by Nora Roberts

March 2003
ISBN: 0-399-14984-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Putnam

Nora Roberts did not have to travel far to find her setting for Birthright. She instead looked out her window and wrote about the town where she lives. Birthright, the author’s 31st non-series novel, is set in the fictional town of Woodboro, Maryland. This serene community has seen its share of disruptions, but the discovery of a Native American archaeological site is unearthing more than just bones.

How would you react if you found out that everything you knew about your life was false? What would you do to discover the truth? These are the questions that wait for Dr. Callie Dunbrook as she arrives to oversee the archaeological dig. Callie has been called back from sabbatical for this project, because her boss needs the best bone specialist on his team. This also means that her ex-husband, Jake Greystone, has also been hired as the head anthropologist for the excavation. As Callie begins to discover the facts of her past, one thing is clear - someone wants to see the secrets remain buried - and is willing to kill to keep them hidden.

As usual, Nora Roberts skillfully weaves together several story threads to produce a stunning tapestry. The base storyline, involving Callie’s family , is an emotional roller coaster. As she slowly uncovers the soil on the project site, Callie also slowly uncovers the startling facts that surround her entire life. As she turns to Jake for moral support, it becomes clear that their love for one another did not stop when the divorce papers were signed. This thread is the most obvious. What made this book even more interesting for me were the other stories it contained; stories about loss and the role that tragedy plays in family dynamics, about grief and the courage to forge a new life from the ashes of the past. The secondary characters are intriguing, their paths to love tenuous, and they emerge from the pages with strong voices and compelling threads of their own.

Birthright is a must-read for every Nora Roberts fan, and would be an excellent introduction to this prolific author for those who have never read her books before. I can guarantee that once read, this book will go up on the “keeper” shelf to be read again.

Reviewed in April 2003 by Paula.

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