As Winter approaches, I decided it was time to get out my best Nora Roberts books to bring some warmth into my otherwise cold, dreary world. Nora Roberts is without a doubt the queen of romance. Her narration has a magnetic quality to it that draws me in every time.
I can’t help but get lost in the worlds she creates, and one book that completely won my heart is J.D. Robb’s “In Death” trilogy. The futuristic scenario, the intense suspense, and the scorching relationship with Lieutenant Eve Dallas—it’s like a literary roller coaster that I don’t want to come to an end with.
Then, when I’m in the mood for pure romance, I turn to the “Bride Quartet” series. Beginning with “Vision in White,” it follows a group of friends who own a wedding planning company, and Nora’s ability to weave their love tales together is nothing short of amazing. I found myself rooting for each of the characters as if they were old acquaintances.
Not to mention the “Three Sisters Island” trilogy. “Dance Upon the Air,” “Heaven and Earth,” and “Face the Fire” are mesmerizing blends of romance and enchantment. Those novels have a special position on my shelf since they’re dog-eared and worn from all the times I’ve returned to the stories of love, self-discovery, and a dash of the uncanny.
What I admire most about Nora Roberts is her ability to create characters that feel real, like friends you’d want in your life. Her works have this comfortable feel, making them ideal for a rainy day retreat or a weekend companion. Each novel feels like a journey to me, and I’m always eager to start the next one.
Best Nora Roberts Books Ranked
1. The Obsession
The Obsession is definitely one of the best Nora Roberts books. On that fateful night that Naomi Bowes accompanied her father into the woods, she lost her innocence. Naomi made her father infamous after she freed the girl from the root cellar, exposing the terrible nature of her father’s misdeeds. She will never be able to escape Thomas David Bowes’s misdeeds, no matter how near she gets to happiness.
Thousands of miles from her familiar surroundings, she has discovered a home that beckons to her—a sprawling old house that needs repair—now that she is a successful photographer going by the name Naomi Carson.
Even though Naomi prefers to be alone, the kind locals of Sunrise Cove, particularly the dogged Xander Keaton, keep pressuring her to open up.
Instinctively, Naomi realizes that the connection her new life provides is something she has always secretly desired, and she can sense her walls crumbling. However, her father’s transgressions have the potential to become an obsession, and she has repeatedly discovered that her history is always just a nightmare away.
Like every other Roberts’ book, a lady seeking a fresh start after experiencing some form of trauma finds a trustworthy love interest in The Obsession, but it’s more than that. Despite the presence of those features, Roberts found a new sense of identity in The Obsession.
The narrative has been told in pieces and is shockingly personal. Although I did figure out “who done it” at two-thirds of the way through, I did like the steady pace, even though there is some predictability.
The contemporary romance that can feel forced to kiss on page “this” and be a couple on page “that” washed away by the murder mystery storyline.
Instead, the plot unfurled with a calculated, natural stroll that allows intimacy to blossom—even sneaking up on protagonists Xander Keaton and Naomi Bowes. I thought it was great that Roberts took the time to show us the exact moment when they realized they loved each other.
Roberts takes a bold new direction in the opening part, and I was hooked from the get-go. The story starts with eleven-year-old Naomi fantasizing about the bike she wants for her birthday. She rises early on this hot summer night, hoping for a breeze to cool her down.
As she lies in bed, unable to move, she watches her dad sneak into the forest with a flashlight. With the hope that he may have hidden the bike somewhere, she decides to follow in his footsteps. Instead of a fantasy bike, she discovers that her father is an infamous serial killer and rapist.
Moving across the nation from her hometown in West Virginia, a grown-up Naomi finds a spot that seems like it could be her home.
On the hill above a river canyon at Sunrise Cove in Washington State, she decides to renovate a rundown bed and breakfast. Despite the house’s isolation, the reader is drawn into her life and the reader’s as well by the quaint little village where she hires artisans.
On Friday nights, I would have like to accompany Naomi on an antiques hunt, have breakfast on her porch, and watch Xander’s band perform. Naturally, she has feelings for Xander. Their romance begins with a shared desire, but they make no moves to satisfy it.
Xander persistently encourages Naomi to take a chance without being overbearing. While trust and a genuine friendship develop between them, they navigate the ups and downs of small town life. Until a woman vanishes from the picture.
A copycat killer is closing in on Sunrise Cove, threatening to ruin the refuge Naomi has finally discovered, and Naomi’s true identity is thrust into sharp relief.
2. The Liar
The initial, cursory reading was overly excited and left more to be desired. A week later, I gave myself permission to start over, and the result was a light and enjoyable read, perfect for the first sunny days of spring.
Shelby, who was a 19-year-old singer in a college band, was swept away by the irresistible allure of Richard, a complete stranger. She left her life behind, married him, had a child soon after, and lived an adventurous life, constantly on the move, all because her husband was a kind of investment advisor in his business.
After five years of gorgeous but – with the exception of her adored daughter – contentless life, she plays with the possibility of leaving him while Richard dies in a boat accident. The Treasury, the FBI, and Shelby’s numerous creditors all file reports, and the nightmare begins as she sits atop a massive mound of debt.
The story begins in this situation.
In order to settle the loan, Shelby is going to liquidate all of the current assets, including the million-dollar villa and designer dishes. She uncovers multiple identification documents with Richard’s photo, suggesting that he may have done far worse than his debts.
In addition to a greater sum of money, which is regrettably insufficient to pay off all of the bills, she also finds Richard’s fingerprints. Nearly at the same time, a private detective checks in to her and asks for a person with the name of one of the alternate identity papers.
Despite her best efforts to dissuade the investigator, he follows her back to the Tennessee little town where her family live.
Upon her return, Shelby reconnects with her family, old friends, and the little community, all while reclaiming the self-confidence that Richard had stifled. Naturally, a new love is also found swiftly, old high school rivals are reincarnated and vanquished, and all seems to be going swimmingly until, out of nowhere, a lady emerges claiming to have been Richard’s wife.
The past did more than just resurface for Shelby; it burst forth: Richard was much worse than first believed, and bigamy was the least of his crimes. Then the apparent wife’s body is discovered. With the support of her brother, a police officer, and her new love, Shelby attempts to emulate Richard’s criminal methods so that he might escape the consequences of his deeds.
However, he ends himself in mortal peril at the end of the book, which you might have guessed poorly from the beginning.
The book’s central theme, which unfolds in tandem with the plot’s tension, is Shelby’s remarkable rebirth as a powerful woman who triumphs over Richard’s systematic disdain for her ostensibly revolutionary personality and set of values.
The major way this is accomplished is by reintegrating into the social fabric of the hometown, which is depicted in scenes that are both vivid and humorous.
The most endearing aspect of the book is also its biggest flaw: the extremely supportive network of loved ones. Pleasant to read, but aggressively applied. During my troubled youth, where were Shelby’s parents?
A delightful bonus is that, unlike in a good decorating magazine, this one also describes the interiors of houses, gardens, and salons in great detail.
Considering the ages of the heroines in this and the Boonsboro-Inn series, it is evident that Nora Roberts is a member of the grandmother’s generation. A grandma who, like Shelby’s granny, has stayed youthful in all her relationships and who, as time goes on, writes against the backdrop of her age and the experiences she has had.
The style and craftsmanship are still there, but the heroines should mature a bit more, as has happened in several of other works.
3. Year One
It all started on the Eve of the New Year.
The illness developed out of nowhere and spread rapidly. Even more quickly, the terror spread. People started to lose faith in everything they relied on within a few of weeks.
More over half of humanity perished as a result of a breakdown in the global electrical system, the disintegration of government, and the disintegration of law.
Order had been replaced by anarchy. Magick emerged as a viable alternative to science and technology as their influence waned. Some of it is beneficial, like Lana Bingham’s witchcraft that she and her partner Max practice in their loft apartment.
A portion of it is incredibly malevolent and can hide in plain sight, around a bend, in the stinky tunnels under the river, or even in the people you hold dearest.
As news travels that the authorities patrolling the devastated streets target both the immune and the talented, Lana and Max must rely on one other as they escape a devastated New York City. Other adventurers are also making their way west, into uncharted territory.
The tech whiz Chuck is attempting to hack his way through an internet-dead world. An audience-lost journalist named Arlys clings to her pen and paper in order to document the truth. Her youthful coworker Fred, who is showing signs of promising talent and an optimism that is at odds with the desolate scenery around him.
And then there are Jonah and Rachel, a paramedic and a doctor who band together to save the lives of a pregnant woman and her three babies despite overwhelming odds.
Nobody knows for sure where they’re going or why they’re doing it in a world where every stranger they meet could be a hero or a barbarian. Their lives, and the lives of everyone else who stays behind, will be shaped by a mission that lies ahead.
Considering how dense this book is, I will just state that my expectations were completely blown. Unusually for me, this novel really caught me off guard. This was an intense and emotionally charged drama, with a large cast of memorable characters and many lines that may be used as quotes.
The fact that the plot would abruptly change gears in the midst of chapters was the most annoying aspect to me. I had to replay parts of the audiobook multiple times before I could figure out who the main character was. In my opinion, reading it would have been more enjoyable.
4. The Awakening
Breen Kelly’s father used to tell her tales of enchanted places when she was a young child. She is now a nervous twentysomething who works at a job she despises and is burdened with student debt. However, one day she makes the startling realization that her mother has been concealing an investment account under her name.
Her father, who has been absent for a long time, has sponsored it; it is almost four million dollars.It would change anyone’s life to have this sudden money. Breen has no idea, though, that part of the money she uses to travel to Ireland will reveal mysteries she never would have thought to solve.
It is at this point that she will start to see why she could not stop seeing that enigmatic man with silver hair and why she could hear him calling out to her, Breen Siobhan. You should return home now. Why dragons were in her dream?
And where her real destiny lies—in a doorway in Galway that transports her to a realm inhabited by mermaids and faeries, to a man by the name of Keegan, and to the bravery within her that will lead her through a formidable, perilous destiny…
Although it has many of Nora Roberts’s signature elements—Ireland, witches, a woman coming into her own, and end-of-the-world battles between good and evil—this novel manages to stand on its own. Though it’s captivating, it lacks the comedic flair of her other works.
It gives a lot of context while building slowly and steadily. A wedding—planned or completed—or even the certainty of a couple—just the prospect or probability of one—does not conclude the first book, in contrast to previous ones. Also, there isn’t a set of characters that are obviously going to become a pair, even if there are a lot of them.
I am unaware of what occurs subsequent as I have solely perused the initial book. Some great parts have not yet been developed to their full potential.
This first book provides a thorough introduction to the characters and the scenario, so I’m expecting that some of the elements that are currently shallow will be explored more thoroughly in subsequent books.
In conclusion, I would suggest this book since I am quite curious about the plot’s development. The only thing you can expect is that it won’t be your usual Nora Roberts.
5. Whiskey Beach
Bluff House has watched over Whiskey Beach and its shoreline, as well as its mysteries, for almost 300 years. Yet, Eli Landon considers it his home.
After being accused of, but never convicted for, the death of his soon-to-be ex-wife, Eli, a lawyer from Boston, endured a year of intense public scrutiny and police investigations.
Bluff House becomes his haven, even if his cherished grandma is in Boston recovering from a terrible fall. Still, you can count on Abra Walsh. Abra, who lives at Whiskey Beach and is a massage therapist, yoga teacher, jewelry maker, and maid, helps Eli take charge of his life and clear his reputation.
As their lives intertwine, they discover that they are intertwined in a web that dates back centuries—a web that has trapped a man determined to destroy Eli Landon for good.
Nora masterfully blends myth with reality. An enthralling tale of madness, temptation, and yes, love that combines two distinct themes. Reading a work of such mastery makes it nearly impossible to resist falling in love.
Nora creates heroines that are full of life and experience all its complexities; I adore her work. When it comes to protecting the people they care about, they aren’t afraid to stand on their own two feet and do what it takes. Writing about authentic women is, in my opinion, one of Nora’s greatest strengths.
Women who have conquered love, loss, conflict, betrayal, and triumphantly asserted their identity—in a nutshell, true women. Abra is a perfect example of how that category is defined. In this book, she is a powerful protagonist motivated by her inner strength.
Perfectly embodies the wounded warrior is Eli. His family loves and supports him despite the fact that he has been damaged and battered by life’s hardships. Even the cops in his hometown are beginning to see things from his perspective.
He just needs some breathing room to get back on his feet, and when he does, he leaves no stone unturned. You can’t help but cheer when he gets mad enough to speak out and silence his opponents. Recommended!
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About the Author
Sarah Patel is an ardent reader and a lover of diverse narratives. Her curiosity drives her to explore books across multiple genres, from fantasy and science fiction to contemporary fiction and memoirs.
With a degree in Creative Writing, Sarah has a profound appreciation for storytelling and character development.