I typically read horror and zombie books. I shy away from vampires and love stories. I always thought Nora Roberts wrote the latter. This book was part of the May sale so I gave it a shot. WOW. Boy am I glad I did! The story revolves around a 16 year old girl whose every thought and action is controlled by her mother. She's a genius but socially inept. She's never been to the mall, doesn't know how to dress nor know any of the typical teenage pop culture. After a fight with her mother she rebels. She runs into Julie and they strike a deal, Liz will make fake ids if Julie will help her shop & take her with her to the club. Liz ends up witnessing something horrific and after an attempt on her life while in police custody she goes into hiding. The majority of the story takes place 12 years later. LIz - now known as Abigail is super suspicious of everyone, still socially backwards, a loner and incredibly paranoid. All of which has kept her alive from the bad guys! The small town chief of police takes an interest in her and it turns into a beautiful story of love, suspense, cat and mouse, computer hacking etc. Reminded me of the Sandra Bullock movie The Net in some regards. I was VERY surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It wasn't a mushy, over the top harlequinesque novel. Roberts does an excellent job of developing the main character. Though a bit peculiar she's "endearing" and you find yourself rooting for her. The narrator was wonderful. Unlike alot of female narrators she did a great job with the male voices. She captured Abigail/Liz's innocence and guarded reserve excellently!!! The last quarter of the book is non stop action when Abigail aka Liz decides to stop hiding and confront her past with the help of her lover Chief of Police Brooks. AWESOME read. I'm glad I downloaded it!
Have always loved NR's books but her recent titles are starting to have similar characters and plot lines. The main characters in The Witness are very similar to the main characters in Angel's Falls (eccentric heroine falls in love with local law enforcement officer). Overall enjoyed the story line and unexpected ending. My favorite character is Bert now I want a Mastiff! Julia Whelan did a wondeful job of bringing the characters to life.The Witness is definitely worth purchasing.
I have been reading Nora Roberts for years, and will even re-read some of her books. This is one of the better one's that she has wrote. I liked the reader as well. She was great. I just finished this and it was very hard to put it down. I kept staying up way past my bed time to continue listening. Thanks Nora for another good one, I will enjoy re-reading.
Addicted to Audible!
Nora Roberts fans will enjoy this audio. While it was far from original or in any way great literature, it kept my interest and was a quick and entertaining listen. The plot was rather unbelievable but that is Ms. Roberts forte. You must suspend reality while listening to her books. I enjoy listening while I walk or exercise and it helps to pass the time. It's entertainment without substance! Sometimes you just need "junk food literature".
I know most everyone else loved this book. Sorry to disagree, but I thought it was pathetic, flat and contrived. What could have been an interesting story, turned to mush after Elizabeth went into hiding. Let me say that I enjoy the Lifetime Nora Roberts movies. Maybe because they're condensed - not as full of filler as was this story. The plot dragged on and on, the townspeople's side stories were thrown in as filler, as was the stupid, stilted dialogue between the two main characters. No one, supposedly as smart as Elizabeth/Abagail can be as socially naive & stupid as we were led to believe of the character. There was no depth (alot of repeat of the same facts) and the silly narration of the book should be an embarrassment. The ending was a disappointment - although in line with the rest of the book. I made myself finish the book, but it was after the first couple of chapters that I wanted, and should have given up.
First and foremost, I have to get the negatives out of the way. Two unappealing things stood out. The first concerned the portrayal of Liz/Elizabeth in the first section of the book. The robotic B.S. and the effects of Mommie Dearest on Elizabeth was overwrought and both highly unnecessary and highly ridiculous. I had one of those mothers, and before I actually did rebel, I had thought long and hard about the "what ifs" of taking a step out of line. Once I wandered, well... there was no turning back.. but that's another book. At any rate, Elizabeth was a very unlikable character in the beginning. Her mother was too overdrawn and ridiculuous and the author spent the rest of the book using the mother's bad ways to demonstrate how far Eliz/Liz/Abigail had come to get out from under her. The second ugly thing was the rendering of Elizabeth to be a counterpart to Lisbeth Salander from the Dragon Tattoo Series. It was so close, so mimetic, that I came close several times to not resuming. Even I could not figure out why I stuck with it when I was really angry with Nora Roberts for appearing to "steal" from the very popular book and its very quirky character.
Neither Liz/Elizabeth nor Abigail could hold a candle to Lisbeth. Lisbeth was so real, so alive, so believable, that The Witness became only the eye of a camera by comparison.
Enter Brooks Gleason. I did not like the use of man/romance as a manipulative device to get Abigail to loosen up. I think it's an easy-peasy method of bringing the female character to her senses -- that is to trust/love/have sex again. But I loked the character of Brooks and really liked his family.
So what is this book about? It is NOT about straying from mommy's intended discipline and getting people killed, it is not about the consequences and punishments of a child's bad behavior. It is not (entirely) about love and romance or about revenge and one-upsmanship.
In the Dragon Tattoo series, Lisbeth was dedicated to her work, and nothing, even her somewhat-one sided romance with Mikail, derailed her from her intention. She would reap havoc on her abuser(s), rob them and enjoy their money. We never for a moment forgot who Lisbeth was, what she came through and why she did the things she did. We never questioned what she would be doing after the capers (Russians btw) -- she would continue being Lisbeth.
In The Witness, Elizabeth/Liz were personas meant to be exterminated. There was never a question in the book that she would die or be tortured or identified by the Russians. We knew that good ol' Brooks would keep her safe.
But what Nora Roberts book IS about is the social outsider, the excluder, the invisible among us. Where Lisbeth was an outsider, she was so by choice. Elizabeth Fitch was an outsider by orders of her robotic mother, Dr. Susan Fitch. The writer of this book would have us believe that Elizabeth was so programmed that even in the few allotted hours of TV, Elizabeth did not ever imagine herself doing anything but that which her mother had programmed for her.
Yet, when left alone for a short time, and with the benefit of some thought, but not much, she transformed herself from goody-goody to worldly and sexy and bad things came as a result.
In the course of the book, during the romance with Brooks, during the parallel stories of blackmail and spousal abuses in Bickford, Abigail (alias for Elizabeth) comes to see the value of love, friendship and FAMILY.
The author gives Abigail stupid lines of dialogue to show us how wide-eyed she was about, for instance, how to properly attend a family picnic, but that was unnecessary and NOT cute.
The wrap up, the way ABigail was able to put Liz/Elizabeth to rest forever, was trite and without complications. I seldom say this; in fact I am usually complaining that a long book is too full of filler; but this book needed another hundred pages or so to play out the bringdown of the Russian mob -- (could have been Italians, Latinos, African-Americans, Middle Easterners, or Asians).
There was a lot of repetition of Abigail's travails. There were too many insertions of Abigail's unpolished demeanor (she's 28 and she's a computer genius and able to see the world from a distance. She would not have been that socially inept -- ever) -- all this leads me to think that the author wanted to infantilize Abigail, keep her at the age of 16 when her world went whacko.
Unforgivable: The absence of closure with the mother, Dr. Susan Fitch. Not that there should have been a reunion with violins and roses. In fact, Abigail replaced Susan with Sunny -- and that was appropraite -- but there should have been some final checkin that ABigail might have made to report the status of Susan, even with her donor father. Those things could have been nicely tied together into a package of parallel longings, forgetting and forgiveness. I think the exclusion of that closure with her biological family was a mistake.
So, really, this is about an outsider who finally wants in. She no longer is happy in her computer safe room. She is in love with a fine, sexy, powerful man (what other kind is there?) and she gets the nerve to open the door, so to speak.
I love the outsider theme, but I hate that the outsider makes peace ONLY after she is rescued by sex and love.
What about the dog? Bert is a highly trained security animal, and yet, she brings him to family parties, she takes him to a stranger's home. My very limited knowledge of security animals tells me that a working dog is at work at all times. I could be wrong, maybe the working dog is also tender and loving, (just like Brooks Gleason). Something about that rang "off" with me, but I won't press that point.
If you have not read the Stieg Larrson trilogy -- the book is likeable. There is no pulsing tension; this is no page turner, but it is a decent read out on a hammock or on the beach, even if it doesn't "feel" real.
This is the first Nora Roberts book for me. I will have a hard time trying another because I fear she writes those romance type books which depend on the love and attention of a handsome man to bring a heroine to wholeness. That is somewhat anachronistic in these times -- especially when the heroine is a crack computer hacker/geek/nerd whose worldliness would exceed the good ol' boy she craves.
Very well read.
Yes, I had a problem leaving it, even for a short time.
A wonderful story with lots of twists and turns. May be the best Nora Roberts novel yet.
I didn't read the print version but really enjoyed the audio. Not sure I would have read Liz/Abagail as narrator but appreciated that point of view and think it did bring more to the experience.
Liz/Abagail's emotional journey
No. At first, I didn't care for her narration so much. But it didn't take me long to lose myself into the story and enjoy the narration.
There were multiple points of the story to wring tears from me. This is definitely more a contemporary romance vs. romance suspense but the character growth and interpersonal relationships were well fleshed out and delivered. I still wanted more when it ended.
I should had known better when 99% of the reviews were from women, saying that it was the best book of the year. I bought the book to expand my female writers, but total chick book for the summer. It has its points, but overall, it feels like a movie on Lifetime.
Some of the other reviews compare The Witness to the Millennium Trilogy and all I have to say is, "What???"
I told a friend that I was reading Nora Roberts. She too agreed that Roberts' writing is too girly even for her. Base on my experience of The Witness and quoting some other reviews that this is Nora Roberts at her "best", there is no way that I will ever read anything from this author ever again.
Maybe I have one too many X chromosomes in my body, but I find her writing to be sloppy and just so drawn out, where you can't listen to this book anymore. The book could had been 8 hours shorter and even then it would had too many character developments.
Just to add salt to an open wound to my ears, I still have 3 more hours to finish this story and I hope that the Russian gets her.
Really Audible, this was one of your editor choice of 2012?
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
The one time Abigail balks and decides to be a normal teenager her actions leads her to a life changing tragedy.
With her genius IQ, she is able to escape from everyone and build a life for herself, despite being pursued for years. She isn't able to trust anyone because someone in the FBI is on the take.
Things do come to a head but the ending is so surprising. I love Nora Roberts stories, but this one is simply inspiring.