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Carnal Innocence Paperback – January 2, 2020
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- Publisher : Piatkus (January 2, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 034940805X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0349408057
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.96 x 1.57 x 7.72 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,077,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The tale of Tucker Longstreet, the town of Innocence, and Yankee visitor Caroline Waverly is a realistic romance. The two main characters don't just fall in love or into bed right away. They fight, yell, and war with each other and themselves until the end. The gripping story of murder in a small town intertwined with their love story is complicated, messy, and leaves you guessing until the final, completely unexpected reveal.
As a woman who has grown up in the South, I totally related to a lot of these characters. Tucker was so 3-dimensional. I loved the way he moved slowly most of the time, but drove like a demon. He had so many details to his character that made him believable.
Nora did her classic head-hopping in this book. Switching characters POV in the middle of a chapter without warning. But Nora can do no wrong, so she gets away with it.
This book was a good read, but I feel like the small-town racism was a little bit stereotypical, and I don't think it would fly today with publishers.
Innocence, Mississippi is a small southern town where life is slow and easy, but a murderer is in town, killing women known for sharing their favors, in a most brutal way. With so much evil hanging over the town, this might not be the best time for a stranger to arrive looking for a slow peaceful kind of life.
Caroline Waverly arrives in Innocence to gain some calm in her life and regroup on her deceased grandparent’s property which now belongs to her. She has recently suffered the betrayal of her fiancée, which leads her to somewhat of a mental breakdown. Between the break up and exhaustion from touring all over the world performing as a concert violinist, she needs some down time desperately. The last thing she wants or needs is a man in her life. Her first brush with Tucker Longstreet does not go well, yet she cannot deny the physical attraction she feels for the reckless, arrogant fool.
Tucker Longstreet is the epitome of a southern gentleman, apparently living a life long dead. He and his brother and sister own Sweetwater, a huge plantation where they still grow cotton. However, Tucker has diversified and owns numerous profitable businesses where keeps his finger on the pulse without appearing to do any work. When he meets Caroline at the pond on her property, he feels more desire for her than he has ever felt before.
When Caroline and Tucker are thrown together when the dead body of his ex-girlfriend is found by the pond, and she sees a different side to Tucker. With Tucker under suspicion of murder and Caroline afraid of having her heart crushed yet again, their romance moves slowly. Nonetheless, as they try to figure out who the real murderer is, they give into their passion. Can they find their way into each other’s arms, or will the startling revelations pull them apart?
This is one incredibly intense, action-packed, suspense novel, set in a location where time pretty much stands still, so the setting is not where one would expect to find a serial killer running amok, but that is exactly what is happening. Suspicion moves from one character to the other at such a fast pace it is enough to make one’s head spin. I never expected to get into this book, since it is not my typical read, but I certainly did. Ms. Roberts spins a tale so suspenseful, it had me sitting in my car, not wanting to stop listening to go into work!
Tom Stechschulte brings all the characters to brilliant life. I am amazed at his ability to portray the female and children’s voices so well. There is a huge cast of characters in this story, yet he is able to make each character sound different and easily recognizable. He delivers the long southern drawl of Tucker Longstreet with a great deal of finesse. His slow, smooth manner of speech keeps the book moving along, pulling me into the story. I will definitely be looking for more books narrated by Mr. Stechschulte. I think that for contemporary suspense novels and westerns, a male voice may very well work better, especially when the hero’s point of view is a major part of the story.
If you are looking for a thriller with very strong romantic elements, then this is a book you cannot miss. From the first page to the last it will hold you in its thrall. I am certain you will find it as mesmerizing as I have. Happy reading!
As always, she throws in a romance. There's a couple of sex scenes, and it is geared to a more mature audience.
The only problem I had with it was the setting and a few events. It's set in a small town- innocence, ms- in the 1990s. Just the way it reads, burning crosses and such, I had gauged the time period in the 70s. In reality, that didn't happen in the 90s. That was the only issue I really noticed, other than some typos. Had she set it in a different time period, it would've been a more accurate depiction.
I absolutely loved Caroline and Tucker. They are among Roberts' best drawn characters in my wide experience reading her work. I thought the scene totally precious where Caroline called out Tucker after discovering him hard at work on his computer, managing the family businesses: "You're a fraud. All that lazy southern wastrel routine - I'd rather sleep than sit. It's just a front!" Another scene that had me laughing was where Caroline was arguing over the phone with her domineering, socially pretentious mother, and she told the old hag to not worry about her anymore because, "The man who attacked me is dead. I killed him myself, so I should know."
I thought Matthew was a well-drawn player too. A moderately pompous ass, without being overdone, we've all met people like Matthew. Certainly ironic was his affair with Josie, at the same time his real interest was in Caroline. I felt him to be especially deserving of his comeuppance where Caroline appeared in a robe, intimately rumpled and obviously fresh out of bed, while he was speaking with Tucker - his discovery that she could appear the "trollop" in spite of her beauty and talent.
My only disappointment was in who turned out to be the culprit. I liked that person very much - a character who, some other attributes notwithstanding, seemed to have a heart of gold. I felt it detracted from the credibility of the story - almost like Roberts went too far in trying to fool even the best guessers.
Go for it.
Top reviews from other countries
Having said that, it's an entertaining read, as always with Nora Roberts, although maybe lacking some of the polish of her later work. The book is a little dated - everyone smokes and thinks nothing of casually drink-driving, and there are some rather stereotyped descriptions of the black and poor characters in particular that might make the modern-day reader cringe a bit. However, these things will probably be less jarring if you start reading it knowing that it's nearly 25 years old (and you will also not be puzzling over why no one has a mobile phone or internet).
It's a perfectly good romantic suspense though, with the blending of suspenseful mystery and emotional depth that Roberts always does so well. Just be aware of what you're buying to avoid disappointment.