Year One by Nora Roberts

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Here’s the thing. I like to be surprised. I like to pick up a book and be knocked off of my feet with amazing, captivating stories. And this book has done that, for various different reasons.

I might be the only one who thought that Nora Roberts has only written romance. I remember my mom being very excited to read her romance novels and somehow, in my small mind, I had categorised her as an author to be exclusively a romance writer.

Shame on me for thinking that. Shame on me for pushing her in a box that she definitely doesn’t belong in. Shame on me for thinking that one author can be fitted into only one genre.

Nora Roberts is not only a romance author. She is a masterful story teller who’s able to see past genre. Who can write compelling stories with interesting—and sometimes twisted—characters. She’s a good cook, that knows her recipes and adds the perfect amount of character, plot and twists into a pot and lets it simmer.

Now was it a smart idea to read Year One in the middle of a pandemic, when the story is about a pandemic? Absolutely not! The book hit too close to home. The story starting with a hunting trip in Scotland. In Scotland of all countries!!

The accuracy with which the first 20-30 pages described the pandemic through which the whole world went through in 2020 and is still currently going through, made me at times afraid. I had, on multiple occasions and to no fault of Nora Roberts as an author, stopped. Simply put the book down, went in my bedroom, closed the door, went under the blankets and cried for a good half an hour. It was too much.

I read because I like to escape reality. I like to be immersed in a story and follow characters I’ve never met because the real world is too difficult to deal with. When I was plunged into a fictional world, that resembled oh-so-well the reality in which we were living, I couldn’t cope.

But I did finish the book. I did read it through cover to cover and it was… *chef’s kiss* perfect! The story in itself follows four characters through their way of coping with the fact that the world as they knew it ended. Irrevocably and irreparably ended. To a certain degree, I found myself criticising myself. Here I was whining that I haven’t left the small town I’m living for 8 months but the characters in the book had to leave their lives behind. If they wanted to survive they had to uproot themselves and go into the unknown with the hope that they would find peace.

I would recommend Year One to anyone who is a fan of the fantasy genre but also to anyone who feels that the world outside their window, feels too strange and too broken to be ever pieced back together. I hope you get the comfort from this book, although it is categorised as fantasy, that you need to understand that not all is lost. And there are better times coming.