felt Repetitive of Earlier Novels
Even reading the synopsis of this book, I kept being reminded of earlier Roberts books, specifically Public Secrets and The Search. Like Public Secrets, Hideaway begins when Caitlyn is very young and we follow her through her formative years until she comes home again as an adult. And similar to The Search, we know who the kidnappers and "bad guys" are the entire time, which was equally annoying and anti-climactic in both books. The missing element in Hideaway when compared to an earlier book like Public Secrets is that the romantic relationships between characters are almost non-existent. While the family dynamic is equally well done (Roberts is excellent when writing about families), this book doesn't stand out as a compelling romance...especially when thinking about her previous novels.
For about 2 days after finishing this book, I kept thinking that I was excited to finish this book...the ending was so forgettable that I honestly kept forgetting that I was done! This is rarely the sign of a successful novel and I was really frustrated by such a lack of a compelling ending. The bad guy comes out of nowhere and is thwarted within a page. After some hugs and kisses that every is alive, the book is just...done. Ummmm, what?! The lack of build-up towards the climatic face-to-face should have tipped me off that this wasn't going to be a satisfying end, but I was still really disappointed with it.
Overall, this was a pretty disappointing book from the queen of romance. I actually found myself going back to reread a lot of her older books after finishing Hideaway to satisfy my need for a good love story. Hideaway isn't a bad book, it's just ultimately very anti-climatic. The Sullivan family is lovely, Dillon's family is lovely, and the story moves at a great pace. But the romance fell flat and the end was a joke, which completely dropped my rating. I'd suggest this to long-standing fans of Nora Roberts so that you can feel satisfied that you're continuing to support her, but this is definitely not the book I'd recommend to new Roberts readers.
Am I being too hard on this book? What did you think of Hideaway?
FINAL RATING: 2.5/5
2/15/2021 09:30:35 am
I didn't have your experience. I loved Hideaway. I'm not one much on romance (I don't care to read "sex" scenes), but the romance was very satisfying and realistic to me. It was very "modern" with the woman not very romantic (which was one aspect I didn't like). The family dynamics were above great. Loved it. This was a very satisfying book for me.
3/26/2021 08:25:36 am
I'm glad you enjoyed reading it - I think overall Nora Roberts is a great author and have loved a lot of her books in the past! Have you read any of her other ones? Her sex scenes are never super graphic (and easy to skip through if you're not interested in reading them) but some of her older standalones just feel stronger to me. Have you read Sanctuary or The Reef? The Witness is actually one of my favourites by her and I adore the characters. Would love to get your thoughts on some of her other books :)
3/24/2021 11:55:13 am
I agree with you and more, I even questions if Nora penned this book was not her style! No surprises out of the blue, sex scenes lackluster for her recent style though I don't think you need all that steam for a great book. No climatic surprise twist ending, some characters such as Justin seem to come out of nowhere needing more development. You knew exactly what was going to happen next and who done it. A couple of different sentences ending a paragraph in a style I don't remember her even using before. Last sentence something to the wording effect until she did, wish I had marked them for better reference. This more like something she would have written in her early career, totally disappointed in the book, couldn't wait to finish Hideaway.
3/26/2021 08:29:37 am
Hi Diana! That's actually such a good point - I wonder if it was a ghostwriter or something?? Because this just did not feel like a Nora Roberts book. I was actually wondering if she's focusing so much on trying to write these contemporary fantasies (The One trilogy and the new one (which I'm sadly incredibly bored and disappointed by)) that her classic standalone romances are becoming bland.
3/26/2021 09:41:01 am
Alexandria, I have never read The Witness but read Montana Sky years ago and honestly I would have to reread to give valid opinion. Do not believe I have read that many books necessarily centered around the family. I however did love The Calhoun Women series which was a good development of the sister and men they became entwined with along the way in the legend and mystery of the family home. Great serie! Also in the Garden Triology, I couldn't put that series down. The Bride Quartet, they were family of friends and was easy reading, fun books.
6/30/2022 04:23:54 pm
Is this a standalone book or part of a series?
9/16/2022 10:32:43 am
Hey Jill, this is a standalone novel!
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Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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