Cilla McGowan has returned to Little Farm. The former child actress, granddaughter of screen legend Janet Hardy, has plans to restore the family property to its former glory. As a real estate investor and experienced house-flipper, she understands how to renovate a home for quick resale and tidy profit. She has different plans for Little Farm. She plans to live there.
In returning to Virginia, Cilla has new opportunities and challenges. The property has been left untended for too long, and the renovation will be extensive. Her mother, who should have been more diligent about it, chose to ignore the homestead, and has fought Cilla over her plans. Now that Cilla has deed to the farm, she can do what she wants with it, and she has lots of ideas. One especially appealing prospect is in getting to know her father better. Gavin McGowan chose to leave Hollywood for his hometown when Cilla was very young. He remarried and has another daughter, Angie, and teaches English at the local high school. Cilla is awkward around them, but hopes it will grow into a solid relationship.
Not all the local residents are as happy to see new life at Little Farm. Someone is trying to shut down the construction with a series of incidents and veiled threats. Could it be the author of the love letters Cilla found in her grandmother’s things? Has Cilla’s arrival triggered old wounds, long repressed? Does the tragedy surrounding her uncle’s death and her grandmother’s suicide still linger at Little Farm?
Ford Sawyer likes what he sees in both the renovation and his new neighbor. As a graphic novelist and artist, Ford is immediately drawn to both Cilla’s strength and beauty. Who knew seeing a woman with a hammer could be so inspiring? What he doesn’t like are the “accidents” and thinly disguised problems that spell trouble on the construction site. Hopefully, he and Cilla can get to the bottom of the mystery so that they can concentrate on more important matters, like each other.
Nora Roberts’ newest novel, Tribute, is sure to please her legion of fans. She has created a compelling plot that keeps readers guessing until the final chapter, and populates her story with a wide cast of characters. Cilla and Ford seem to leap off the pages with their vibrant personalities, and reader will fall in love with Ford’s too-ugly dog, Spock. The popularity of home improvement shows is given plenty of play in Tribute which adds to its appeal. Newcomers to Ms. Roberts will find reasons to explore her backlist on the strength of this novel. It is too bad her next hardcover release is a year away. Of course there are plenty of her other books to read until then.