* Prices may differ from that shown
A romantic thriller from best selling author Nora Roberts. News of the discovery of five-thousand-year-old bones brings archaeologist Dr. Callie Dunbrook to the small town of Woodsboro, Maryland. Typically for a Nora Roberts' lead female character she is strong, capable and passionate about her work. Callie loves what she does, so much so that after just a few weeks of a planned sabbatical the mere mention of the date of the bones has her heading for Woodsboro and booking into a motel. As excitement grows around the Antietam Creek dig Callie's team grows including one unwelcome addition with the arrival of anthropologist and ex-husband, Jake Graystone. Despite their history Callie reluctantly puts her feelings to one side recognising that Jake's talents are an asset to the dig. The pair provide entertaining dialogue as they swap insults and squabble in a way that only two people who truly know each other could. Jake challenges Callie both professionally and personally and the traits that she admires in him are the very same characteristics that cause them to clash. Jake and Callie soon fall back into their old routines of working together and whilst batting witty comebacks between them at every opportunity they rediscover the positives in each other. As much as Callie would prefer otherwise she comes to acknowledge that the feelings she had for Jake during their whirlwind romance and marriage have never diminished despite its miserable end. Roberts brings not only her romantic leads to life but also develops relationships and personalities between several of the team on the dig and the residents of the town they descend upon. Considering the number of supporting characters she develops beyond the superficial, they are all well written and as a result the interaction and relationships between them are believable. Several of the characters were likeable and intriguing in their own right and held their own storylines. When resident of Woodsboro, Suzanne Cullen watches Callie on the evening news she is convinced that her daughter has finally come home. In December 1974 Suzanne's life changed forever when a trip to see Santa at the mall with three-month-old Jessica and her big brother Doug ended in tragedy. Whilst Suzanne's attention was diverted for a matter of moments soothing her son Jessica was snatched from her stroller. Throughout the twenty-nine years that have passed to the present day Suzanne has never given up hope of being reunited with her daughter. Her life has continued on a roller coaster of emotions as she built her hopes each time there was a new lead only for them to be dashed again. When Suzanne meets Callie maternal instinct tells her that this time is different. Callie has spent her whole life digging up the past and uncovering its secrets. Birthright explores whether some secrets are best left that way. As Callie comes to terms with the prospect that her childhood, family and everything she knows has been built on a lie she finds surprising support in Jake. Callie's reaction is typical of her character as she pursues her need to know every detail about her past and is tenacious in her search for the truth. As Callie struggles to come to terms with her history and searches for a way to be the person Jessica should have been to the Cullen's without loosing herself, or hurting the family who has loved her all her life, without whom she would not be the person she is today. Roberts' explores the emotions of each of her characters and how they deal with the fallout of that trip to the mall many years ago, building new relationships with each other. Callie who finds herself unable to be the little girl who Suzanne lost concentrates on what she knows best as the plot twists and turns with how Jessica Cullen was to become Callie Dunbrook. The characters are well written and several were strong enough to have been used as the central characters for this book. One such subplot surrounds Callie's new found brother Doug's discovery of not only a new sister but romance with Callie's lawyer Dana and a family of his own. Whilst attempting to juggle dealing with her private life and the complications a whole new family bring, things are not going smoothly on the dig site. A proportion of the locals are not happy with the dig, which has cost them their jobs, and rumours are rife that the site is cursed. This only escalates as the dig is plighted by murder and sabotage. For Callie, what started out as an exciting yet routine dig has brought danger, intrigue and mystery. Callie soon realises that her newly discovered past is colliding with her present and her quest for the truth is putting those around her in danger. The romance plot between Jake and Callie is typical of Nora Roberts, steamy and believable, complementing the thriller strand of story rather than intruding upon it. The twists and turns of the plot held my interest and the ending was surprising although I found it a little unsatisfying. ISBN 0 7499 3449 2 465 pages
In summary: Dr Callie Dunbrook, archaeologist is sent to the small town of Woodsboro, when ancient human bones are discovered at a building site. Drawn into the controversy surrounding the building Callie attracts the attention of a local woman whose daughter was abducted as a baby. This woman is convinced that Callie is her daughter. The story follows Callie as she attempts to discover the truth about her heritage; she is helped (and hindered) by her irritating ex- Jake, her 'brother' and the local lawyer. However when things start to go wrong on the dig, and people start dying, Callie starts to realise that it's her investigations which are causing the problems, and that the person behind the abduction may want to stop her finding the truth. My opinion: This is a book with many subplots. Firstly the dig and a small town trying to stop the developers. Then you have Callie and the abduction story and how someone reacts when they find out all they knew is a lie. She has to deal with a whole new family she never knew existed, a mother who wants her little girl back, a girl Callie knows she can never be. The adoptive mother who worries she will lose her daughter to her 'real' mother. It is heartbreakingly sad in some places, but also uplifting. And of course being a nora book, you have the great chemistry between Callie and jake, as they try and sort out their complicated relationship. My only disappointment was with the ending of the abduction/black market baby storyline, it felt a little false to me, the perpetrator was a little too convenient. However I still think this is a very enjoyable read, and any Nora Roberts fan will love it.