Carolina Moon takes place in Progress, South Caroline. Tory Bodeen returns to open a shop, haunted with memories of the past. Tory moved away from Progress when her best friend, Hope Lavelle, was found raped and murdered as a child. The Bodeen’s, ruled by the iron fist of her abusive father, and moved away from Progress then, and Tory spent her horrific childhood in numerous temporary homes as her father could never completely take care of his wife and child.
Tory’s father’s hatred of her stemmed from the cause of age old hatred: the inability to understand the paranormal. Tory, with psychic abilities, terrified her father, and he reacted in the only way he knew, with violence. Despite everything, Tory managed to escape her parents, and built up a life in New York. Eventually, she had a tragic experience that had her fleeing from there as well, finally landing up in Progress again.
Seeing Cade Lavelle again stirs up old feelings forgotten. Seeing Hope’s older brother, now all grown up, she misses her friend even more, and is unexpectedly attracted to Cade. Cade is the epitome of Southern charm – kind, courteous, and sneakily bull-headed. Cade falls in love with Tory, but she initially steers clear from her feelings from him.
When the new teacher in town is found raped and murdered, everyone remembers the last time it happened – to Hope. Tory is once again under the eyes of the village, and she starts remembering her past. She has the uncanny sense to sense victims, which really doesn’t make her popular with the townsfolk. First to express her displeasure with Tory’s return is Cade’s mother, a cold, unfeeling woman incapable of loving her children after the death of her daughter. She makes her opinion quite known, but Cade ignores it, choosing to love Tory instead.
Hope’s twin sister Faith has suffered her sister’s death every single day of her life. She has spent her time running between husbands and lovers, ignoring the affection of the one man who has always loved her: Wade, Tory’s cousin. Wade finally manages to get her to see him as a good thing, and the change in Faith is astonishing.
When it is found that Tory’s father has disappeared and is on the run from the police for sexual assault, Tory starts suspecting him not only of the school teacher’s murder, but Hope’s as well. He attacks Tory in her store, swearing vengeance on her.
In the end, Tory’s parents both die, and the killer reveals himself at the last minute. I won’t be sharing who the killer is – that would take away so much of the surprise.
It is widely known that Nora Robert’s has a penchant for serial killers. She is a romantic suspense writer of staggering talent, and Carolina Moon is an excellent example. Somehow, this book is more than the other books. I found something else here, and the book mesmerized me. I lived in full fear that Wade would turn out to be the killer – destroying Faith’s change of heart. I was surprised how I started rooting for her – initially she seemed so spoiled and indifferent. But at the end of the book, I nearly cared more about what happened to her than I cared what happened to Tory.
The male characters all had such charm. Cade with his patience and confidence and charming attitude, Wade and his adoring love for animals, her uncle for his joy of life.
All in all, it was such an enjoyment to pick up this book and explore the magic that Nora Roberts is capable of.