Format Read: hardcover
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | ARe* | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.
Blurb from goodreads:
From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a novel of a woman who needs nothing, a man who sees everything, and the web of deceit, greed, and danger that brings them together—and could tear them apart . . .
When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one. . . .
Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarified circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession. . . .
I've been a fan of Nora Roberts for years. I love her blend of romance and mystery, her strong women and believable men. She's not in my budget these days but that's what the library is for. :) This book also appealed because I occasionally do house-sitting, though none have been as fancy as the houses Lila stays in.
Lila is a a novelist and a professional house-sitter with no permanent home. She's used to traveling around a lot as a she was an military brat and she enjoys roaming. She's proud, resourceful, independent, stubborn, and a wee bit controlling. As is Ash. Ash is a successful painter, comes from a wealthy and complicated family, is used to getting his own way, is controlling, used to being in charge of his extended family, and he likes to take care of people he cares about. That is difficult for Lila to accept and they butt heads numerous times. While I liked Ash, his controlling tendencies and his unwillingness to bend were irritating. Lila did the majority of the bending and he got his way most of the time. That didn't sit well with me. I also found I'm getting a bit tired of her stories almost always having a rich character. I want more stories with ordinary people. She's certainly talented enough to come up with engaging premises and interesting characters who are not rich or powerful; she's done it before.
Also troublesome was how accommodating the police were and that they would be careless about letting the witness to the murder-suicide and the brother of the murderer meet they way they did and the villainess was not especially bright. I loved reading about the Faberge` eggs and her descriptions of Italy had me practically drooling. I so want to go visit.
Despite my complaints, I enjoyed this book. I liked Lila and Ash, despite their faults, and loved the family interactions, the peeks into house-sitting, the adorable dog Earl Grey, the slow building romance, the snarky humor, the vivid descriptions of Ash's paintings, the secondary characters, etc. While parts of the story were predictable, it held my attention and kept me reading to find out more. I knew there'd be a happy ending and I knew the villains wouldn't go quietly but I wanted to see how Roberts did it. Roberts' knack for description really shone in this book and compensated for some of the shortcomings in plausibility and characterizaion. "The Collector" is good, solid romantic suspense.