Audie Award Nominee, Romance, 2013
Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.
Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems. Her own security is supplemented by a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. Unfortunately, that seems to be the quickest way to get attention in a tiny southern town.
The mystery of Abigail Lowery intrigues local police chief Brooks Gleason, on both a personal and a professional level. Her sharp, logical mind, her secretive nature, her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something, even if he doesn’t know what - and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.
Accustomed to two-bit troublemakers, Gleason is about to walk into the sights of very powerful and dangerous men. And Abigail Lowery, who has built a life based on security and self-control, is at risk of losing both.
©2012 Nora Roberts (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I've been an avid reader since I was a child. I love different types of writing styles and I am never afraid to try new authors.
Over the last few years I have forgotten what made me fall in love with Nora Roberts books 15 years ago. This book reminds me of why I love her books. Abigail is a survivor and I really fell in love with her strength. Brooks was an amazing perfect match for Abigail. Strong enough to let Abigail be strong and not let it diminish him. This is one of her best books.
I have really struggled with the last few mainstream Nora Roberts novels. I just could not identify with the heroine of "Chasing Fire", I didn't even really like her, and the book seemed more about the life of a smoke-jumper than about the relationships in the story. "The Search" and "Black Hills" seemed more like information dumps on search and rescue dogs and wildlife shelters, respectively. Their plots seemed secondary to Nora telling us how much research she had done on these topics. Normally I pre-order a Nora hardback and download the audio the day of release. After three strikes in a row, I decided to stick to the audio and wait for the paperback if it still seems worth it.
I was SO RELIEVED to find that I really loved The Witness. The reader perfectly portrayed the genius teenager. We could feel her longing to be a normal teenager instead of forced into performing at a prodigy level by her overly controlling mother. Her one episode of defiance has serious, life-altering consequences and this is realistically reflected in the woman she becomes in the second part of the book. I remember some of the stupid, stupid things I did as an underage kid; I could really empathize with both her actions as a teenager and the way they shaped her adult character. Her high IQ also made the character very interesting as it really impacted the way she analyzes the world and people around her; she struggles with being overly literal and she is aware of her social awkwardness. I really LIKED this character and enjoyed seeing her growth.
The characters in the small tourist town in the Ozarks are an enjoyable, eccentric mix. There are many sub-plots with differing lengths of story arc which adds a lot of interest, so there is more than just the one line of suspense from Liz's past. This added depth to the adult portion of her story and I enjoyed that.
My only complaint is that the suspense part of the story had too short an ending. I wanted an epilogue that described the outcome of her last actions against her enemies, it was unsatisfying to just assume how things ended in those areas. I wanted some of the villains' detailed reactions in the ending of the story, the same way we had their reactions and thoughts in the earlier part of the story. It would have been more balanced.
Still, I have already listened to the story again, so that is the best recommendation of all!
This is one of the best single titles from Nora ever....I was engrossed within the first 10 minutes - couldn't turn it off - listened straight through to the end. My idea of a perfect book is when the last couple of paragraphs are read/heard - you give that sigh of satisfaction from reading/hearing a great book! I highly recommend this one...
I haven't enjoyed a book so much in a long time. The main character, Elizabeth/Abigail, is delightful. I am a total geek and I often live like a hermit, although it is more difficult now that I'm married... But, I am familiar with the social dysfunction of this character. You really don't need a super high IQ, be a programmer or high tech to be someone with limited social skills, but it does seem to follow. Elizabeth was raised in a dysfunctional home, she suffers a traumatic experience and must survive alone without any support other than her own wits. Her inability to communicate is endearing, she is honest and sincere in her attempts to keep up her walls. When she falls in love, we are taken away with her like a leaf floating in a stream, the current is fast, slow, she hits a few edies and gets slammed into a rock or two.
I haven't read Nora Roberts for awhile, the reviews have been enough to keep me away. I admit I wasn't expecting a good read but the character resonated with me. I am very satisfied and hope Nora Roberts doesn't shy away from a trilogy or even a series, she has a real winner here. This community of characters contain endless possibilities for future books.
I already miss the characters and will listen again today. I often enjoy books by listening more than a few times, some are just a familiar listen while restless or gardening or yes, programming! But I rarely start listening, days after the first listen!
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!
A mom, a wife, a friend, a happy ending addict, an audiobook junkie, a wine lover and geek wanna -be. I'm constantly looking to be blown away.
The only reason I'm not giving this book 5 stars all around is because I like a little more heat in my readings/listens, but wow! I'm so glad I gave Nora Roberts another shot. I loved the heroine in this book!
After having been raised by "Mommie Dearest" and at 16-years-old becoming the solo witness that could bring down the Russian Mafia, it was a trip to see her emotional growth, survivable and finally her triumph.
Don't get me wrong, there's romance, a very sweet romance; the hero was just the perfect supportive (loved him too) character for Liz and the story.
Julia Whelan was amazing!! Fantastic narration! Her portrayal of 16-year-old Liz's was right on target, and equally fantastic was her interpretation of 28-years-old Abigail.
Her command of the different accents and voices was impressive and a tremendous show of her talent.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
Since the "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo",strong intelligent tech/geek women have been the female protagonist do jour.... I guess it's no surprise that Roberts has her own entry...in the form of Lizzy ( aka Abagail), a young woman with Mensa level intelligence who, as a teen,accidentally connects with the Russian mob, goes into witness protection, escapes the bad guys and is on the run from everyone for a decade.` etc etc etc.
This same type of woman shows up in "The Informationist ",( Audibles listeners choice award) and "The Breach" a sci-fi trilogy with similar female lead. Each of these 4 female protagonists is quite similar, they all have amazing computer programming and hacking abilities, are Chuck Norris with martial arts and Jack Reacher with knowledge of firepower . I wonder how many more versions of this clone will appear in novels to come......
The plot and character development are much improved over what Roberts has been phoning in the past several years--I've been picking them up at the used book store and have read just one book of the last 2 trilogy series due to negative reviews and personal experience with the initial book. I'm pleased that she put more effort into this book.
Roberts knows her readers, and knows what they want so even though this lead character is slightly different than her usual-still her writing remains the same. This time it's a more w take charge female protagonist and equally strong male protagonist who wants to take care of his little woman and bad guys who have chased after Lizzy (Abagail) since she was 17.
And while loyal readers will enjoy the better quality over the past couple of works, still this is a definite rip off of the Dragon Tattoo (minus the tattoo) main character. Still the writing is tight and crisp and plot is not quite predictable. It held my interest more than the last 2 trilogies did and worth the credit for those of us who appreciate Roberts when she's writing well.
Julia Whelan gives a very nice reading of the novel, bringing it to life and doing a good job of male characters voices...not overly dramatic or soapy.
All in all an above average listen to typical Roberts writing and plot.
yes because every now and then, Nora Roberts produces an excellent one - but this was not one of them, in my view
This is one of Nora's average books, not great, not terrible.
it is similar to her other books in that she exaggerates how terrible one parent is (the heroine's mom) and how wonderful the other family is (the hero's parents and sisters).
It has an interesting plot outside of the romance itself, but it feels incomplete somehow.
The first few chapters are very well written (about the heroine in her teens) but the hero does not appear until much later and then their relationship develops quite fast. I actually dozed off in the middle of their first bedroom scene!!
This is better than some of her latest work (The Search, the last 3 books in the Bride Quartet) but nowhere near her very best work (e.g. The Chesapeake Bay saga, Montana Sky, the Stanislaski brothers and sisters)
first time I listen to her. She is quite good - though her portrayal of Abigail made her sound a little bit cold/boring, I think it made sense for her character
I love Nora Roberts' work. She really excels in character development, and that is probably my favorite part of any book. In this one, she writes a very different kind of leading lady. Liz is a highly intelligent, literal-minded young lady with very little "real world" experience. She reminds me a bit of the TV version of Temperance Brennan, but in a very extreme way. She's so literal that it's funny. A very enjoyable read!
So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.
I REALLY enjoyed this book. It was an extremely well written story. I was reluctant to buy this book because I thought Roberts was only an author of romance books, but this was a great story with a lot of drama that kept pulling me through.
I also loved the narrator, Julia Whelan. I first heard her in Gone Girl, where I thought she was amazing as well.
I would highly recommend this book.
"The Witness by Nora Roberts"
This is the second Nora Roberts book I've listened to and I found the character development and emotional interplay between the main characters interesting and believable. Julia Whelan is a good narrator and is very good at bringing the personalities of the different people alive - it was very easy to distinguish who was 'in play' at any one time by how she read their words. Having been brought up on Hollywood blockbusters I suppose I was expecting a more climatic end to the thriller side of the plot but the fact that I cared about the characters and wanted the best for them means, for me, that I found a book engaging despite any possible flaws. I would characterise her books as slightly Mills and Boonish in that the romance is the central point but the sub-plots are so well developed that this is only a passing criticism. Having listened to two of her books, one read by a female and one by a male, I would always choose a female voice for her books - it just seems to fit better for me as a female listener.
"Undemanding listen that holds the interest"
I like MS Robert's books, especially the later ones, and this is just fine. What I like is that the love story is given time to develop, and does so over eating in, or helping with the weeding, or going to a family BBQ! It isn't wham bang lust at first sight, let's get married in a week, or one of those relationships that flare up in high stress, life and death situations, that you just know won't survive normal life.
There are two sections. The first is longer than might be expected, given that it is essentially the set up for the "main" story. You learn the back story of our young heroine Elizabeth, and about the incident that catastrophically changes her (sixteen year-old) life, and moulds her into the adult you then meet in the second section. Part two is classic Nora Roberts - a sweet love story sharpened by the tartness of the heroine, now called Abigail, whose life of total control is gently derailed by a very persistent man, ably assisted by his mother! There's a fine guard dog, some cooking and gardening, some local nastiness from a local bully, and, of course, resolution of the issues that have controlled Abigail's life since she was 16..
I read this first, decided I liked it enough to buy the audio version, and I've listened to the audio version twice!
This is well read, although there are the usual American vs British English pronounciation glitches - my pet hates are 'erbs for H'erbs, and r'ow'ta instead of rooter (for the written word router, in case you're wondering what I"m on about!). There are more, but not so many they get in the way of enjoying the book.
Worth the pennies, and worth the listen, or read.
"an excellent read"
I have never read any Nora Roberts before and was absolutely in love with this book. Brilliant!
"Well crafted story and captivating narration"
Nora Roberts beautifully creates Abigail Lowery and Brooks.
The story is simple but you fall in love with some characters as much as you hate others.
There are moments of laugh out wittiness.
Really enjoyed the narration as well, convincing and enjoyable to listen to.
All round good one to listen on long journeys!
Well read, well written - I really enjoyed this book. I usually go for crime novels
and was not quite sure about this, but I'm glad I changed my mind and I will probably
look into Norah Roberts other books.
"lovely easy listen"
I really enjoyed this book! The narration was really nice and I loved the maon characters.
"Edge of the seat story"
Wow - I really enjoyed this book. The action was electrifying - you really were gripping the edge of the seat - but the slower bits, with beautiful attention to character development, just made the whole book come alive. I didn't want it to end and yet I had to know what happened next. I found myself driving slower and slower so I could listen to more before I got home and then sat in the drive! Highly recommended.
Not outstanding but enjoyable. If you are looking for a filler romance this is it.
"A new way to enjoy audiobooks!"
I usually find Nora Roberts' novels to be a little formulaic - heroine runs away to new town, has hate -love relationship with hero and they all live happily ever after etc. I was fascinated to find that The Witness was different. That was until I realised that I had only listened to Part 2! Nevertheless, I then listened to Part 1 which added an unusual twist - already knowing what was going to happen in the future! However, I really enjoyed the whole thing and I am sure it would have been as good had I listened in the right order. It was, undoubtedly, one of her better works. Gritty, gripping and not predictable. The central characters were easy to warm to and thus care about what happened to them. I also have to commend the narrator whose ability to differentiate the characters and narrate in a listenable voice, added to the enjoyment of the experience. Here's hoping that Ms Roberts has more books like The Witness in her upcoming repertoire.
"Easy holiday read!"
Before I start slating the book, I have to say that the narrator was excellent. Really enjoyed her reading despite the heavy American accent.
I needed something light and not very challenging for my holiday and a romantic thriller seemed perfect. The only problem was that it was neither thrilling nor all that romantic. The first time our girl hero gazed into the deep blue eyes of her chosen one, did produce an, "Aah how romantic" effect but the next twenty gazes made me wonder if she had a secret degree in optometry on top of her many other talents.
The plot was quite simplistic and predictable. There was a subplot which ran alongside the main one but the two never came together. I was expecting them to be connected somehow which would have created at least some intrigue. Instead of mindlessly enjoying the book, I found myself thinking of how the plot could have been made more exciting. I felt the book dragged on and the fact that the main character recounted the same story three times to anyone willing to listen, did not help matters.
I was considering giving the author another chance but decided that life is too short and there are plenty of other fish in the Audible sea.
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