by Nora Roberts

May 1998
ISBN: 0-515-12273-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

Imagine this - you have a box on your table and every time you open it there is something different inside. That's how I feel about a Nora Roberts book - every time I open the cover there is a different story inside! Nora takes us from mystical islands to time-traveling sisters, from magical west coast families to vibrant New York cops! So it is with great pleasure that I anticipate the adventures in each Roberts book I read.

Sanctuary is no exception to this rule. Set on a quiet island off the coast of Georgia, the settings are tranquil and gorgeous - in contrast to the emotions of the heroine, Jo Ellen Hathaway, noted photographer and recent sufferer of a nervous breakdown! Driven to the edge of insanity by pressure and fear, Jo comes home to Sanctuary, the magnificent bed-and-breakfast Inn owned by her family. Also seeking solace on this wonderful island, is Nathan Delaney, successful architect, and one-time summer visitor to Sanctuary. Unlike Jo, Nathan has not come to Sanctuary to escape his problems, he has come to deal with them.

With this premise, Nora Roberts has set the stage for another of her wonderful, complex novels. I expected the love story between Jo and Nathan to develop into the central plot, but once again, Nora caught me by surprise. Before too many chapters had passed, I was solidly enmeshed in the lives of not only Jo, but also her quiet brother Brian, the chef extraordinaire, and also her superficially glamorous and spoilt younger sister Lexy.

Each of these characters plays a vital role in this tale and Ms. Roberts pays detailed attention to each one of them. Their loves are explored, their emotions revealed, and they rapidly become part of an ensemble cast that brings a dimension of depth and substance to this novel. No facet of their personalities is overlooked or nuance passed over in the interests of brevity, with the result that at the end of this book one truly feels that one knows these people intimately. The plot itself is well developed and fascinating, although does not offer much in the way of surprises to a reader who is well versed in the genre. However, this is a great book in which to lose oneself - the romance is hot, the villains are bad to the bone, and the ending is a "whirlwind" of excitement. Don't hesitate to add this to your keeper shelf.

Reviewed in January 2002 by Celia.

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