“Not just what you’re born into, who raises you”…”It’s what you do about it.”Nora Roberts, Under Currents, p 394
I absolutely loved this book, or at least most of it. UnderCurrents brings out so much emotion and intrigue within the first couple pages I found it hard to put down, resulting in me finishing it in a matter of a few days. I know that there is brutality in the world, so much of it being in the homes where children should feel their safest, and every time I read about something such as a child being beaten by someone in that so-called safe haven, fiction or non-fiction based, it breaks my heart. This book, within the first six chapters, had me feeling anger, pain, and heartache for what was happening to Zane and Britt. I know that it’s a fictional story, but I couldn’t stop myself from crying as I was reading as it made me think about how some children actually go through what Zane and Britt were going through, and in most cases, no-one being the wiser as it can be well hidden. Not to mention people nowadays have a tendency of ignoring what is happening to those around them, even when they are needed most.
I really liked how this book was divided up into sections as it allowed for the story to be told over the span of years instead of dragging it on one day at a time until Zane and Britt make it to adulthood as I think that would have made for a slow read. It began with reading about the harsh reality of Zane and Britt’s lives and what they had to endure living in the Bigelow household to then how they were with living with Emily and Lee (the detective turned Sheriff turned husband to Emily). Even though the story moves kind of quickly through their lives in the beginning, there is no shortage of details as to what happened to lead up to the night of their parents’ arrests as well as what the outcome of the situation was. I was happy that the little extra about Lee and Emily getting together was added as well so you weren’t completely lost as to how they came to be together.
One reason why I enjoy Nora Roberts’s books so much is that even though she writes the story about two specific characters at a time for each book she doesn’t forget about those that are also in the lives of those two characters. Such as in Under Currents, the story focuses on that of mainly Zane in the beginning but you still get to know who is sister, Britt, is as well as his horrific parents, and those that he cares a lot about, his aunt Emily and his best friend’s dad, Dave. From the beginning, you see that Zane is strong-willed and will go to any length to save his sister from any harm coming to her at the hands of their father. This eventually results in that life-changing moment of theirs when Zane comes home from a school dance to find his father waiting for him. Later in life when it’s time to graduate high school and move onto college decisions, what Zane and his sister have gone through makes him into what he has made himself out to be. Going against ever wanting to become a doctor, like Graham, he sets out to be a lawyer so he can defend those that end up in the same situation he found himself in; making sure the correct people pay for what they have done.
Then comes Darby. Her mother has died and she has no other family as she is a divorcee after leaving an abusive husband herself. Nevertheless, you still get to know who her mother was to her as well as what has happened with the husband that she had once thought she loved, only to find that he is an abusive asshole underneath the polished facade. Darby has the confidence in herself and what she does for a living as a landscaper that every woman dreams for herself. I’ve read some of the reviews that have been written by others for Under Currents and some have said that they believe that Darby is “too good to be believable,” “she is coming off as a superhero of sorts instead of an actual person.” and leaving a bad rating because of this. Everyone has the right to their own opinion about the book of course, but I couldn’t disagree more. I see that Darby has pulled herself out of a hard situation and came back fighting even more for what she wants, not allowing the past to cripple her – much like Zane. Throughout the story you see parts of her that are still scared at times because of what she went through and what is happening to her now, but she refuses to let that define the rest of her life. It seems that some may have just overlooked that when it came to Darby.
There was a part of the book that I believe fell a bit short, and that was when Trent came back into the story to get revenge on what Darby had done to him. There were hints of Trent’s return, or at least someone coming after Darby, a few chapters before the end but I wish there was more with him towards the middle of the book. Or another thought would be to have shown what Darby had gone through with him towards the beginning/middle of the book like they did with Zane and what he was going through with his parents. It just felt like he was there one minute and gone a quick second later, making me want a bit more when it came to Trent and Darby’s relationship and how he came to be there at the end. However, even with wishing there was a bit more to that part, this will be a book that I will read time and again.
About Under Currents
Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow is a prisoner, or at least that’s how he feels. Strangers – even his own aunt Emily across the lake – see his parents how they want them to be seen, a successful surgeon and his devoted wife. They would make the proper appearances at their daughter’s ballet recitals and their son’s baseball games. But Zane and his sister, Britt, know the truth about who their parents really are.
It has come to the point where Zane has started counting the years, months, and days until he can be free of his father’s controlling and abusive hand while his mother stands by and does nothing to protect her children. Zane looks out for his sister, warning her to be smart, to be careful, so as not to get their father’s attention on her. In fear for his own life as well, he plays along with the insidious lie of a life that his family lives, all the while making a note in a journal he hides away every time his father hurts him.
After a night that would forever change all of their lives, Zane has begun to understand that some people are actually willing to face the truth, even when it brings them pain. As he grows into the man he sees himself to be, he finds that while his past may always be a shadow in his life, it shows that good can triumph over the darkness. It gives him the strength that he comes to need to continue to protect himself and those he loves when trouble comes to find him once again.
A list of Nora Robert’s books can be found here – Book List – She even has a printable list that can be found here – Printable List – and a list of series/connected books can be found here – Series/Connected Book List