Montana, Murders and Mystery
By Shabna Cader Ceylon Today Features
I thought I’d lay off Nora Roberts for over the holidays and then –I just didn’t. I could have chosen a more ‘christmassy’ themed novel but nope, I had to go for one that included murder, mystery, intrigue, but of course some romance and family ties.
I first picked up Montana Sky in 2011 and well, I didn’t quite remember much of the book including some of the characters names. This is one of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed rereading it. As the title suggests, the story is based in Montana and around the Mercy Ranch now passed onto his three daughters after Jack Mercy’s death. Each born by a different mother and unknown to one another, they must come together and live on the ranch for a year, if they are to receive their own personal inheritance.
For the oldest and sassiest Tess, it’s a slap across the face from the life she currently lives in California as a screenwriter. As someone who spends her afternoons getting a manicure or lunching along the streets of Rodeo Drive, even considering the idea of moving to Montana for 12 months is a far stretch.
For the quiet and soulful Lily, it’s a refuge from the life she’s been living the past few years. With an ex-husband who has the tendency to throw blows and use her as a punching bag, it hasn’t been easy finding some solace, until the opportunity to live on the ranch sprung up.
For the youngest and the only one to have grown up on the ranch due to her mother passing at birth, it is a complete intrusion and insult. Willa has spent her entire life trying to live up to her old man’s standards and with the yearning to make him proud, even if he was clearly a selfish man and never showed her an ounce of care or empathy.
The three sisters are now faced with the challenge that could keep the Mercy Ranch together or throw it all away. It is only natural that there’d be some bitterness and adjusting to get through, while they live like a family until the one year is up. But it is apparent that living with strangers is not the only challenge to be faced, as bodies of carved and gutted animals turn up on the ranch and then that of a body of one of their own.
As the number of mutilations and murders continue in the coming months, the three sisters must choose to stick together through it all. In all honesty, I did not appreciate how descriptive it got when it came to the dead bodies, of both the animals and humans. It felt too gory for my liking. It also certainly heightened the sense of suspense. I might also add that there’s quite the plot twist you’d never expect.
The romances weren’t entirely my cup of tea; three in fact that seemed a little too typical and forced, in my opinion. As far as ratings go, I’d have to give this one a 3 out of 5 purely because the romances were a letdown and I didn’t quite take to the gory details.