Under Currents discussion thread

On Sale today!

Today’s the day — Under Currents is available for your next summer read! And this is the place to discuss the book with other readers.

I know you read the excerpt a while back so here’s the book description to refresh your memory:

Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. While strangers and even Zane’s own aunt see his parents as the epitomes of a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, Zane and his sister Britt know there is something terribly wrong.

As his father’s violent, controlling rages and his mother’s complicity become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. In fear for his life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.

When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the facade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves.

Share your all your thoughts in the comments — and be ware: spoilers ahead.


59 thoughts on “Under Currents discussion thread”

  1. Hurray! I can finally talk about this amazing new book. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy at the Inn when Nora was there, and while a dark subject it was mesmerizing. I think it is the best yet (but then, my favorite book is usually the one in my hand!)

  2. Can’t wait to start ?
    Suddenly July is here and everyone could – and did -wait for it.
    Happy and fun filled reading to all. Welcome – at last – Zane ?

  3. Holy Cow, my bookstore just sent an email today . . .40% off on “Under Currents” for members. Guess where I will be over my lunch hour.

  4. Just pulled my copy out of the mailbox and sitting down to read. Love the cover and the photo dividing each part. Looks like yet another winner.

  5. I read it already three times. We were lucky in The Netherlands that the Dutch translation was already available in April. So I hope all of you enjoy it as much as I did.

  6. I got my signed book yesterday and had to stop reading to get some sleep last nite( I’m getting older, can’t stay up all nite anymore). I’ve resumed today and will finish this evening. I love this book but, I agree with previous posts, the current is always my current fav. Love Nora and her books. Thanks Nora.

  7. I got my signed book from Turn the Page bookstore yesterday, but I’m waiting until the weekend before I start it, as I know I won’t want to stop until I’m done. My office allows for sick days, but so far, despite my lobbying, has not added days for reading Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb books.

  8. So got 5-10 pages in and literally had to put it down. As an ER nurse I heard these stories and saw the wounds too many times. Had to take a few before I could pick it back up. The storytelling is so vivid that it evokes that visceral response. I am wary if I have more jolts in store for me.

    1. I had the hardest time getting through this one for the same reason – not that I’m a nurse, but the violence permeated the story really choked me.

  9. Totally brilliant. Again. Please, do one thing for all of us, ma’am: DO NOT run out of stories. This one was a beaut. Thank you for so many wonderful hours of YOU. Loves.

  10. Just finished and had to take a while to sort my thoughts. I really liked the book until I didn’t. Wow, that’s a lot of chapters full of never ending child and spousal abuse. Zane’s parents had an inevitable outcome and her death seemed like an afterthought to the story. His Dad coming back for revenge, the hillbilly family out for revenge, Darby’s ex husband out for revenge, not a lot of happiness going on in this book. It almost felt like after Darby kicks Zane’s Dad’s butt, that the book could have ended just fine. Darby and Zane seemed like better friends than lovers too, not a lot of sparks between them as compared to other couples in other Nora books. I will always continue to read her books but realize I won’t love every single one, and that’s okay.

    1. So I started reading it last night, and read the first part. Cried my eyes out, and cheered when the dad got sent to prison. Then the book changed for me and it was to much about Darby’s thoughts on her job and I might finish at a later date but it won’t be one of my favorites.

      1. You’ve GOT to finish it! A major twist that i saw coming but so worth reading. You’ll see what i mean. I like that there’s more to the story than just Dr Bigelow as the antagonist.

  11. It is on its way to my mailbox. I thought I had preordered but missed it somehow. I got it now though.

  12. I have to say this is one of the best books I’ve ever read and one of the few I will never reread. It gave me the shakes and chills all morning, I kept having to put it down. I even did the biggest no no of all and jumped to the end about halfway through and then went back and finished it.
    I’ve been reading Nora since the 80’s and she just keeps getting better and better, but this one was a little too good and too real, for me anyway.

  13. Why I love Nora’s stories: she helps survivors of abuse by reminding us it’s not our fault. She also educates about the fact that we each have choices no matter our background. I wonder how many people (men and women) she has helped leave abusive relationships.
    For all the horror that was in Undercurrents, I found a well of love in the good characters. It was a perfect balance.
    Thank you, Nora.

  14. When an author can pull me in and FEEL the emotions of the characters, right from the start, I know it’s going to be a great book. Whether it’s horror, dismay, joy, or laughter – Nora always sucks me into her written world – thank you for being who you are and doing what you do! I loved the book; I’m the type that gobbles it up in the first read; giving my mind some time to digest (maybe a day, if I’m strong-willed 🙂 then a slower re-read. Thank you for taking the spotlight into a subject(s) so many people place blinders on and giving us Zane & Darby’s story!

  15. OMG…..got it yesterday….finished today…it was amazing…..write faster, Nora….I need the next anything you write

  16. Y’all…. I cried almost the whole entire 1st part!!! Gosh, I just wanted to hold onto those two poor children. Props to the storyteller. Until September, everyone!

    1. I also cried almost from the beginning. I LOVE Nora Roberts books! Can’t wait for the next one.

  17. I devoured chapters 1-7, and then the house purchasing, renovating, decorating, landscaping and gardening started. It’s become a very repetitive feature recently – The Obsession, The Liar, the Inn Boonsboro trilogy, Shelter in Place – not counting early books like Tribute. For me, it spoilt the story, as I was interested in Zane and Darcy, but am thoroughly over reading anything to do with renovating houses. The beginning was intense with lots of potential but I think it was diminished somewhat by a repeating feature.

  18. Good book. I cried through the first part, and was on the edge of my seat as I listened to other parts. I love the characters as they developed and the sense of community. Good book but because of the darkness I can’t turn around and re-listen to it again right away. Maybe in a month or two.

  19. it’s raining in washington, and i want to garden. thank you for that. a hard book to read, the reality of it was overwhelming. but it was about recovery and starting a new reality. to many of us home renovation and gardening is recovery and getting away from the horror that we have lived through. it was a meandering book, not one that grabs you by the throat and pulls you through it. fine with me, i love both. keep giving us these incredible people, putting reality in front of us and how they got through it. i’ll read it again in about a month.

  20. Finished the book. The first part about Zane, Britt, Eliza and Graham had me on edge and worried what would happen. Zane’s story was very compelling and scary. With his arm so badly broken, I knew his major league baseball dream was gone. His mother, in some ways, was a worse monster than his father, allowing the abuse and backing her husband’s version. Thank God for Dave, Emily and Detective Lee; Zane is believed, his parents go to prison, then he and Britt get to live with Emily and Lee. Next came Darby’s story – abusive husband, charges filed, he goes to prison, then her mother is killed. She sells her house and her business, and moves to Lakeview where she meets Emily and the rest of the story unfolds. I enjoyed her gardening and landscaping, her bubbly personality and her becoming immediately involved in the community. Zane moves back. Britt is married with a daughter. Things are going well for everyone until Graham Bigelow is paroled. Another hit from Nora.

  21. I cringed and cried and cheered. This book is a gutwrenching ride that is definitely not for everyone. It’s a wonderful, gritty, realistic book. Thank you, Nora, for another winner with real heart. Loved that all the bad guys got what was coming to them in the end. Loved Zane and Britt and Darby and Emily and Lee and all the secondary characters except those finely drawn villains who I just plain dispised. I too will read this again but not right away – maybe in a few weeks. This one won’t leave me soon I’ll be pondering it for weeks.

  22. I see where someone liked then didn’t, that’s how I felt about it. The story of Zane, the abuse done to him, and the overcoming were great. His parents going to jail, I loved that.
    I did not like the red neck family issues, it was a distraction.
    I knew immediately Darby’s ex had killed her mother
    There were lots of family of Zane and his friends, I really liked.
    Not my favorite but was a good, quick read. I did not particularly like Come Sundown, but I like this one better than that one.

    1. I agree. You knew immediately that her ex had killed her mother and that he would be back. I liked the story itself, it was an easy read. Also not my favorite and frankly one of my lesser.

  23. Very good book about a dark common problem in a lot of families. But, being shallow, I want Zane’s house and the landscaping Darby did, like the waterfall.

    Nora always seems to pick really relevant current social problems and writes a fantastic book about it. Nora always creates great characters. I still want CeCe for my mother or grandmother. *sigh*

    1. I agree with what you said but want to add one thing. With all the “reality” of the story where does Zane have that kind of money to spend? Prosecutors do not make enough for him to have saved that kind of money to do what he did coming home to Lakeview. And after the first part was resolved (in my opinion, the heart of the story), the rest was so predictable and yet I couldn’t stretch my imagination to the kind of money Zane spent.

  24. I love NR and have read every book she’s done. This one hits close to home, literally. I live in Asheville. I’ve spent the majority of the book trying to nail down which areas are what, all while loving the storyline. Does anyone have an idea where Lakeview was based on? I think it might be Lake Lure. Also, Mercy Hospital is Mission Hospital in Asheville. Anyone know for sure!?

  25. Nora’s writing skills continue to impress. The first hundred pages were tough to read; it actually hurt me to read the words. But the remainder was a victory for the underdogs. Thank you Nora Roberts for sharing your storytelling with us. Like someone else said, please write faster!

  26. This book for me was a roller coaster ride. Lots of ups and downs. Each section taking you on a journey. It had a little bit of it all. Sadness…ugliness…love and caring and laughter. I know this area. Been to Asheville many times. Nora hit the nail with how beautiful that section of NC is. The story starts off with a really big bang that sucks you right in. Never easy reading about abuse. Some said there was too much description of landscaping. As a gardener and a lover of plants and flowers, I really enjoyed that part of the story. Nobody describes things like Nora. In my mind, I am right there seeing it all come together. She is a master of description. My favorite thing about her books. Yes and I agree that there was victory for the underdogs. It doesn’t always happen but we should always hope.

  27. I read this whole book on my international flight back to the US on Wednesday. What a great way to pass the long flight!!

    It was hard to read about the abuse Zane and his sister endured and when I thought the parents would get away with it. What a tough topic to cover but well done!

    I REALLY enjoyed the double plot twist! Normally there is an almost formulaic path the books take…bad stuff, escape, recovery, find love, overcome an obstacle or solve the mystery and then happily ever after. Love that Zane’s story arc was resolved and the book kept going to resolve Darby’s.

    Also, Nora’s description of the landscaping, etc put the scene’s vividly in my head! Makes me want to do some cool things with my yard!

  28. It seems to be seen in the posts, that most of us had a hard time reading, listening to the abuse that went on in that house. Never having an experience like that in my life, I was so grateful that I lived in a home that was calm. Yes my parents were upset at my sister and I often, yet never did they abuse us. Spank us yes, but abuse no. This was a topic that most really wanted to just get through.
    Having said that, the book was great!
    Darby and her retaining wall, I do not know about others, but I follow this blog every Sunday. I was SO Happy to have seen Nora’s’ New retaining wall. I saw what Darby was doing due to the past posts on this blog. I really enjoy reading all of her books. Thank you Nora for you crazy mind and sharing it with us.

  29. Ahhhhhh, I just received my pre-ordered copy. I’m saving it for our vacation that starts one week from today. But with ANY Nora or JDRobb, waiting, for me , is very difficult. I have two JD’s pre-ordered and two more Nora’s pre-ordered. And a couple of those, I’m getting “Signed”, woohoo…

  30. Tough book to read but so worth it! I loved Darby and Zane’s ability to bounce through the bad times. The dialogue was awesome – I continually found myself cracking up. Roy is a gem. He should have his own story told. Thank you, Nora!

  31. Hi here and there!

    I’m halfway through the book and I’ve read some reviews online. Hence this visit… I really have to get back to the book so Ijust wanted to say that though it’s not Nora’s best – and only because that one is still to be written ? – it’s an amazing book. ?

    It’s definitely a Nora’s (you’ll know when you read some parts that ONLY Nora writes that way ?). Might not be your taste, you wished different names for the characters, wished not so many flowers, wish… wish… wish… bit it is worth a thoughtful reading.

    And this takes me to some reviews I read about UC. Barring some people with traumas in the areas (ugly, real areas) that the book touches (and I am so sorry for it) I can not understand some reviews. They are valid of course as they belong to the person making them.

    I love UC. It shocks, it appalls but so far when it delights (and it does so much in so many ways) it (the good, the beautiful, the lovely) wins twice, three times fold.

    Let me get back to it. I’m neglecting my own blog and other leisure things but it’s worthy. Just stopped by to say I’m loving it and I hope many more go for it, never minding the not “Nora’s Best” (it has to be? is this Olympics?), “Nora lost the plot?”… “should have less 50 pages” (can’t say as I am half-way but really people???….)

    Go for it. You won’t regret. I’m calling dibs on Zane, Darby, Zod and Emily but plenty more people to be adopted by, and adopt, you ♥️. Enjoy. Go easy on it because it is (so far) a book not to be read but to be thoroughly enjoyed (so my endless respect for those who managed to read it in one day ?) with plenty of rest stops (at least for me) ?

    I have UC on kindle but already ordered it on paper. This is a book to be revisited often and I love to know the page I can open the book and find it ?

  32. I read it over the weekend and enjoyed it very much. The abuse was hard to read about, but reading about the helpers that Zane and Britt had was also important, telling us to step up, even if it could cost us. I read a few comments complaining about the details of Darby’s landscaping work, but I really enjoyed it. I live in an apartment, so can’t garden, but even if I could, I probably wouldn’t, as I’m just plain lazy. However, I really appreciate other people’s gardening and landscaping, and reading about the process was fun and interesting. I’ve been a fan of Nora’s since Irish Thoroughbred. She has a gift for description, that sets the mood and tone from the beginning, before there’s even any action. I love that her characters have full lives, and aren’t spending all their time mooning over the love interest to the exclusion of all else. Nora’s characters have full lives and are fully rounded, including the secondary characters. She clearly puts a lot of work into her books, and while I’d like a new book from her every week, I’m glad she doesn’t churn them out like so many others do. They’re well worth the wait. I’ve read my favorites, including The Witness and The Search, over and over again.

  33. I have always loved her books but I really loved this one. Reminded me of Honest Illusions in that it made me cry and laugh out loud. Enjoyed it so much!

  34. As usual, I raced through a first read to finish in one gulp. Then a second read to delve more into the characters. Zane and Darby were lovely, this is a story of hope, resilience, and family.

    I enjoyed the shared interest in reading between Zane and Brody. I was curious and, as a result, just purchased the first Virgil Flowers title with a Kindle coupon from Amazon ??‍♀️.

    1. For that first – dreadful – part I did the same. Breath in, hold and keep going… after Laura shared the first pages here I already knew what to expect.
      But it is so worthy going through L ? because what comes next pays off, in spades ( and in hearts, doggies and flowers ?).
      I love this book. Entered immediately on Favorite Book List ?. I want to return to it soon. And often. Still thinking on cheating and skipping that first part or… do I dare?!

      That scene with “the teacher” makes you want to run and read all 100-books-you-have-to-read-before-you-die (of embarrassment ?) … I even got embarrassed on behalf of the AH when the scene was “happening” ?

      I can’t recommend this book enough. Well, I can but I’m still in the MY-PRECIOUS phase. So in love with it. With the characters. With the places. With scenes that are so inspiring and great-world-building… ✨

  35. I enjoyed the read. I wonder if Nora wanted us to know the ex killed the mother and was bound to turn up. Either way I like Darby and Zane’s romance. Yes, there’s violence, but didn’t find it over the top. Thanks Nora!

  36. Brilliant as usual. There were so many twists and turns I had a hard time putting the books down. I love all the detail in this book. Nora has such an amazing way of painting a picture with words. This is a book I will read again and again while anxiously awaiting the next release.

  37. I skipped the 1st 7 chapters, I cannot handle that.Starting from chapter 8, I love it ,got hooked . Love Darby positive,can do attitude,love Zane the lawyer . love the interaction between them, start slowly from friendship . Thank you Nora for another great book . Maybe one day , I will get the courage to read the 1st 7 chapters.
    PS : The Witness is still my favorite ?

  38. Doesn’t anyone want a sequel?
    Seems to beg to branch out with more family events and drama. What happens to everyone next?

    1. Nora doesn’t structure her standalones to support sequels. She appreciates the compliment of readers wanting more, but she really does move on.


  39. I loved the book. The only problem I had was what I felt was too many characters being introduced in the beginning. Kind of confused me trying to keep every straight. Can’t wait for Sept. ( If I were still in school you would never here me say that. ) Ha Ha Ha

  40. Adding my thanks, Nora, for your excellent and unfortunately accurate portrayal of a often hidden horror. Many don’t heal (mentally or physically) as successfully as your characters. Lots of us aren’t rescued by decent family members. While we may not count the days until “escape” or later marry another abuser, we don’t get the counseling or support because we never tell the truth. Was UC hard to read? Yes! And impossible to walk away from. To those who criticize your story rhythm and the details of Darby’s landscaping business, so sorry you didn’t get instant gratification. I, for one, was grateful for the time to enjoy the characters while still feeling the tension of waiting for those other shoes to drop. I’ll need a while before a reread, but I’m sure it will be good therapy. Thanks again. (Trying hard NOT to race through August looking forward to the new VID.)

  41. Quick question that I failed to ask before: did you have to get John Sanford’s permission to mention Virgil “that fuckin'” Flowers in this book? I know from past posts that you are a great Sanford fan – which I assume is all of his books, the Prey novels included – but I just wondered if you needed permission, or if there was some kind of quid pro quo writers have.

    No biggie . . . just wondered. And thanks again for the read. It was great.

  42. I am stunned that not one person has mention the HUGH mistake on page 82 when Emily is speaking with Eliza in the interrogation room and Eliza is concerned about her personal items and Emily tells her to SHUT UP. Then Emily mentions that Eliza didn’t EVEN asked about her children, Zane and Emily. EMILY?? It is Britt! How on earth did this script reach publication without SOMEONE catching this obvious mistake?

  43. Thank you, Nora, for addressing the long term effects of abuse. It was a rough but relatable read. I liked how the title encompassed what so many people have happening every day. There is so much more to people than we ever expect. I love how this was a story of not only survival, but thriving, rebuilding and overcoming. Love was shown in the midst of tragedy. Thank you again for sharing your talent and addressing the topic of abuse in such a thorough and life giving way.

  44. First loved the book in the beginning it was hard to read and when the sheriff believed the parents and not questioned why was Britt put under and why was the doctor fighting so hard to get Zane in jail. I liked that Lee went after him and only excuses was he never saw anything and then remember little things.
    Zane and Darby, I thought they worked together perfectly just because they both were survivors and Zane didn’t have to worry about her. I did think it interesting that the Dr. Biglow parents were never mentioned so I wonder if he was abused but I see him as a grown up version of JD Robb’s Thankless in death character who found a different outlet.

  45. another brlliant work of literture UNDER CURRENTS. Nora never lets me down, I continue to reread your books, nothing better.

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