Identity is Nora Roberts at her best: suspense, murder and romance all packaged up into a heartwarming story.
“When you love someone, and love him hard, and you’re ready for him, you go after him. If he doesn’t love you back, and love you hard, if he’s not ready for you, that’s his loss. Loves brave, Morgan. Love stands up.”
“That sounds true.”
“Because it is. It’s solid truth.”
Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally planted roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina helps her make the mortgage payments, as does Morgan’s job as a bartender. But after she and Nina host their first dinner party—attended by Luke, the flirtatious IT guy who’d been chatting her up at the bar—her carefully built world is shattered. The back door glass is broken, cash and jewelry are missing, her car is gone, and Nina lies dead on the floor.
Soon, a horrific truth emerges: It was Morgan who let the monster in. “Luke” is actually a cold-hearted con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then commits his ultimate goal: murder.
What the FBI tells Morgan is beyond chilling. Nina wasn’t his type. Morgan is. Nina was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Morgan’s nightmare is just beginning. Soon she has no choice but to flee to her mother’s home in Vermont. While she struggles to build something new, she meets another man, Miles Jameson. He isn’t flashy or flirtatious, and his family business has deep roots in town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn’t forgotten the one who got away.
You may not know this, but I’m a huge Nora Roberts fan. Like, I’ve ready everything Nora’s written, many books multiple times. So when I had a chance to read her new book on netgalley before it was published, I think my neighbours could hear my shouts of excitement. And Identity, Nora’s latest book, does not disappoint. This is classic Nora at her finest, and if you’ve never read a Nora Roberts book, it’s a great place to start. Identity tells the story of Morgan, who’s whole life is destroyed in one fell swoop: identity fraud, her best friend and roommate murdered, and plot twist – it should have been her. She heads home to a small town in Vermont to live with her mother and grandmother as she puts her life back together.
Morgan is a feisty bartender who’s built up a lot of walls after the divorce of her parents. She’s independent to a fault, which of course makes it all that harder when all of her independence is taken away from her thanks to a con man slash psychopathic serial killer. I loved seeing Morgan pick herself up and rebuild her life as she also learns about her family and the women who made her. Nora writes families, both blood and found, so well and the Nash family is a small but strong unit. Her mom and grandma are fierce and fabulous women who I wanted to hang out with.
Of course, it isn’t a Nora Roberts book without a swoony romance. Now, we don’t meet Miles, the love interest until a good chunk through the book. But let me tell you, he’s worth the wait. He’s part of a powerful and wealthy family that runs a big lodge in Vermont. But this isn’t a Succession-style dynasty. This family works hard and cares about each other. Miles is the eldest son and is a straight and narrow man who has the largest heart. I loved watching Miles and Morgan fight and then give into their attraction after Morgan joined the Lodge as manager and head bartender for the fancy restaurant there. Their love affair is steamy and strong: Miles supports her and encourages her to be the best version of herself even while he prepares himself to defend her against the serial killer slowly making his way back to her to finish off his mistake.
Gavin – the serial killer and other main character in Identity – is one twisted man. As the bad guy he doesn’t disappoint. He’s so charming at first that I was totally taken in by him as the reader -so warning to you, you may side eye every person you meet after reading this book. He’s perfectly charming and creepy at turns and his drive is fascinating.
I live to enter a new Nora Roberts world every year and Identity was a top notch romantic suspense read with a side of small town, big family dynamics. I can’t wait to add this to my re-read rotation as it is a new favourite.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.